Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather? Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather? A Beginner’s Guide To Painting On Leather With Acrylics

You can use acrylic paint on leather. Some people have had success with acrylics by first priming the leather with a sealant or primer before painting it. However, this may not be necessary if your leather is already sealed or primed and you’re just trying to change its color or add some texture or shine. You’ll want to test out your technique on a small area before going all out on a large surface area

You’ve got this old leather jacket, shoe or couch that is starting to look a bit rough around the edges. You really just want to repaint the leather, but the fear of ruining your leather makes you think twice about it — until you realize that you have a can of acrylic paint. But, Can you use acrylic paint on leather?

You can use acrylic paint on leather. Some people have had success with acrylics by first priming the leather with a sealant or primer before painting it. However, this may not be necessary if your leather is already sealed or primed and you’re just trying to change its color or add some texture or shine. You’ll want to test out your technique on a small area before going all out on a large surface area

Have you ever wanted to try acrylic paints on leather? If so, consider this your ultimate long-winded guide. This detailed guide will;

  • Teach you how to clean leather
  • Take you through the sanding down process( with grit paper)
  • Guide you on how to prime and seal your leather.

Without wasting much time, let’s get started!

Related Reading: Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Glass?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

You can use acrylic paint on leather. It is a great way to refresh your leather or give it a new look. You can even use it on your furniture and clothing. The best part is that it will not damage the material at all, meaning that you can do this as many times as you want, without worrying about the quality of your leather being ruined.

Painting on Leather With Acrylics: Step-to- Step Guide

Painting on leather is an art form. It takes a lot of practice, patience and skill to produce a great piece of art on leather. Acrylics are ideal for this project because they are flexible and can be applied to almost any leather surface. Here’s how

Step1: Clean the Leather

When it comes to painting on leather, the first thing you need to do is clean the leather. You want to remove any dirt and residue from the surface before you start, so that the paint sticks properly.

To do this, use a damp cloth with Isopropyl Alcohol, a mild soap or detergent on it. Pat the surface down until it’s clean and dry. You can also use a soft brush if you prefer.

Step 2: Sand Down Leather

Once your leather has been cleaned and dried, it’s time to sand down any rough spots or blemishes that may be on its surface. You can use 120-grit sandpaper for this task, but start off with 80-grit sandpaper first if possible, since that will give you better results with less effort. Sanding down your leather will help create a more even surface for painting later on.

Step 3: Prime the Leather

To prime your leather, start by cleaning it with a damp cloth or paper towel and let it dry completely before proceeding. Next apply a thin layer of Liquitex acrylic gesso (also known as liquid primer) over the entire surface of the leather piece using an old brush or foam roller and letting it dry fully between coats (about 4 hours).

Once your surface is primed, it’s time to start painting! You can use any type of brush that you like for this.

Related Reading: Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Fabric?

Step 4: Choose Your Paint Colors

Use paints that are compatible with leather( I recommend Angelus Brand Acrylic Paint). Avoid paints that contain solvents or chemicals that may cause damage to the surface of the leather if they come into contact with it during painting or after drying.

Acrylic paint dries quickly and is easy to work with because it’s water-based; however, it can sometimes leave behind brush marks or an uneven finish when applied directly from the tube onto your project without mixing colors first or applying thin coats of paint instead of thick ones.

Related Reading: What are Acrylic Paints?

Step 5: Apply Acrylic Paint on Leather

Apply a base coat of color to your leather by brushing it on evenly in long strokes with a paintbrush or applicator pad. Allow the base coat to dry completely before applying another coat of acrylic paint. At least apply 3 coats to prevent cracking.

Step 6: Seal

Leather needs to be sealed after painting with acrylics because of its porous nature. Otherwise, the paint will soak into the leather and leave it looking dull after a while. You can use a commercial product such as Mod Podge or PVA glue, or make your own by mixing equal parts white glue and water. You can also apply the sealer with a soft cloth until it’s absorbed into the leather. This will take time, so don’t rush it!

Step 7: Let it Dry( Very Important)

This is a crucial part that most acrylic paint users miss . It is best to completely let acrylic paint dry to avoid ruining your efforts. You can choose to dry it fast with a heater or hair dryer. I also wrote an article on how long it takes acrylic paints take to dry ( make sure to check it out).

Related Reading : Is Acrylic Paint Toxic?

How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Leather?

Acrylic paints are great for painting leather. It’s easy to apply, dries quickly and is durable. The only problem is that acrylics don’t last as long on leather as they do on other surfaces. If you want your acrylics to last longer, you can seal them with a clear spray sealant or varnish. Here’s how;

  • Make sure your acrylic paint is dry enough. Apply 2-3 coats of sealant or spray varnish over the painted area and let it dry completely between coats.
  • Sealed acrylics will last longer than unsealed ones but won’t last as long as oil-based paints .You can also use latex paints for flexibility( Latex do not require any use of solvents to thin them out like acrylics).

Related Reading: Are Acrylic and Latex Paint the Same?

How to Prevent Acrylic Paint from Cracking?

Acrylic paint is a great choice for your next project, but it can be difficult to work with. It’s not as durable as oil paint and is more likely to crack if you don’t use the right techniques.

I’m going to show you how to prevent acrylic paint from cracking so that you have a smooth, professional finish on all of your projects!

Here’s how;

  • Always sand off any bumps and lumps before painting with acrylics. These bumps and lumps can cause the surface of your painting to split apart when it dries.
  • Apply a primer before painting with acrylics. Primers help smooth out any bumps or rough spots in your canvas or wood surface so that they won’t cause cracks in your final product.
  • Always use a sealer after priming. A sealer will protect the surface from moisture, which could otherwise cause cracking.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash off Leather?

Acrylic paint will not wash off leather if you apply a primer and a sealant correctly.

The main reason acrylic paints wash off leather is because they were not allowed to cure properly or they were applied too thickly. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but they require time to cure so that the solvents evaporate and the pigment becomes embedded in the leather’s surface.

If you don’t allow enough time for this curing process to occur, the solvent may still be present and wash away when exposed to water.

Related Reading : Do Acrylic Paints Wash Off?

Best Acrylic Leather Paint?

1.Angelus Leather Paint

Angelus Leather Paint is a high-class product, containing only the best acrylics with the finest pigments that ensure a beautiful and durable finish. This paint is suitable for almost any leather: from soft and delicate to rugged, even hard. It can be used both on top of existing coatings or directly on new material, but you should always apply test samples before applying it over large areas.

2. Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint Set

The Apple Barrel Acrylic Leather Paint Set is perfect for painting leather, plastic and vinyl items. It’s easy to use water-based formula dries fast and requires no sanding. This paint set comes with an assortment of colors that you can use right out of the bottle or mix them together to make your own custom colors.

3.Fiebing’s Leather Paint

Fiebing’s leather paint is a two-part acrylic leather paint that dries to a durable, flexible finish. It’s easy to apply and widely used by watchmakers, leather repair specialists, upholstery shops and fabricators of fine antiques. Use Fiebing’s Leather Paint on boots, garments, handbags and shoes.

Difference Between Regular Acrylic Paint and Leather Acrylic Paint?

Regular acrylic paint is made with water as the primary ingredient, and it dries to a hard surface. Leather acrylic paint, on the other hand, is made with a variety of materials including water, binders, pigments and dyes. It does not dry to a hard surface but instead remains flexible.

The main difference between regular acrylic paint and leather acrylic paint is that the latter can be used on leather items like jackets and shoes. This type of paint is also great for creating effects like stripes or polka dots on any surface you want to decorate.

If you do choose to use regular acrylics on your leather projects, make sure that the surface has been cleaned thoroughly before applying, a primer for extra durability.

Can You Use Mod Podge to Seal Acrylic Paint on Leather?

You can use Mod Podge to seal acrylic paint on leather. The paint does dry quickly so it’s best to start with a small area and work your way out.

Side Note: I have used Mod Podge on my leather boots and it worked great! I did have to apply several coats of Mod Podge because the leather was dark but it worked fine after about 5 coats. I used a sponge brush and just brushed on the Mod Podge with no problems at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Leather?

You can use any acrylic paint that meets your needs. However, if you want something durable and long lasting that will last longer than regular acrylic paint, then choose acrylic paint made specifically for leather.

Does Acrylic Paint Stain Leather?

Acrylic paints do not stain leather per se but they can cause damage if not properly applied or maintained properly with care over time.


Ultimately, you can paint leather with acrylic paint. So, if you’re looking to give your favorite leather jacket a bit of a makeover and breathe some life into it, acrylic paint is an excellent way to do so.

I’d always suggest trying creativity first, before splashing out on a new accessory – just make sure you don’t end up ruining an old favourite.


E-How: What is Acrylic Paint Used for?

SkillShare: How to Paint Leather: Tools, Tips, and Projects