Do you have a patent leather bag or shoes that you’ve just grown tired of? Maybe they’re too flashy for your current style, or maybe they’re just plain old scratched up. Fear not! In this article, I will teach you how to dull patent leather using some simple household items.
What Is Patent Leather?
Patent leather is a material that has a very glossy finish. It is made by coating the leather with an acrylic or polyurethane layer which gives it protection from water and stains as well as makes it shiny. This material is often used in making shoes, bags, and other accessories.
While patent leather can be very attractive, it can also be a bit too flashy for some people. If you’re one of those people, or if your patent leather items are just plain scratched up, then read on to learn how to dull the finish.
Why Is Patent Leather Shiny?
Patent leather is a type of leather with a shiny, glossy coating that makes it look like plastic. The term patent only refers to the finish and not to any specific material.
- Plastic Coating
One of the first reasons why patent leather is really shiny is because it’s made using a plastic coating over the surface of traditional leather.
The plastic coating is applied as a liquid then dried to create the glossy look we associate with patent leather. The shiny is largely the result of the coating’s ability to reflect light.
It can be quite durable and resistant to water, but without proper care, patent leather can become dry or even crack.
Another common reason why patent leather sometimes appears shiny than you will often like is usually because of patina.
Patina is an extra layer of shine that develops on leather or patent leather with time and use.
It’s caused by the oils on your hands and body interacting with the leather and causing a natural protective layer to form over it – which is also sometimes very shiny and adds to the shiny surface of the patent leather material.
When you first get patent leather, especially if it is still new, there are usually no patinas present yet because they have not had time to develop or accumulate yet.
However, as soon as you start using them and handling them, the patinas will begin to form slowly over time.
- Products Used On The Patent Leather
Lastly, there are also products that you can use that can significantly add to the shine of your patent leather. These products are usually the same ones that are used to clean and polish the patent leather material.
Some of these products include commercial leather cleaners, shoe polishes, or any other type of household cleaner that is marketed as being able to clean patent leather.
This is because some of the products contain waxes and oils that can add to the shiny surface of the material.
Can Patent Leather Be Made Dull?
Yes, patent leather can be made dull. However, it is not a very easy process and it will take some time and effort. If you’re not up for the challenge, then I suggest taking your items to a professional.
Even in the hands of the professional if the method used is too severe it can strip all the color from patent leather and make the patent leather weak or damaged.
Also, if there are too many chemicals involved the leather underneath could get compromised and result in a really bad reaction so it is best to test any method on an inconspicuous part of the leather item before starting.
The Downsides To Dulling Patent Leather
Before we get into the how-to, let’s talk about some of the potential downsides to dulling patent leather.
- First, as mentioned before, it is not an easy process. It will take time and effort on your part.
- Second, if you’re not careful, you could damage or completely strip the color from your patent leather item.
- Finally, there is always the possibility that the chemicals involved in the dulling process could compromise the leather underneath, causing a bad reaction.
How To Dull Patent Leather
With all that said, if you’re still interested in learning how to dull patent leather, read on!
There are a few ways to dull patent leather, but we will be focusing on the two most common methods: using a lot of very common household items and a few commercial products.
1. Rubbing Alcohol
One of the easiest and most common ways to dull patent leather is by using rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is a common household substance and chances are you already have some in your home.
All you need is a soft cloth or sponge, some rubbing alcohol, and a little bit of elbow grease.
- Simply dampen the cloth/sponge in the rubbing alcohol and start scrubbing away at the shiny surface of the patent leather.
- Once you’ve finished scrubbing, let the patent leather dry completely.
- You may need to repeat this process several times for each application of rubbing alcohol before the desired dullness is achieved!
This is a pretty simple and straightforward process you can do at home, but it can be a little tedious and time-consuming.
2. Petroleum Jelly Or Vaseline
Another common household item that can be used to dull patent leather is petroleum jelly. If you’re wondering if petroleum jelly or vaseline is safe for patent leather, check this article out.
- Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the surface of the patent leather and allow it to sit for several hours.
- Wipe away any excess jelly with a clean cloth.
So you can also dull patent leather with some petroleum jelly. The downside to this method is that it can make the leather look a bit cloudy or hazy. But it’s a great option if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to dull your patent leather.
If you’re not crazy about the hazy look that petroleum jelly can give, there are other methods you can try. In the next section, we’ll take a look at some of these methods.
3. Acetone (Nail Polish Remover)
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to dull your patent leather, acetone is the way to go. Acetone contains a compound called acetone peroxide, which is a bleaching agent.
It will strip away the waxes or oils that are making your patent leather shiny. It can also help to reduce the glossiness of the plastic coating on the patent leather.
- Simply apply a small amount of acetone to a clean cloth and rub it onto the surface of the patent leather.
- Be sure to test this method on an inconspicuous area of the leather first to make sure that it doesn’t cause any discoloration.
- If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to dull your patent leather, acetone is the way to go.
Acetone is great because it’s quick and easy to use just like using rubbing alcohol. The downside is that it can cause some discoloration, so be sure to test it on an inconspicuous area first.
4. Scuff It Up
Another great way to dull patent leather is by scuffing it up. Scuffs and scratches are one of the common ways patent leather losses its shine.
This method involves using an abrasive material to roughen up the surface of the patent leather.
You can use a number of different materials to scuff up your patent leather, including sandpaper, steel wool, or a Brillo pad.
Start by testing the abrasive material on an inconspicuous area of the patent leather to make sure it doesn’t damage the surface.
Once you’ve confirmed that the abrasive material won’t harm the leather, start scuffing it up. Be sure to apply even pressure and move in a circular motion.
Keep scuffing until the patent leather has lost its shine. This is a great way to dull patent leather if you don’t mind it looking a bit scuffed up.
5. Painting With Acrylic Paint
Painting your patent leather is one of the best ways not only to dull it but to also give it an entirely new look.
This method is also relatively simple and straightforward as well. All you need is a few basic supplies that you can find at any art or craft store, including acrylic paint in the color(s) of your choice, a small brush, and some rubbing alcohol.
- To get started, pour some of the acrylic paint onto a palette or other surface (a disposable plate works well for this).
- Use the rubbing alcohol to strip away any grease or dirt that may affect the paint application. This will always make the paint adhere better.
- Next, paint an area of your patent leather with one color.
- Allow it to dry for a few minutes before applying another coat over the top of it.
- Apply as many coats as necessary until you get an even, opaque application or until you cover your entire item in paint.
- Allow everything to dry completely before touching or wearing your item again.
6. Matte Finish Leather Cleaner or Conditioner
If you’re not interested in painting your patent leather, or any of the methods above, you can also use a matte finish leather cleaner or conditioner.
These products are designed to give your patent leather a more subdued and subtle look. They work by concealing or placing a matte finish on the surface of the patent leather to reduce the shine.
They usually come in spray or wipe-on form and are easy to use. You can find matte finish leather cleaners and conditioners at most hardware stores or online.
Just be sure to test it on an inconspicuous area of the leather first to make sure there is no adverse reaction.
- Simply apply the product to a clean cloth and buff it into the surface of the patent leather.
- Allow it to dry completely before touching or wearing your item again.
- Make sure to read the application instructions carefully, as each product is different.
There you have it! Six easy ways to dull patent leather. Try out a few and see which one works best for you. Happy dulling!