Can I Use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

Painting leather allows you to put your unique style onto your clothes and even furniture. However, before doing so, you may be wondering if you can use acrylic paint on leather.

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on leather without damaging the surface. Here is everything you need to know before painting leather with acrylic paints.

How to Paint Leather with Acrylic Paint

Before painting leather with acrylic paint, there’s a couple of things you need to do. Firstly, prepare the surface. If you notice any cracks or damages on the surface, use a leather restoration kit to make repairs, as the paint will highlight any damage.

Secondly, clean the leather thoroughly. Usually, soap and water aren’t enough, and you’ll want to use isopropyl alcohol. This type of alcohol removes the grease and debris that tends to collect on leather surfaces better than water or even soap can. You can also use a diluted solution of leather bleach to clean the surface.

Leather jackets are treated with a glaze. While this helps the material retain an attractive sheen, glaze prevents paint from sticking to leather. You will need to remove the glaze with a leather deglazer, using a towel or a wool dauber to apply the glaze.

Finally, you are ready to paint. Use regular acrylic craft paint or acrylic leather paint and a brush of your choice. The trick when painting leather is to apply several thin layers instead of one thick layer. Thin layers allow the leather to absorb the paint, while thick layers are prone to cracking. Let the paint dry thoroughly between coats.

How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Leather

Once done painting, apply a paint sealer to your leather surface. Sealing helps protect it from fading or cracking.

If you use a liquid acrylic paint finisher, you will need to dilute it first by mixing it with equal water. Then, apply to the leather in small bursts using a wool dauber. Apply up to 20 thin coats, letting the leather dry for about five minutes between each coat. Be sure that you are applying the finisher in thin layers so that it does not soak into the leather.

Alternatively, you can use a spray sealant which is faster and more efficient, although less precise. Make sure that the leather is clean, then spray the sealant over it.

No matter which type of sealant you use, you need to let the leather dry entirely after sealing before moving it.

How Long Does It Take for Acrylic Paint to Dry on Leather?

Acrylic paint usually takes about two hours to dry on leather. The more coats you add, the longer it will take to dry.

Let the paint dry completely before you apply another coat or even move the leather. Moving the leather while the paint is still wet can cause cracks and damage to the paint.


Painting leather is a great way to add your personal touch to leather.

Clean it with isopropyl alcohol before painting a leather surface and remove any glaze with a leather deglazer. Work with several thin coats to ensure that the leather absorbs the paint properly, as thick coats can crack and break.

Finally, seal your painting with a sealant for the best result.

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