I got an email here a while back from a fellow automotive interior professional wanting to know if he could “wipe on” the water based leather dyes we use to restore the worn automotive leather seats. I of course responded with a big “yes”. This is one of the many little tricks of trade that will get you just one step closer to perfection in doing an automotive leather restoration job.
Believe it or not I myself just really caught on to this just here recently. I have always wiped areas with my hand but not the way I’m about to tell you.
The “Wipe and Spray technique” is a technique that has improved my final result in my leather repairs immensely and will yours too, I promise.
All I do is in addition to my paint gun is to add a moist paper towel to the process of dyeing the seat. Now what I do with this paper towel will save you some time and money.
When your seat is clean, prepped, repaired and ready for your Grip Base Primer or your Sticky Primer, take that paper towel and fold it into a small manageable square, wet it with a little water, and add a liberal amount of your Grip Base to the towel.
Now wipe the seat face with the primer, adding a little more as you go. Dry the primer slightly leaving it slightly tacky.
Then with your color matched leather dye, spray it on a small section of the upper part of the seat, without drying it, wipe the dye into the seat with the same wet paper towel you used to prime with.
You will notice the dye with penetrate down into the grain of the leather and fill in all those little voids, cracks and crevices that the spray just really didn’t get to. Keep going moving from top to bottom and out.
Dry the seat again and then lay another thin coat of dye with your spray gun over the seat. Some areas may take a little more dye if a repair has been done or the creases need a little more color.
Dry everything thoroughly and step back and take a look, at his point your seat should look new… not only have you made the seat look more natural by wiping your first coat but look inside your cup of your paint gun…you’ve used probably used a 1/3 less dye then you used the last time by just using spray alone.
By wiping your leather dyes in helps the dyes to penetrate into those creases and pores of the leather seat giving you a more natural look and more durability by using less dye. I have in some cases been able to make lets say 2 front seats to a Chevy Tahoe look brand new with as little as 1oz. of dye and this is with repairs and some pretty ugly looking seats to begin with.
The key to this technique is getting your seats as clean as possible and prepped properly. Covering dirt is not restoring a leather seat! If you want your dyes to peel off then dye over a dirty seat…
I always topcoat my seats when I’m done with a low gloss clear coat mixed with a dab of slip additive to give the seat a softer feel and a little more of a barrier to wear .
After all is dry the last step in my process is wiping the seat down with a good leather conditioner. I have 2 to recommend, Viper Products Leather Conditioner of course and Lexol Leather Conditioner an industry leader. Both of which are water based conditioners and can be used prior to dye. Which is another thing I’ve been needing to talk about but another time on that one.
Everyone thanks for hanging out with me and let me know how this technique helps you with your next automotive leather repair and restoration. Leather repair and dying is a craft and something that isn’t learned over night, in fact I’m still learning, that’s what makes this business so much fun! Try this technique on your next leather restoration job and let me know what you think.Stumble it!