Dyeing leather white
October 6, 2010 7:01 AM   Subscribe

I've got some vegetable tanned leather which I want to turn into my own made to measure sports bag. I want the bag to be white. Is there such a thing as white penetrating leather dye?

I tried Fiebings white dye, but that turns out to be a coating rather than a penetrating dye. I would very much prefer a dye that penetrates the leather rather than a surface coating - that way the structure of the leather is preserved.

Is there such a thing as white penetrating leather dye? Are there other ways of turning leather white? Some form of bleaching perhaps?

Help would be appreciated!
posted by Sourisnoire to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total)
Best answer: True dyes are transparent, so they can only darken the color of an object, not lighten it. There's no such thing as a white dye. Only opaque substances, such as some paints (which are suspensions of undissolved pigments in some sort of binder), can cover a darker color to make it lighter, but you say you don't want to cover the leather.

I think it's necessary to use a special tanning process to create white leather, so it's too late for your leather that's already been vegetable-tanned. I've read that white leather is made by an aldehyde tanning process. Don't try to bleach your vegetable-tanned leather with household bleach, because the hypochlorite will damage the leather.

Best solution is to either go with the current color, or choose a darker one, so that you can use dye to get there.
posted by Ery at 7:18 AM on October 6, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks. That makes sense. Another colour it will have to be then. Any suggestions?
posted by Sourisnoire at 7:43 AM on October 6, 2010

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