Acrylic Paints: How to Paint and seal on Leather Jackets and Shoes

Leather is a sturdy and versatile material that can be painted and sealed to create one-of-a-kind pieces. In this acrylic paint-on leather article, you’ll learn how to choose the right type of leather, mix colors for a custom look, and seal your project for a beautiful finish.

Although some types of leather are more porous than others, most can be painted with acrylic paints. You can use regular or metallic paint colors to create interesting combinations. However, you should test any paints on a scrap piece of leather first before using them on your final project.

Have you ever wanted to try painting on leather but were unsure of how to get started? We’ll also give you some tips for creating a beautiful finished product. Let’s get started!

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

Yes, most types of leather can be painted with acrylic paints. You’ll want to test your paint colors on a scrap piece of leather before you paint directly onto the final project.

Some natural leathers may absorb more liquid than others; you’ll need to apply several coats of paint to achieve an even finish on these thicker leathers. An example would be ostrich or crocodile skin.

You can use both regular or metallic paints for painting on leather. You should also know that metallic paints will not penetrate deeply into the material, so expect glints of gold rather than deep shine. Because they are non-absorbent, metallic paints are ideal for delicate projects like jewelry and small accessories.

Assess your specific type of leather before you begin painting. Thinner leathers like deerskin or lambskin are more likely to absorb paint; these leathers will require several coats for an even appearance. Thick leathers like ostrich or crocodile skin may only need one coat of paint for a solid color because they lack the porous quality that can cause problems.

Mix acrylic paints with regular water before applying, just as you would when working on other surfaces such as wood or paper mache. You should also mix metallic paints with regular water first because water is required to activate their adhesive qualities.

How to Paint on Leather with Acrylic Paints

Step 1: Prepare the leather.

Before you begin painting, clean your leather with a damp sponge and let it air dry completely. In addition, cut down any stiff or hardened areas of your project with a knife before you paint to create an even surface that’s easy to work on. And remember to save the scraps so you can refer back to them if you make a mistake.

Step 2: Apply the paint.

Choose the right acrylic paints for your project. For example, use iridescent or metallic acrylic paints when you want a shiny or shimmery leather piece. Start with light colors and work towards darker shades to give your painting depth. If you’re using regular paints, apply several coats to create an even color on thicker leathers like ostrich skin; allow each coat to dry before applying another one. If you’re using metallic e paint, apply several coats of water-based glue first then activate it with water after each application.

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Step 3: Seal the paint.

After letting your paint dry for several hours, seal it with spray varnish to protect the design and prevent rusting. You can also use a spray varnish if you want your leather to be shiny rather than matte.

We used spray varnish as well as gold metallic paint on our finished project; we sealed it with a metal finish for a shiny, metallic look!

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather Shoes?

You can use acrylic paints on your leather shoes, but you should know that they are not the best option for protecting them. Because of all the walking and weather conditions, leather shoes typically need a more durable finish like wax or varnish.

We recommend testing out acrylic paints first on a pair of old shoes; if those hold up well, feel free to try them out on your favorite pair of leather shoes. However, if you want a more durable paint that can withstand all kinds of conditions, then you’ll want to use an acrylic varnish instead.

How to Paint Leather Shoes with Acrylic Paint step by step

Fashion is fun and it’s true, but if you’re anything like us, then you take your shoes seriously.

You know what makes for an exceptional pair of boots; the right construction, durable materials, and a sleek silhouette… But the look of a shoe can be so easily spoiled if you don’t have the right color to pull off a stunning contrast.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of ways to customize leather shoes with acrylic paint, and one way is by using faux leather paints! These paints are specially formulated to work on materials like vinyl, plastic, and now leather! Using faux leather paint has never been easier.

Just grab your favorite shoes, some acrylic paints in the color that you want, and follow these simple steps to give your pair of shoes a completely amazing makeover.

Step One: Prepare Your Shoes

Some types of faux leather can be easily scratched by your knives, so avoid the use of knives when working with these types. You can stick to sandpaper or special leather tools instead.

If your shoes are dusty, wet a sponge and wipe them down until they’re clean.

Step Two: Prepare Your Surface

Select the type of acrylic paint that is right for your project; regular paints work best on lighter colors, while iridescent or metallic paints work well with darker colors. Apply several coats of paint over the surface area until it takes on an even appearance.

While you can apply acrylic metallic paint directly onto your shoe without priming first, you may need to experiment with how many coats are necessary before it takes on a solid appearance. You can also use faux leather spray paint for an even application. Make sure that your shoes are completely dry before you seal the paint.

Step Three: Seal Your Shoes

Once your shoes have dried, protect them with a coat of spray varnish or acrylic clear coat. These paints won’t protect your shoes from water damage, so they’re best used as decoration if you want to extend the life of your leather shoes.

However, we recommend using faux leather metallic paint for a shiny finish; one coating is enough to produce a shine that will be sure to last!

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How to Prevent Acrylic Paint from Cracking on Shoes

If you want to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on your shoes, there are a few steps that you can take. First, make sure that the surface of your shoe is clean and dry before applying any acrylic paint.

Next, apply several layers of primer until your leather takes on an even appearance; this will make it much easier for you to tell where you’ve painted and what hasn’t.

Finally, when your paint has dried, give it another quick coat of primer to smooth out any cracks or uneven spots on your shoe. Now that you know all about acrylic paints, think of the ways that you can add a pop of color to any new shoes in your closet!

Can You Paint on Leather Jackets with Acrylics?

Thanks to the rise in popularity of faux leather, it’s easier than ever to find clothing that you can repaint with your designs. The only problem is that many types of synthetic leather are easily scratched, which means that you will have to be gentle when prepping your surface for paint.

How to paint Leather Jackets with Acrylics

When it comes to painting faux leather, there are a few steps that you can follow.

First, prepare your surface by wiping the surface of any dust or debris. If your faux leather is especially dusty, consider using a damp cloth ahead of time to help get rid of any excess crumbs.

The next step is applying a thin coat of primer to the surface of your faux leather. You can choose from dark or light primer depending on what look you’re going for; sometimes choosing a lighter shade of faux leather paint will make your finished product stand out more.

Make sure that you give your coat of primer plenty of time to dry before applying the next layer. If it’s too wet, it could damage the faux material.

While you can apply acrylic metallic paint directly onto your shoe without priming first, you may need to experiment with how many coats are necessary before it takes on a solid appearance.

How Long Does It Take for Acrylic Paint to Dry on Leather?

After you’ve applied the base coats of your acrylic paint, it will take at least 24 hours before each layer is dry. This means that you should allow the whole project to dry for a full day before wearing your shoes; if it’s too wet, they could damage easily.

The Best Paint for Leather

While there are many different types of paint for leather, it’s best to use acrylic metallic paints; they’re water-resistant and produce the most consistent color tone. For best results, coat your shoes in paint that is one or two shades darker than your desired finished product. 

We will recommend the below Paints for Leather:

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints generally work well on leather because they’re water-resistant. However, you should always test this by putting a drop of water onto an inconspicuous spot and allowing it to sit for a minute or two. If the leather absorbs your water drop, it’s not suitable for painting!

Angelus Leather Paint

Angelus leather paint is one of the best types for painting on faux leather. The paints come in a variety of bright and neutral colors, and they’re available in both matte and metallic finishes.

Golden High Flow Acrylics

Golden High Flow Acrylics are a good choice if you’re looking for paints that come in a wide variety of colors. However, they tend to be more expensive than other brands on the market.

Best Sealing Finishers for leathers

Angelus Acrylic Leather Finisher

It is the latest Angelus Leather Acrylic Paint Finisher for shoes or leather accessories. This ultra-matte, water-based acrylic will help you protect your paint and create lasting designs on your leathers. It can be applied with a brush, sponge, or even sprayed onto your item.

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Leather Max

Leather Max is a water-based acrylic paint made of 100% pure pigment. This means that it does not contain any additives, waxes, or oils. Because there are no chemical solvents, you can use this on almost any surface without worrying about damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Fabric Medium On Leather?

If you are trying to paint on something that is leather/faux leather, then you should use paints that are made specifically for faux leather rather than regular fabric medium. The reason that a normal fabric medium will not work is that it contains wax, which can damage your shoes.

Is Leather Without Suede Different To Paint Than Suede?

Leather is defined as “a tanned animal skin” and suede is “a soft napped leather with a fleshy side”. Because of this, your regular faux leather can be painted just like regular leather – but you should choose acrylic paints over oil-based paint for best results.

Can I Use Mod Podge To Seal Acrylic Paint On Leather?

Mod Podge is a decoupage medium, so it isn’t made for adhering to surfaces. If you are looking to sell your shoes with Mod Podge, you should use paint or lacquer thinner.

Why Would You Use Acrylic Paint Over Water-Based Satin Varnish?

As shown in the previous section, acrylic paints last longer on leather than water-based satin varnish does. Additionally, most products that have been painted with acrylic will not show scuffs as easily as those painted with satin varnish.

Can You Seal Acrylic Paint To Leather With Hairspray?

Although hairspray is a quick and easy way to protect your leather, you should not use it as a permanent fix. The reason for this is that the waterproof coating on hairspray will eventually wear down with time and water.

Why Would You Use Faux Leather Paint Instead Of Oil Paints?

There are several reasons why using acrylic paints that are made for faux leather is better than using oil paint:

  1. Faux leather looks more matte, which makes the colors less bright
  2. Acrylic paints cover colors better, resulting in fewer coats needed
  3. You don’t need to clean your brushes between each color if they are all acrylics.

What Do You Do When Oil Paint Has Been Applied To Leather?

The best way for removing oil paint from leather is to use paint thinned with mineral spirits. However, if the leather has already been painted multiple times over with oil paints, then your best bet is probably going to be covering it up with acrylic paints.


Leather Jackets are among the fashion accessories that almost everyone likes. These jackets were initially made from animal skin and then became one of the most popular items in a fashion store where you can buy them even if they are not from an original brand.

But it is also possible to make your Leather Jacket by repainting it with Acrylic paint. And if you own a faux leather jacket, it’s also possible to repaint them with Acrylic paint like the real one!

This article will help you understand how to make your Leather Jacket by repainting it with Acrylic paint.

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