Yep, It’s Leather, and I Painted It!

Did you know you can paint and even crackle on leather?  I recommend Debi’s Design Diary DIY Paint.  It’s an all natural Clay Based paint. The Clay base makes it an excellent product to stick to just about ANY surface, especially leather!  I love how it rehabbed this yucky old leather chair.

I had two more of these leather chairs.  These were side chairs.  They had acquired many more layers of dirt over the years, to help disguise the build up of tobacco smoke.  Think there is no help for this situation?  Think TSP and a little boy who will work for pennies.

Travis scrubbed this thing for over an hour.  And there was massive smokey stinkiness coming from the chairs as we reached the deeply imbedded Tobacco part.  You can revive furniture this way.  It takes patience, but TSP will pull so much of the deeply imbedded tobacco out of the furniture.  If it still smells, you can seal it with a good primer, and the smell is gone forever.  Thankfully, we could skip this step.

I wanted to do a layered, crackle “here and there” technique with DIY Paint I have painted fabric with DIY Paint and have had beautiful results.

Next I made up some homemade crackle with the cheapest white glue I could find.  I thinned it a bit, but either it was the cheap glue, or I thinned it too much, or I should have laid the chair down because gravity was not in my favor…..

This is a work of art right?  So there are supposed to be some surprises.  When the glue was almost dry, but still tacky, I added my 2nd coat, which I thinned slightly because I wanted to make sure the crackle and the Rich Brown showed through.  I love the way it added crackle in random places, just as if it had happened naturally.

Now for the final touches.  I wanted some more depth in the color, but didn’t want to add more paint to the leather. This is where DIY Paint’s Crystal Clear Liquid Patina (it is a multi use gel finish) can be your best friend in adding another color, but not really taking away from what you have painted.  DIY Paint’s Liquid Patina comes clear and also tinted in Dark and Gold, you can have so much fun with the different hues of glaze you can come up with.  You can use one of their paints to tint it, or you can add a highly pigmented water based paint or colorant.  I used my favorite, Modern Masters, “Tobacco Brown”.

Once the Patina dried, it provided a nice sealant for my paint, so further coats were not necessary.  I was over the top thrilled with how they turned out.

DIY Paints are not just for wood, plastic, metal, etc.  They really love to be put on old leather, fabric, whatever will stand still long enough for you to paint it!

Got an old icky Leather Chair and you need an easy makeover?  DIY Paint it!  Then you can say, “Yep, it’s Leather and I PAINTED IT!”

PS If you haven’t seen how to SPRAY PAINT a leather chair, then check out THIS post!



  1. Shannon Fox

    Those turned out tres fab! Still love the silver one. Must be the glam part of me? Glad you had a great time and are home safe. Travis was a big help I see. Tell him “great job!!” from me 🙂

  2. Angelica

    I love the transformation the chair
    saludos from Chile

  3. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    I keep hearing about painting fabric (or leather) and have yet to try it! One of these days I’ll do it. 🙂

  4. Judy Ainger

    Hello there…your chairs look amazing! I’m sure the second one will sell soon! I am a quest painter at Furniture Affair in Phoenix, AZ a couple of time a month using CeCe’s paint. One of the owners, Jenifer, told me about your site and I’m so happy to be your newest follower (everywhere). 🙂 I’ll be back later this week to link up to your party with my latest chalk paint creation! Would love to have you stop by for a visit! Blessings ~ Judy

  5. Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    First of all, I need a small red headed boy who will do my dirty work! Do you rent him out by the hour?

    Secondly, those are some fabulous chairs! That little old chain smoking lady would be proud (as she hacked all over your freshly painted chair)!

  6. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    A cute boy that will work for pennies, can you send him to the east coast for a while? Gosh those chairs are cool! They look like something from Restoration Hardware that would cost a small fortune! … Hope you had an awesome vacation!

  7. Shelly Andrade

    These are totally cool Karen ~ I’ve gotta get my hands on some of this glaze!

  8. Jeannie

    Love what you did with the chairs, and really love the silver. Great job!

  9. Rita O'Dwyer

    Is your homemade crackle like what you buy in the store? Do you use heat to make it crackle or just paint over it? How do you make crackle paint?

    Rita at

  10. Teri

    Who is selling the CeCe Caldwell glaze? I am not finding it.

  11. Suffering Husband

    And by the way, the Red Head is available. Dont worry about any child labor law
    issues. We got your back.

  12. Kathryn Griffin

    Wow! That is amazing! Thank you for sharing this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at the Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  13. Pamela

    Too cool Karen! Love your helper! Thanx for partying at my place.

  14. The Other Me

    those are great chairs. I painted the fabric on a chair a while back, but this painting on leather was really daring. The do looks so good though.

  15. Mandy

    Hi Karen! Featuring your chair tonight at the highlight party! Thanks so much for sharing them at Project Queen.

  16. Holly Lefevre

    WOW! Gorgeous woman! You are a master of paint!

  17. viagea

    I’m not sure why but this web site is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still

  18. Yepi 20

    Excellent blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?

    There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any tips? Thank you!

  19. Lori

    I am seriously considering doing this with some cece paint or spray paint. I was wondering if you have noticed either of these making the fabrics feels stiff or hard? The chairs I am painting or either vinyl or a cheap leather.

    • GTC

      Hi Lori, the only surface NOT recommended for CeCe Caldwell’s paints is vinyl. It has a mind of its own. You could try spray paint, but make sure you spray each coat very lightly and let dry thoroughly. I did this once, and it turned out pretty well, no crunch.

      The leather I painted with CeCe Caldwell’s paints came out soft and giving. No crunch, it didn’t change the overall give of the leather. The paint will literally bond and become one with whatever you have painted after about 3 0 days. Good luck with your projects!

      • Lori

        Thanks so much!

  20. ColleenB. ~ Texas

    love the style of the chair.
    Amazing the difference what alittle transformation makes.
    Also like what you had done spray painting your other chair silver. Never thought you could spray paint leather.
    Now, when you’re done with your projects you can come and do something with my old dark brown hexagon end tables that I have had for years. Hubby always liked them because of the storage area inside. Someday, maybe they will get a new face lift but haven’t decided on what color to paint them.
    Enjoy your weekend

  21. Bliss

    This is crazy! And that chair is eerily similar to my dining room chairs.

  22. Emily Goldfrank

    Love these chairs! I’m going to try this with a couple of my own. What kind of glue do you use for the crackle?

    • GTC

      Hi Emily, I like Elmer’s Glue. I have tried just no name glue, and Elmer’s basic white glue is the best.



  1. Accent Blog - Water Chestnut Crackle Layered [...] d acquired many more layers of dirt over the years, to help disguise the build…
  2. Best CeCe Caldwells Projects at Redouxinteriors - Redoux Interiors - […] CeCe Caldwell’s goes great over Leather. I had some old leather chairs that were stained and ugly.  Check out…
  3. How To Paint a Vinyl Chair With CeCe Caldwell’s Paints - Redoux Interiors - […] knew I could paint Leather with CeCe Caldwell’s paints, even crackle with it, these chairs have held up […]
  4. How to Paint Fabric or Vinyl using CeCe Caldwell’s Paints - Redoux Interiors - […] will vary when painting fabric, Vinyl or Leather, but my experience so far (and I will try the paint…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DIY Paint Sold Here!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This