Leather Repair: What is the Best Choice? (2023)

Leather items, be it clothing or furniture, are their owners’ pride for sure. But, what happens when they need urgent help to fix tears, rips, and holes from the normal wear and tear or accident? To keep your fav pieces in the best possible shape, you have two options: (1) DIY leather repair with simple materials or leather repair programs/kits or (2) have a professional leather repair technician work their magic. Below are some information about the kind of damages you can repair with each option, cost, amount of time you will need to get the job done, and how efficiently each option allows you to get the repair done.

1. DIY Leather Repair

i) Easy DIY Leather Repair with Simple Materials

This is the case when you have a cheap, old piece of leather furniture that you just need to hold on to for some more. So, you will gladly throw yourself into a quick and easy DIY repair to help prolong its life a bit more. Such tasks include minor surface scratches in pull-up leather, scrapes to the edges of a leather chair or sofa, small holes, and stain removal on nubuck and pull-up leathers (not all types of stains, though).

If you are a relatively handy person, you will have no problem repairing damages to old, weathered leather furniture, with the help of some simple materials and a good source of information (i.e. instructional YouTube videos from credible creators). Of course, you shouldn’t expect a long-time fix. Quick and easy leather repairs are intended to help conceal a damage done and not fix it.

For example, if you want to repair a tear, you will manage to repair it and not let it tear further or reopen. But, you will still be able to see the line where the cut was before you addressed the problem. To have a more finished off look, you may need to ask a leather professional to fill the line, recolor the area and apply a protectant. However, a quick fix might be all you need, after all!

Regarding the time required to get the job done, you will have to calculate the time you’ll need to gather the necessary materials and tools and watch (or read) instructions. Then comes practice, before you can perform the repair yourself.

As for the cost, you will probably need no more than $10, given that most of the materials you will need are probably already inside your home as we speak.

Tip: If you are thinking of buying a leather repair kit from the market (as seen on TV), you may want to reconsider. They may be easy to use and promise wonders, but the truth is that most of them are ineffective. Also, try not to use home remedies (i.e. oatmeal) or hair spray that many people believe can help repair leather items. It is always best to refer to the professional leather cleaner rather than a blogger who writes about leather repair, among lots of other (unrelated) stuff.

ii) DIY Repair Program

This is the middle ground if you want something more than a quick and easy DIY repair but don’t want to hire a leather pro to fix the damage. In this case, there are plenty of guided repair options offered by companies that will also supply you with the necessary know-how and materials (i.e. products for light or severe cracking) to become a mini leather pro yourself!

Here enter quality DIY leather repair kits and programs to help you out. You can address discoloration, scrapes, and scratches, and, if you are really good at it, you may even be able to renew the color of your leather item. As long as you have clear, step-by-step instructions (if both visual and written, then even better) from start to finish, you have nothing to worry about.

Needless to say, if you choose to go done this road, you must be ready to dedicate some serious time to it. Again, you will have to order the products, watch or read the instructions, and practice the methods learned to complete the repair(s). Depending on the instructions you receive, you may also have to strengthen the leather by applying a few coats of a specifically designed product before you do anything else, to prevent future cracking and hold the worn fibers together. Then repair the damage, apply a colorant into difficult-to-reach areas and gaps, spray with the color and finish, and you are done!

It is definitely a rewarding job perfectly suited to those very interested in getting involved in DIY home improvement projects.

It goes without a saying that the repair quality is superior to that with quick and easy DIY repair if you are willing to invest in a good DIY program. Compared to the results you can get from a leather professional, your repairs will be inferior, although not that shabby at all!

Finally, you can expect the cost for a quality DIY kit or program to be about half the cost of getting your beaten up leather item to a reliable leather professional. Not to mention that you are left with leftover materials that you can save for another repair.

Having said that, though, if you do have a leather repair expert in your area, it is strongly advised to ask about their opinion because, sometimes, hiring a professional won’t cost you more than repairing it yourself!

2. Professional Leather Repair

Since leather comes in many different qualities, some repairs can be done by you while others require the expertise of a professional. For example, most leather items (especially furniture) are made from corrected-grain or top-grain leather and can be repaired by homeowners and help from a good DIY leather repair kit or program. However, high-quality, full-grain leather calls for the undivided attention and care of a professional.

Also, if you don’t have the time needed to learn and practice leather repair techniques and do your own repairs, then it is best to hire a pro, who will have a repair man for each leather-related issue you might need help with. From fading, scrapes, cuts, scratches, and punctures to discolorations, fading, stains, and pet damages, a good pro will know what to do. All that’s needed from you is to find one, who will also schedule the work probably in your home and at times convenient to you. Once the repair is done, let the leather item sit untouched for a few hours before you use it again. Of course, your leather furniture, jacket, handbag or any other leather item will look as good as new in the majority of repairs. Some cuts and cat scratches, may not disappear completely, but they will definitely blend beautifully into the neutral finish of the leather and become unnoticeable.

Tips:

1. Treat cracks the soonest possible before they turn into more-difficult-to-fix tears.

2. Leather clothing comes with its own set of challenges and experiences much more wear than furniture. Most of the times, it is tough for the amateur leather repairer to treat tears and scratches effectively, despite the fact that the same basic principles apply to both repairing tears in furniture as they do in clothing. If you are are not that good at using a heavy-duty needle and strong polyester or silk thread to stitch a tear, making sure you leave a good amount of space between stitches to avoid weakening leather, then it’s best to hire a pro.

3. For leather clothing with a lot of wear (i.e. elbows and armpits), you will need to apply a combination of a patch and stitching.

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