Hand painted leather headrest

Hand painting is a great way of adding a personal touch to your leather shoes and handbags. But, you don’t have to stop there – why not get creative with leather furniture and car upholstery. 

But, before reaching for the paintbrush, you will need to first identify the type of leather and then clean and prime it with appropriate products. 

Types of leather 

There are three main types of leather: 

  1. Pigmented leather - Has a layer of colour on the surface. Test by rubbing a drop of water into the leather. If it's pigmented leather, the water will not penetrate the surface.
  2. Aniline leather - It is porous and if you carry out the above test, water will penetrate the leather and darken the area.
  3. Suede and Nubuck - They are also very porous but painting on their surface is not advisable. The chances of getting good results are extremely low due to the nap on the  surface. Only colour Suede or Nubuck to refresh it or cover fading.
                           Japanese hand painted leather   Hand painted leather shoes


  • Clean Aniline leather using COLOURLOCK Leather Cleaning Spirit. Not only will this take off any surface dirt but it will also degrease the leather. This is a very important step in the preparation.
  • For pigmented leathers, use COLOURLOCK Solvent Cleaner. It is slightly stronger than the cleaning spirit but it is much more effective on pigmented leathers. Aniline leathers are more sensitive and hence must be treated more gently. This process ensures the colour adheres to the surface well.


  • The primer ensures good adhesion of colour and must not be skipped. Apply COLOURLOCK ‘Primer Plus’ for Aniline leather and COLOURLOCK Primer for pigmented leathers. Clearly mark the area to be coloured and apply the Primer using a sponge. Apply evenly in circular motions and work from seam to seam. This avoids any borders and visible marks once it is dry. The surface will feel a little sticky once the Primer is dry and this is completely normal.


  • Paint away using a brush or an airbrush and use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. However, ensure the air is not too hot. It is advisable to keep the hair dryer atleast 30 cm away from the leather while drying.
  • We have a total range of 17 primary colours which can be mixed together. Additionally, we also have 5 luminous/fluorescent colours. (It is also possible to create ‘Metallic Effects’ on leather using additives to our Top Coats)
  • The leather colours have excellent covering power and yet they still maintain the features of the leather. It is a water based formula that gives extremely high adhesion values if used correctly. It is used extensively and fully approved by many automotive, aviation and furniture manufacturers.
      Hand painted leather armchair by ColourlockCOLOURLOCK hand painted sofas  


- After colouring and painting, the dyes have to be fixed using a clear coat. Clear coats are available in Matt or Gloss finish. Use COLOURLOCK ‘Leather Finish Matt’ or COLOURLOCK Leather Spray ‘Neutral Gloss’. Both these products come in an aerosol spray can.

- Additionally, coloured areas or old leather items can be maintained using COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver. 

Recommended Products

Since this is a special application, all the products are not available to purchase directly on our website. However, please feel free to get in touch with us and we will gladly assist you.