Customer Reviews: LeatherNu Complete Leather Color Restoration & Repair Kit
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on April 16, 2012
I got this leather repair kit to attempt to repair one of the armrests in my car which had significant wear after 10+ years of "arm resting" on it! The wear consisted of cracks and rips in the leather, several large ones in the front and many-many tiny ones extending to nearly the middle of its length. So significant was the wear that I actually got a new armrest, but I thought I should give it a try. I had absolutely no previous experience in leather repairing, by the way.

I will start by briefly mentioning the instructions: you first apply a repair compound to fill in the gaps/holes in the leather (dries clear), then you paint, and finally you use a sealer compound (clear) to protect the paint if the area is under heavy use (the armrest apparently is; this last step may not be needed for other applications). Pretty simple eh? Read on!

Let me just say that I tried the repair twice. The first time I got a disaster! I think another reviewer mentioned it, taping the texture paper overnight after you apply the repair compound (per instructions) results in a sticky situation! The paper is not easy to remove afterwards, and if you apply a wet towel on top of it for 10 minutes to help in removal (per instructions), you still cannot take it all out perfectly, plus the moisture transfers onto the repair compound and weakens it. Rubbing to remove residuals of the paper (per instructions) makes it even worse as you will likely take out some repair compound with it. Not good! I ended up scrubbing (not just rubbing!) the whole thing with water to remove everything and start over. But make a note, this way you will make the original damage a bit worse, as this removes some leather with it.

The second time I applied the leather compound and used the spatula and my fingers to apply and make it nearly flush with the original surface. Took me 3-4 passes, once every hour or so. I ended up with a smooth surface, without any leather texture (I attached two photos at this stage - the top ones).

The paint was a pain to match, took me 2 days of mixing or so! At least I had the time available while playing with the repair compound :) But you get lots of colors and some basic mixing instructions to get the color you want. You just need patience... lots of it!

I then painted the repair, all the way from the front to midway. The paint is kind of thick, and dries out fast. I used the foam applicator to blot and feather away the paint (per instructions). Which is nice in theory, but in reality you end up getting some foam residuals of your project. I ended up using the foam applicator as if I was lightly sanding the project to remove everything (almost) as the paint was still drying. I forgot to mention you also get some brush bristles while painting, which can be removed with the foam applicator, in expense for more foamy residuals! The end result looked just okay, and without any leather texture. It then struck me, to use the texture paper on the paint itself. So I did. I applied another coat and instead of blotting/feathering or whatever, I just took a texture paper and pressed it on the wet paint, took it off after 5-10 seconds, and let the paint dry. The thickness of the paint is enough to preserve the texture and the fast drying helps. The result was a million times better than before (I attached two photos at this stage - the bottom ones).

Then I applied a thin coat of sealer with the foam applicator. The end result is very useable, although looking up close and under certain light conditions, you can certainly tell it is a repair and that the texture is not as deep as the original leather. But from 2-3 feet away, it looks very decent. In the car, where the lighting conditions are usually low and uneven, and there are shadows, etc., it looks nearly perfect.

Overall, I believe this kit is a decent choice. It is a shame they do not provide you with more texture papers (more of the same kind I mean - you get 3 different textures but only 1 sheet 2-by-2 for each), especially since these are so easy to deteriorate (and if you end up using water to remove them, you can forget about them). To be honest though, I guess on a smaller repair, doing it per instructions might be fine. My repair covered nearly all of the 2-by-2 surface of the paper (and as a result, more of the paper stuck on my project). But anyway, it is just textured paper, so they could have included more of it, in my opinion. The amount of the other materials you are getting is sure to outlast the amount of paper. For instance, after applying the leather repair compound on all this surface twice, I still have more than half of it left.

My feelings are kind of mixed however. For a small repair, you might be better off having it repaired professionally (how much more would it cost?) and save yourself the time! For larger repairs, the cost-effectiveness is much better, although you cannot make it "like new". I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.
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on March 3, 2014
I uploaded a picture, of my improved Tan Leather Seat back. This worked great to repair a cracked and torn seat back, upper corner, next to a seam, on my Honda Accord leather seats. Here are some tips & tricks. The materials are there, but you must supply a lot of patience and a lot of skill. The instructions are ok as a baseline, but far from good. Another review listed longer more detailed instructions which helped me a lot. I'd add the following. For my cracked seats: First clean the area, then I sanded it with 80 grit, then 400 grit, sand paper. This took off the high spots on the seat. Clean the area again to remove dust. Then use 3-4 layers of the supplied filler material (~glue consistency). Then use a hair dryer to speed up the drying time between coats of the filler material. In fact I used a hair dryer to dry the filler coats, and the paint coats. It really speeds up the whole process. For the paint one reviewer had a brilliant idea to help mix colors. Take one bottle of a color you know you won't use, in my case Green, and rinse it out. I can then use that as a mixing bottle and it preserves the paint from drying out. Here is a new tip for mixing color: I have tan/beige leather seats. To mix the right shade, outside of the car on a bench I filled my empty paint bottle 1/3 with white, then added drops of brown and mixed it with a long carpentry nail. I placed the headrest on the bench and held the nail next to the headrest to match the color. Slowly I added more drops of brown to shade the white to the right tone of tan. The provided instructions are good about telling you how to mix colors, and what base colors to use. I added brown, and a few drops of red to made the right tone of tan. I then applied the paint in a few coats, and dried the paint with a hair dryer to speed the drying. The paint dries a little darker then the wet color. I was happy I used a hair drier to speed the process, and I was able to quickly match the paint after about 4 coats. Each time I added more brown to slowly tint the white darker to match the existing leather seat. The final color match is perfect. Perfect. I used my own small brushes to feather out the color beyond the patched area, and the patched color is invisible. I didn't use the textured paper until the end. As a final coat, now with the perfect paint color, I put on a thin coat of paint and used the texture paper to add some texture to the paint surface. This adds some texture and kind of makes it look like leather again. The repair is not perfect, but it's significantly better than it was. From 6" you can see where the repair was, but from 1' or more, and if I didn't tell you; the repair disappears into the upholstery of the car. Best of luck!
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on November 5, 2012
What a FANTASTIC product!!!! I used LeatherNu to re-dye the leather on a large chair and ottoman. The application process was simple and the end result was great. Because of the size of the area that needed restoration, I ran out of black,red and brown dye.I contacted the company to ask where I could purchase additional dye without purchasing a whole kit. Not only did I receive a response that same day, the company provided the products I ran out of at no charge and within two days of my request had shipped the products to my home. That's customer service!
Thank you!
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on May 12, 2012
This is a great product, and worked well on the damage my cats did to a leather chair. They put hundreds of small claw scratches right thru the leather. The company's great, and sent me extra grain paper and dye at no charge so I could complete my repairs. It's best to practice first to get the right color match, and if the grain paper dries to the repair it can be easily soaked off with water without messing up the repair. I even mixed some dye into the repair compound, and used it to make some repairs once I found the right color match.
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on April 15, 2011
My chocolate-brown leather couch had two areas where the color had worn off completely. I was seriously considering investing in a new couch when I saw this Leather Nu product online. I figured I'd give it a try before giving up on the couch and I'm very glad I did. By mixing brown and black dyes together with the supplied dropper and spatula, and then applying it to the worn areas of the couch with the supplied brush, it honestly looks like new again. It took a little experimenting to get the shade just right, but once I did, I painted it on and waited for it to dry. When it did, I could hardly tell where I had recolored. I haven't used the kit for leather repairs, but for recoloring, it's great.
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on June 11, 2012
I had a slight tear in the leather upholstery in my Lincoln Towncar. Other products had pre-mixed colors supposedly to match my color. None of the color swatches came close. I ended up choosing LeatherNu because you could mix your own color to match.

As the review title says, you get too much of some things and not enough of others in the package. I believe others have said and it is true you only get one 2" x 2" backing material fabric. It worked okay for what I needed but if you have a lot of tears to fix you won't have enough of this. They probably could have included more of the repair liquid material too. On the other hand, since you're mixing your own colors you get 7 colors of dye, which most of it you will never use. And you get a big sponge to apply the sealer which is a waste for only about 1 ounce of product. Finally, they give you a sample leather swatch to practice on. Practice what on? Slice a tear in it and try repairing it? Hah, only thing I used this for was to see if the clear sealer you put on last dried dull or shiny. (It dries dull to match the leather.)

The repair part is fairly easy. Cut some backing fabric and apply the repair liquid with the enclosed spatula. It took several applications to fill in everything totally. They include three different kinds of texture cards you're supposed to tape down to the repair overnight to simulate the surrounding grain. This is a total waste of time since the repair liquid sets up in 2-3 minutes and is totally hard within an hour! And you'd have the cardboard card stuck to your repair. I didn't bother with this at all.

The hard part I dreaded was using the dye to match the color to the surrounding leather. Mine is an off-white in the tan family. Their instructions on matching colors are totally basic in nature. Matching the color in this step takes a background in art to pull it off. Luckily I took art classes in college so I knew how to achieve certain colors. One good thing is they include a small eye dropper tool to help mixing the dye. Oh, you're on your own coming up with something to mix the dye in. I cut out a Starbucks coffee cup about an inch from the bottom. Worked well. I started out with two eye droppers full of white. Then I added 1 or two drops of brown at a time. Easy way to see how close you're coming is to apply a tiny amount to the surrounding leather. Too light? Just quickly wipe it off with a paper towel and keep adding color. In the end after starting over a second time I ended up adding to the white 6 drops of brown, 1 drop of black and 3 drops of yellow to get a good color match.

So, I spent about $30 for this kit and only used about 5% of what came with it except for the backing fabric. I guess someday in the future my wife may need this for touching up shoes or a leather handbag. My guess is this will sit and never be used again. I guess to me this was over-priced even though cheaper than other products I looked at. And, my biggest complaint: wherever you've made a repair will not be nice, soft and flexible like the rest of the surrounding leather. The repair area is hard and solid. Luckily where mine was torn it didn't matter.
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on January 22, 2013
I purchased this product to repair some areas on my leather sofas where the color had come off. I was initially less than pleased with the overall result after I carefully followed the directions. The areas repaired had a cloudy look to them and lacked the shine of the original leather. After the die had thoroughly dried I took a wet rag and wiped it all off. What I discovered is the product sticks very well to the areas where the coloring had come off but didn't to the places that didn't need repair. In the end, I can't see the areas that were repaired and am very pleased with the product.

Here are some other tips, I'll throw in:

Mixing colors: I took the green bottle that I knew I would never use and dumped it out and rinsed it clean. I then used this as a mixing bottle as I could easily cap it back up when I was done to save for future touch ups.

Color matching: Don't bother trying to apply your test mixes to an hidden area on your leather. After mixing the colors in the bottle you used in the above tip and shaking it for several seconds, look at the inside of the cap and compare it next to your leather. Your leather isn't a perfectly uniform color so just get as close as you can and it will be fine.

Don't waste your time with the sponge they included: The sponge they include is way to small to use for anything but very tiny areas. Go to a paint or home improvement store and buy one of those sponge paint brushes.

Don't be afraid to try this product on your leather. Like I said earlier, it doesn't stick well to the undamaged and shiny areas of your leather and can be wiped off with a wet rag.
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on July 2, 2012
When there was a very small hole in the leather, I said to myself, "I should repair this before the kids make it bigger." And then before I knew it, the hole got bigger. My project was to patch a hole in our brown bonded leather couch that was nearly 3 inches across.

Overall, I am satisfied with the job that LeatherNu was able to help me do. Here are the details:

1. The filler compound was pretty good, and I'm sure will be plenty durable. It had a very Elmer's Glue type of appearance, and was kind of tough to keep contained in the region needing to patch, due to the curvature of the cushion at that portion. When I say "contained" I mean I was concerned that it would run to one side of my hole and puddle, and having some of the filler spill over the edges would also leave a non-matching lump around the edges. Perhaps I was could have done more thin applications and achieved even better results.

2. The texture paper was big enough to cover my patch, but since I had such a huge hole, I had a hard time getting the texture to imprint across the whole patch. I propped up the couch cushion and balanced a drinking glass (smooth bottom side down) to apply light pressure to the texture paper over-night. When it was dry, I peeled it up and found a few bubbles had been trapped, so the surface wasn't perfectly smooth. Another application over the top helped a little.

3. So my hole was big, right? Well, some of the filler did spill over the edges covering the original leather with a layer of the patch. I used a razor blade to "shave" the excess so the patch would smoothly abut the original leather. I was very careful not to damage the leather, and worked carefully since the patch material dries pretty stretchy.

4. Paint mixing was pretty fun. I used brown, black, red and yellow to get to my color, and tested it on the back of one of the leather cushions. The match was close enough, and I probably only needed 2 coats to get coverage. Initially I thought the color of wet paint was terrible (glossy, didn't look dark enough), but as it dried, the match became much better. Its up to the artist to interpret how close your color match is. I used the excess mixed paint to touch up the sections of cushion piping around the edges that had been worn through, and now looking at the sofa, it looks pretty fresh!

Overall, the patch looks quite good, and you can only see it if you look for it. Even still, the reason it will stand out is because the texture is slightly different (and it's not as smooth when you run your hand across it, due to the bubbles). It met my expectations, and deserves your trust as a buyer. It's more expensive than the others (which I haven't tried), but there is plenty material left over that should I need to patch another 3" round hole, I have enough filler and paint to do the job. I'll make sure to patch my next hole before the kids pick at it and make it grow, though!
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on March 15, 2015
There is one word to describe this product, as well as the service, -- FANTASTIC!!! My leather chair was full of rips -- to the point where I was going to replace it. Instead I went online and found LeatherNu and decided to try it. When I started the repair, I found that I did not have enough of the repair compound to repair the extensive damage. I emailed the company, and they offered to send me more of the repair compound without charge. They sent me 3 more bottles, and I needed all of them to cover the extensive damage. The chair now looks like new. Actually the sealer, which is the final step, helped the chair look better than new.

I would recommend this kit for any leather repair. I'm uploading some "before" and "after" pics for you.
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on July 18, 2015
I was skeptical and the price made me hold off but decided to try the Leather Nu. I am pretty happy with the results. I think it could been even better if I spent a little more time with the color matching. But this stuff saved me having to get a new sofa so its worth it. It was a not difficult to use. The repair material is very similar to Elmer's glue in color and consistency and it drys clear, I am including a before, during, and after photo.
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