How to Dye Suede or Nubuck
Suede and nubuck have a different texture than smooth leather, and therefore should be treated differently.
Suede is made from the underside of the hide, primarily lamb, although goat, pig, calf, and deer are used, too. Because suede doesn’t have the tough exterior skin layer, it is softer and less durable than full-grain leather. Also, suede is textured and has open pores, so it absorbs liquids quickly.
Nubuck is similar to suede, as it also has a soft nap of short fibers, but it is created from the outer side of a hide, giving it more strength and thickness along with a fine grain and has been sanded or buffed to produce a velvet-like surface. It is more resistant to wear than suede.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Angelus Suede Dye
- Fiebing’s Suede Dye
- Suede Renew Spray
- Suede or Nubuck Brush
- Global Suede Cleaner or Lincoln Suede Cleaner
- Brushes and Daubers
- Dying Gloves and Protective Apron
Step One: Clean
- Clean the suede surface to be dyed. Use a brush to remove excess dirt and raise the nap
- Use the suede cleaner and following the manufacturers’ instructions. Let suede dry completely before continuing on.
Step Two: Dye
- Use a wool dauber to apply the dye, pushing it deep into the surface. Since suede is porous, it has a tendency to soak up dye. You will also notice that the dye tends to flatten the nap of the suede.
- Let each coat of dye dry for 1 – 2 hours.
- It may be necessary to blot excess dye for even color.
- Between coats, restore the nap with a suede brush or fine steel wool.
If your suede item is looking worn and the color has worn off, a suede restorer can renew the color. Follow the directions in Step One to clean and prepare the suede item, the follow manufacturers’ directions.