Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from custom shoe designers.
WHY DOES LEATHER NEED TO BE PREPARED?
Leather articles should be deglazed and prepared before paint can be added. The process removes the factory paint/finish, leaving a clean surface that paints and dyes will best adhere to.
HOW DO I PREPARE LEATHER?
Using one of our Deglazers or Preparers is the safest way to prepare leather. Product can be applied by using a rag, sponge, applicator pads, cotton balls, or Q-tips. Wipe down the desired area and allow the product to completely dry.
HOW DO I PREPARE PATENT LEATHER?
In order to prepare patent leather you will need high grade sandpaper and adhesion promoter. Lightly sand down the patent with the sand paper. After giving it a even sand, you apply two to three even coats of adhesion promoter allowing the shoes to dry between coats.
HOW DO I PREPARE VINYL?
In order to prepare vinyl you will need high grade sandpaper and adhesion promoter. Lightly sand down the vinyl with the sand paper. After giving it an even sand, you apply two to three even coats of adhesion promoter allowing the vinyl to dry between coats.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOAMPOSITES?
In order to prepare foams you will need high grade sandpaper and adhesion promoter. Lightly sand down the foams with the sand paper. After giving them an even sand, you apply two to three even coats of adhesion promoter allowing the foams to dry between coats.
HOW DO I PREPARE SUEDE/NUBUCK?
When working on suede or nubuck, leather preparer is not needed nor recommended. You must make sure the material is cleaned thoroughly before any dye is applied. Read more about suede and nubuck shoes here.
WHAT IS ADHESION PROMOTER?
Adhesion Promoter is a product (usually aerosol) that is used to allow paint to adhere to non-leather surfaces such as rubber, plastics and more.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEATHER PREPARER AND ACETONE? WHICH SHOULD I USE?
Although Leather Preparer and Acetone can both be used for the same purpose, Acetone has much stronger chemicals which can harm or burn leather due. Leather Preparer is a safer alternative which will not harm leather when applying.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO APPLY THE PAINT?
The essential way to apply the paint is by preparing the surface first then applying two to three light coats then applying two thick coats. Make sure that the surface fully dries between each coat.
HOW DO I PREVENT BRUSH STROKES?
To prevent brush strokes make sure to use a clean quality paintbrush and apply long light coats spreading the applied paint thoroughly along the shoe evenly.
HOW DO I PREVENT THE PAINT FROM CRACKING?
To prevent cracking you must prepare the surface properly. Preparation is key in achieving quality results.
HOW CAN I PROTECT THE PAINT FROM SCUFFS/SCRATCHES?
To protect from scuffs and scratches be sure to apply finisher to your work when done. Even light coats are preferred.
WHY IS MY PAINT TACKY?
Paint can be tacky if you apply on a surface that isn’t prepped correctly or on fake leather.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEATHER & SUEDE DYES?
Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, commonly used for jackets, shoes, shirts, purses, furniture and other items. The term comes from the French "gants de Suède", which literally means "gloves from Sweden".
Suede is made from the underside of the animal skin, which is softer and more pliable than, though not as durable as, the outer skin layer. Therefore suede dye requires a different chemical composition to maintain the napped finish texture.
This material can be dyed to restore an existing color or to create a new one with a simple and easy dyeing process that should take no more than a few hours to complete. Keep in mind that it will be easier and yield a better result to apply a similar or darker color to the existing one. You should also always read the manufacturer’s instructions on all of your solutions to make sure you know how to apply them before you begin.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I USED LEATHER DYE ON SUEDE? VICE VERSA?
Leather Dye on suede will cause it to get stiff. If you do Suede Dye on Leather dye it may not be strong enough or full of enough pigment for you.
CAN I MIX THE DYES TO MAKE NEW COLORS?
Yes you can mix dyes to make other colors but that can have adverse results. A normal color mixing like with paint can be very strange with dyes.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO APPLY DYES?
This is a matter of preference but we like with a paint brush or airbrush. The paintbrush will be ruined after application though.
HOW CAN I PREVENT THE DYE FROM BLEEDING?
To prevent the dye from bleeding you can brush it after it has dried and then use any of our Water & Stain Repellents on top to seal it in. Some people even mix acrylic finisher with water and airbrush it over to finalize it.