Cracks often appear on leather items that have dried or been exposed to direct sunlight. The fibers in the skin touch each other. Even if the damage is permanent, cracks in the skin are easily hidden by applying moisturizer to the surface. Deep cracks need to be filled or repaired with paint of the same color as the skin. With proper care, you can restore the condition of your precious skin material.
Method 1 of 3: Re-Moisturizing Leather Material with Conditioner
Step 1. Wipe the leather material with cleaning fluid and a microfiber cloth
Using a store-bought ready-to-use cleanser is the easiest way to repair cracks on the leather's surface. Spray the cleaning liquid onto a piece of cloth, then wipe the stain on the surface of the leather material. Rub the cloth in the direction of the grain of the leather so that the crack does not deepen.
- If you don't have a commercial cleaner, mix soap and clean water in a 1:8 ratio. Use baby soap, liquid dish soap, or hand soap.
- Use a small amount of water to rinse off the soap to be safe. Moisten a microfiber cloth, wring it out, then rub it into the skin in the direction of the fibers.
Step 2. Wait for the leather material to dry before fixing it
Touch the skin to check its condition. Cracks will form when the skin is dry. So, the material will usually feel dry within 5 to 10 minutes. To speed up the drying process, wipe the leather with a microfiber cloth.
Make sure the surface of the material is dry to the touch so that soap or cleaning liquid doesn't get in the way of the conditioner
Step 3. Apply a strong leather moisturizer to the cracked area
Choose a bottled conditioner designed to repair and moisturize the skin. Apply a small amount of conditioner to your finger or to a soft applicator, such as a sponge or washcloth. After that, rub the conditioner directly into the cracked area to clean the fabric pores and get the material ready to be moisturized more deeply.
- Leather conditioners are usually sold in stores that sell these materials, online stores, supermarkets, and some clothing stores.
- The skin can immediately absorb the cleaning fluid. This occurs in materials that have dried over time. Giving moisturizer regularly can keep the skin soft and smooth.
Step 4. Smooth the cracked area with additional conditioner
Apply a fair amount of conditioner to an applicator. This time, rub the applicator into the crack and the area around it. Continue rubbing in the direction of the grain of the skin. The color on the skin will appear more even so that the cracked part is not visible.
If your skin hasn't been moisturized for a long time, try moisturizing the entire surface. Using conditioner will prevent cracks from appearing
Step 5. Leave the skin on for 2 hours until it feels dry to the touch
Check the manufacturer's instructions for recommended drying times. The skin takes a lot of time to absorb the conditioner. Wait for the material to feel dry to the touch before continuing with the repair process.
If you have more time, let the skin dry overnight. Waiting a little longer will allow the conditioner to sink in better to moisturize the skin
Step 6. Apply conditioner again if cracks are still visible
Depending on the type of conditioner, you may need to apply it to your skin several times. Apply more conditioner to the applicator and rub it into the cracked area. Check the skin again the next day after drying it for a long time.
Continue to repair the leather until the cracks are gone or the material stops absorbing the conditioner. If the leather is no longer absorbing the conditioner, but the cracks are still visible, you may want to try using a special patch or dye
Method 2 of 3: Covering Cracks with Leather Putty
Step 1. Remove the stain from the skin with soap or a special cleaning product
Choose a bottled leather cleaner or a mild soap. Baby soap, dish soap, and hand soap can be applied to leather materials. Make sure the soap is not designed to clean rough and oily areas. Drop the cleaning liquid onto a microfiber cloth, then wipe off the stains and dirt that sticks to the skin.
If you use soap, mix the product in clean water. After that, slightly dampen a washcloth with soapy water
Step 2. Wait overnight for the skin to dry completely
The liquid that sticks to the skin can prevent the putty from sticking to the cracked area. To dry the leather faster, wipe it with a clean microfiber cloth. Make sure the leather material looks clean of stains and feels dry to the touch before you try to remove the crack.
- It's fine to wash off any soap residue with water, but use a slightly dampened washcloth. Exposure to too much water can damage the skin in the long run.
- Place your items in a shady place away from direct sunlight. Exposure to high heat and sunlight can damage and fade the color.
Step 3. Smooth the cracks with 600 grit extra fine sandpaper
Apply a little pressure while fixing the leather material. Keep rubbing it until some areas of the skin's surface feel quite smooth to the touch. After that, wipe with a dry microfiber cloth. Make sure the cloth can remove all the dust from the cracks so you can apply the putty.
Using a higher numbered or ultrafine sandpaper is still safe, but avoid using a lower grit number. The product is too rough so it can leave scratches on the surface of the skin
Step 4. Apply putty to the cracked area with a palette knife
Leather putty is a paste-like product that is sold in small tubes. Take the paste with a knife, then apply it to the crack to close it thinly. Apply additional paste until all the cracks are closed.
- The palette knife is flat and blunt so it is suitable for applying the paste. If you don't have one, you can use another blunt object, such as a credit card. Avoid using sharp knives and other objects that can scratch the skin.
- Leather putty can be purchased online or at some supermarkets. This item is usually sold as a kit with sandpaper and an applicator blade.
Step 5. Scrape off the remaining pasta with the edge of a knife
After spreading the putty, there is usually a fair amount of leftover putty coming out of the cracks. Tilt the palette knife, then gently scrape the skin with the edge of the knife. This method will clean the remaining paste earlier. Continue the process until there is no more putty remaining outside the cracked area.
Put excess putty into the crack, transfer it back to its container, or wash the knife with water to remove the caulk
Step 6. Allow the leather to dry for 6 hours until the putty hardens
Leave the putty exposed to the open air to dry faster. To protect leather goods, prevent them from being exposed to the sun or excessive heat.
Heat sources such as heaters and ovens run the risk of drying out the skin and causing more cracks
Step 7. Apply more putty if needed to even out the cracks
The putty will shrink as it dries. So you need to apply a second coat. Spread more putty with a palette knife or other blunt object. Scrape off any remaining putty, then wait for the new coat to dry. Once the leather is repaired, the crack will no longer be visible.
Depending on the depth of the crack, you may need to apply an additional layer of putty. Some types of cracks need to be coated up to 5 times. Repeat this process until the cracked part is completely covered
Method 3 of 3: Covering Cracks with Skin Dye
Step 1. Use putty to patch the cracks in the leather for better staining results
If you don't putty on first, the dye will stick directly to the leather. This is sufficient to seal most of the cracks, but the cracks may still be visible. Putty is colorless so it is more effective at hiding cracks permanently.
For cracks that are too deep or too severe, apply putty first so they don't stand out
Step 2. Scrub the skin with 600 grit sandpaper, then wipe it clean
Smooth out the cracks so they are ready to be stained. Gently press the sandpaper and rub in the direction of the grain of the leather. Make sure the skin feels smooth to the touch. Wipe off dust with a microfiber cloth.
Use a rag to clean any dust that gets into the crack. The remaining dust will prevent the skin from absorbing the color evenly
Step 3. Apply a thin layer of leather dye to the cracked area with a sponge
Leather dye is sold in a variety of colors. So, choose a product that is the same color as your item. After that, pour a small amount of dye onto the sponge or applicator. Scrub the cracked area to spread the dye.
- Leather dye is sold in online stores, art supply stores, and department stores. This product is sometimes sold as a kit with sandpaper and applicator.
- Another way to color cracks in leather is to use spray paint and varnish thinner. Look for spray paint in a color that matches your skin. Spray the paint onto the fabric, then pour the varnish onto the fabric. Rub the cloth into the crack in the skin to color it.
Step 4. Dry the dye for 2 minutes with a hairdryer set to high temperature
Turn on the hairdryer and point it at the stained area. Move the heater back and forth over the cracked area to prevent the skin from drying out. When finished, the dye layer will feel dry to the touch.
If you don't have a dryer, use an alternative heat source, such as a heating gun. Be careful because the tool can burn the skin easily. Move the heating gun constantly so that the heat doesn't collect in one spot
Step 5. Apply several coats of dye to the cracked area as needed
Cracks usually need to be repaired 2 to 5 times before they are completely gone. Spread the dye over the surface of the skin. This time, apply a small amount of dye directly to the cracked area, then rub the area around it to make it appear evenly mixed.
Dry all layers of dye with a hairdryer. Continue to use the leather dye until the cracked part looks the same as the rest of the leather
Step 6. Repair the cracked area with a leather coating product to protect the dye
Spray the coating product onto a clean sponge or applicator. After that, scrub the cracked area and apply an additional coat as needed to cover the dye. The coating agent acts as a conditioner that protects the cracked area from stains and further damage.
Purchase a bottle of leather upholstery liquid online or at your local convenience store
Step 7. Heat the coating liquid with a hairdryer for 2 minutes so that it sticks perfectly
Turn on the blow dryer again to complete the repair process. Position the tool near the skin while pointing it at the area being repaired. Move the blow dryer back and forth so that the skin does not overheat. Once your skin is cool to the touch, check it again to make sure it looks like new.
- To prevent cracking, apply leather conditioner every 3 months. Leather will crack as it dries, but a good conditioner can prevent it from breaking.
- Keep skin away from direct sunlight and heat sources. The heat makes the skin dry, making it easy to crack. If your leather item often cracks, it may be triggered by heat.
- Use leather glue to seal the torn area. Just apply glue, then press the torn part into place. You can fix the tear with caulk or leather dye to make it invisible.
- Use leather dyes or paints to repair synthetic leather.
- If your leather item is expensive or has been badly damaged, take it to a professional. A professional can make a better repair or re-coating to extend its life.