There’s a common misconception that you can’t use acrylic paint on leather. However, this isn’t remotely true. The key is to use a suitable primer and sealer to prevent the paint from cracking.
Acrylics are an excellent choice for leather coats, shoes, and other items. However, you should always seal the paint to achieve a smooth finish that will last long-term without cracking or fading too much over time.
So, how do you seal acrylic paint on leather? The techniques used to seal acrylic paint on various types of leather may vary depending on how thick your paint is and what type of leather you’ve chosen. In most cases, you can complete your project with a coating of spray sealant as well as a waterproof finisher.
It can be confusing depending on the look you’re going for and what you’re painting, so let’s go over a step-by-step guide to learn how to seal acrylic paint on leather.
Steps For Painting with Acrylics on Leather
Here are the steps for painting with acrylics on leather and sealing it so that your work doesn’t get worn down, cracked, or otherwise ruined.
1. Make Sure The Surface Is Clean
The first step before starting to paint is to clean your leather. Mix an ounce of bleach with one part water, then use a sponge or towel to wipe everything down and get rid of dust, lint, and dirt that could ruin the finish.
2. Prepare Your Work Area
Preparing the work area is as important as anything when it comes to painting with acrylic paints. One of the best ways to protect your work area is by using tarps or drop cloths.
This way, paint won’t be able to get onto anything else, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re not accidentally painting all over your lovely desk, table, patio, or counter. For additional protection, start wearing protective clothing like apron dresses so as not to ruin any fabric in case there are spills.
3. Choose The Right Paint
Always pick the acrylic paint specifically made for leather for your project. You should make sure to select the right water-based acrylic paint so that you can get great results on your project.
3. Paint Your Design
Apply a single coat of leather acrylic onto your leather surface, giving enough time between coats to dry in at least 2 hours before another layer will be added if needed. If your paint is having trouble sticking, you can thin it with one part water to make sure it seeps into the pores of the leather.
You can use tape to mark off the areas for your paint job. This is an optional step, but it comes in handy if you’re creating a design or painting just one section.
4. Seal The Paint
After you’ve finished painting, it’s time to seal the paint. Make sure that any dirt or dust is gone before applying a clear coat of varnish for protection and durability. A suitable sealant or an acrylic paint finisher is the right fit for sealing the paint.
Here are the steps for sealing your paint:
- Clean The Leather – Make sure to clean the leather before sealing it with paint. Otherwise, any debris or dust on its surface will become trapped when you seal it in.
- Use Paint Finisher Or Spray Sealant– If you’re using a liquid paint finisher, be sure to mix an ounce of the product with one part water. Dilute it and apply in thin coats by dabbing it onto your leather surface. Now, allow each coat to set for at least five minutes before adding more layers. Apply in several coats until all areas are fully sealed against the elements. If you’re using a spray sealant instead, this process is much quicker. Just spray in light bursts and let set between each spray until you’ve built up a nice layer of sealant.
- Waterproofing Spray– If you want your new painting to last, don’t forget the topcoat. Acrylic paint is only so waterproof on its own once completely dry. By applying a waterproofing spray after finishing up with acrylic paints, you’ll find that it adds layers of durability and moisture resistance for long-lasting wear. Simply point and spray with an aerosol can and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.
Steps Paint On Leather Shoes
Acrylic paint is often used to add fun designs to faux leather shoes. The shiny, smooth surface makes it possible for you to create bold patterns and designs.
Natural leather soaks up the acrylic paint because of its porous nature, but faux or vegan leather used in shoes is much smoother and has a finish that repels moisture.
Moreover, it has an outer layer made from either silicon and polymers, making it difficult to remove all traces of dirt. As a result, the paint won’t stick to it. Therefore, to seal acrylic paint to faux leather, you need isopropyl alcohol to remove the grease and silicone coating.
1. Cleaning The leather
An easy way to clean up your faux leather is by using isopropyl alcohol to wipe it off. Now, for more challenging tasks like removing silicone coatings, apply deglazers by rubbing them on in thin layers until all traces are gone.
2. Painting Your Shoes
With a sponge or paintbrush, apply acrylic paints to faux leather shoes. Apply the paint in long strokes and evenly distribute it across the shoe for full saturation of color. Allow each coat to dry for around 20 minutes before adding more layers.
Also, don’t worry if you make any mistakes with your painting project. You can always use acetone (nail polish remover) to correct your mistakes if necessary.
The key to keeping the paint sealed on faux leather is applying thin layers of paint that soak into the material. If you use thick paints or build up thickness, there will be more of a chance for your work to crack if flexed too much.
Things to Remember While Painting Leather Shoes:
- When painting your faux leather shoes or any other type of shoe for that matter, never mix paint brands. Doing so would result in a much higher risk of the paints cracking and even peeling off. This mainly happens due to different chemicals reacting to one another after being applied to the surface.
- You’ll also want to prevent heat and direct sunlight from touching the freshly dried paints too much, so they don’t crack either.
Can You Paint A Leather Jacket Using Acrylic Paint?
Yes, a leather jacket can be painted and designed using acrylic paint. In fact, most designs on any leather jacket are done with acrylic paint only. You can go crazy with all the colors out there for an amazing outcome. All you need is your set of acrylic paints for leather, brushes, and a design in your mind to get started.
A seal for acrylic paint is a significant factor in your overall leather painting work. Without using a proper sealer, acrylic painting on leather may fade over a long period of time, crack, flake, and make the painting look unattractive.
To nail your next leather painting project, follow the instructions mentioned above and develop a fantastic design on your leather furniture, shoes, jacket, and even purses. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up the tools and get started!