How To Dye Veg Tanned Leather

How To Dye Veg Tanned Leather

January 25, 2024

Jane Smith, Managing Director


Learn The Art Of Dying Natural Veg Tanned Leather Skins

Dyeing veg tanned leather can be a fun and rewarding DIY leather craft project, but it can also be a bit tricky. Here are the steps you can follow to dye veg tanned leather:

Perhaps you have just bought a second hand veg tanned leather handbag or purse and want to bring it back to life again, with the raw hide dyes you can do just that, you can even change the colour of the item to give it more modern look and feel.

Veg tanned leather as well as crust leather is used in the leathercraft industry for those with small cottage industry businesses making small leather items from key fobs to purses, handbags to belts, leather phone cases to leather bookmarks, this is the perfect way to start up a leathercraft business and dye veg tanned leather items, either by recycling them or buying new veg tanned skins and colouring them. We have courses to teach you how to dye crust leather.



  • Veg tanned leather item.
  • Raw hide leather dye.
  • Raw hide base.
  • Cleaning brush or cloth
  • Sponge, wool dauber or brush.
  • Gloves.
  • Alcohol cleaner.
  • Water.
  • Leather finish.



  1. Start by preparing your work area. Cover your work surface with a protective layer to avoid staining it with the raw hide dye. The dye is very powerful and will stain the surrounding areas and you, so wear gloves and old clothing.


  1. Clean your leather item with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust. Make sure it's completely dry before you start dyeing. If it has stains and in-grained dirt then you will need to use alcohol cleaner, spray this into a cloth and gently wipe over the surface, this will ensure all grease, dirt and grime are removed as well as a build-up of oils and waxes as they will all stop the raw hide dye from dyeing the veg tanned leather item. Once this is fully dry you can proceed to dye your item.


  1. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the dye.


  1. Mix up your raw hide dye along with the raw hide base, using a mixing ratio use the following ideas, 5 litre of base will need 1 litre of dye. 1 litre of base will need 200ml of dye. 500ml of base will need 100ml of dye. 250ml of base will need 50ml of dye. 100ml of base will need 20ml of dye. 50ml of base will need 10ml of dye.


  1. Test the dye on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather first to make sure you're happy with the colour. It will be darker than you think as it will soak into the raw hide. In some cases, you may have to go a lot darker than the original item if it has a great deal of staining that won’t come out in the cleaning process above.


  1. Apply the dye to the leather using a sponge or wool dauber. Apply it evenly and be careful not to leave any streaks. Apply several coats of dye to achieve the desired colour, waiting for each coat to dry before applying the next one. If you are working with larger areas, then hand dyeing can take time, but gain some amazing character as you dye the raw hide, when working with full hides or larger areas, work in a circular motion and finish in straight lines to even out any streaks left on the surface.


  1. After you've finished dyeing, let the leather dry completely before moving on to the next step.


  1. Apply a leather finish to the dyed leather to protect the colour and prevent it from fading or rubbing off. Follow the instructions on the finish to apply it properly. This can be applied via a spray gun or put a spray head on your bottle and spray into a sponge and apply with a dabbing motion to the leather surface to seal this in.


And that's it! With a little bit of patience and care, you can dye veg tanned leather items to any colour you desire. You can even startup your own business dyeing this type of fashion item, re purposing them, recycling them to give them a new lease of life. It’s not just handbags and purses that can be veg tanned, shoes and leather jackets can also veg tanned leather that can be redyed, and a change of colour given to them to make them this year’s fashion colours.


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