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The Secret to How to Paint a Leather Jacket

by Shahmeen Karar 09 Nov 2023

When starting a new painting project, there's something special about working with leather. Whether it's a jacket, a belt, or even shoes, the options are pretty extensive. But learning how to paint a leather jacket might seem intimidating at first, especially if it's a valuable piece. 

However, using acrylic paints on leather is quite similar to painting on any other surface, as long as you do a few important things beforehand.

Fast forward to today, and every beginner in the world of calligraphy is jumping on the hand lettering bandwagon, particularly on leather surfaces. 

As a result, custom leather jackets are now all the rage, and everyone wants one. However, there's a catch. How do you make sure how to paint leather that doesn't end up looking like a painfully crooked, poorly-lettered Pinterest disaster?

Preparing Your Canvas - How To Paint a Leather Jacket

To start, place your leather jacket on a drawing board that's big enough to accommodate it. The jacket should hang naturally on the board, making sure the entire back panel lays flat across one side and the shoulders stretch along the top. 

Zip or button the jacket up in your room, and secure the sleeves down the neck of the closed jacket to keep them out of the way while painting. The collar should be placed on the other side of the board.

Different leather jackets have different finishes based on the kind of hide they're made from. For instance, biker jackets usually use tough, almost plastic-like leather, while MEN LEATHER COATS made of lambskin are smooth, soft, and more easily damaged compared to cowhide.

Prepping the leather jacket depends on the type of finish it has. Lambskin leather absorbs paint better than cowhide and usually works well with acrylic paint. Some jackets might need softening with water. It's important to keep the leather supple to prevent the paint from cracking once it dries.

For MEN BIKER LEATHER JACKET or any leather jacket you want to paint, it's essential to consider the type of leather and its texture before starting the painting process. This helps in preparing the jacket adequately and ensuring the paint adheres properly without causing damage to the leather.

Clean The Leather Coat

Step 1. Clean the leather: Before painting, make sure to clean the rear panel and any areas you plan to paint. Use water to clean the leather. Avoid using oil-based solutions as they might react with the acrylic paint or bleach the leather.

Step 2. Avoid roughening the leather: Don't sand or roughen the leather surface before painting. Although it might help the paint stick better, it can potentially ruin the leather. Acrylic paint can be applied directly onto a flat leather surface, and it's flexible and resilient, so there's no need to roughen it. Flat leather is easier to paint on than roughened leather.

A Quick Recap

  • Clean the jacket with water, avoiding oil-based solutions.
  • Don't sand or roughen the leather before painting.
  • Apply acrylic paint directly onto the flat leather surface.

This way, you can paint your AVIATOR LEATHER JACKET MEN or any other piece for that matter, without damaging it and create your unique, customized design.

Tools for Painting a Leather Jacket

Tools Needed

  • Leather Paint: Get specific leather paint such as Angelus Flat White or Flat Black.
  • Round Paint Brush: Any small round brush works well, like a Winsor and Newton 00 round.
  • Ruler: Helps measure and center your design.
  • Stabilo Aquarellable and Sharpener: This is a water-soluble pencil that creates guidelines on leather. Test it first on an inconspicuous part inside the jacket to ensure it doesn't leave marks. A chalk pencil might be a better option for materials like denim.
  • Damp Paper Towels: Use these to clean off the Stabilo Aquarellable, but make sure to test it on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it's removable.
  • Throw Pillow: Use a throw pillow from your sofa to stuff the jacket. This helps when painting as it mimics the 3D shape of the body, especially with darts, sleeves, and zippers.

“Tip: Looking for the perfect canvas for your next masterpiece? Visit Taylor Jon for a variety of the most stunning and high-quality LEATHER VEST MEN and women.


  • Prepare Your Jacket
  • Lay the MEN LEATHER BOMBER JACKET or any other piece flat.
  • Use the throw pillow to stuff it, giving it a 3D shape similar to a body. This makes painting easier.
  • Choose Your Design
  • Measure and plan where you want to paint on the jacket.
  • Use the ruler to center and mark your design.
  • Use Leather Paint
  • Apply the leather paint directly onto the clean leather surface. Use a small round brush for accuracy.
  • Start painting your chosen design or pattern. Angelus Flat White or Flat Black are good options for this.

Cleaning and Corrections

Damp paper towels can help clean off any guidelines or mistakes made with the Stabilo pencil. Again, test this method on an inconspicuous area before using it widely.

Finishing Touches

  • Let the paint dry completely.
  • Once dried, your painted leather jacket will be ready to wear.

How to paint leather shoes? Remember, when painting leather shoes, the same tools and principles apply. Ensure to prepare the shoes accordingly, clean them, and use the leather paint to create your desired design or pattern.

With these steps, can you paint leather? The answer is a resounding YES! Successfully paint your men's Aviator leather bomber jacket and leather shoes, adding your personal touch to your fashion style!

How to Paint a Leather Jacket - The Process

1. Conceptualize, Visualize and Idealize 

Begin by conceptualizing an original design. Avoid replicating someone else's work as it's crucial to maintain authenticity. Develop a digital draft to present to the client, focusing on scale and placement. 

This step allows the client to visualize the design before any permanent alterations are made to the expensive leather jacket. If possible, it's beneficial to create a physical draft on scrap paper or, ideally, on a similar jacket worn by a model, ensuring accuracy in the design's positioning and size.

2. Client Approval and Revisions

For client-based projects, it's essential to allow time for the client's approval or any requested modifications. Generally, one round of revisions is included in the pricing, with additional design time billed on an hourly basis. 

It's important to clarify to clients that the final painted design might vary slightly from the initial draft to accommodate the unique nature of the leather and the painting process.

3. Marking Guidelines and Preparation

Once the design is approved, marking guidelines become crucial. Test different tools such as Aquarellable pencils, chalk, or regular pencils on inconspicuous areas of the jacket to ensure they don’t leave permanent marks. 

Lightly dampen the leather surface and the pencil tip before marking the design. Using a ruler aids in accurate measurements and markings on the leather.

4. Painting Process

To facilitate the painting process, it's advisable to zip up the jacket and place a soft throw pillow inside to create a smooth and steady surface for painting. Follow the marked guidelines and paint the design using leather paint without dilution. 

Regularly clean the brush on a damp paper towel to prevent paint build-up. Apply a thin coat and allow it to fully dry before applying two additional coats. The layering of three coats ensures an opaque and polished finish on the leather.

5. Take Some Cool Photos

To document the final piece, it's preferable not to wear the client's jacket for photos. This approach aims to preserve the sentimental value of the garment. Instead, take photographs of the painted jacket hanging or laid flat. 

These photographs serve as a visual record of the completed design and allow the client to be the first to showcase and enjoy the unique piece during special moments like weddings, birthdays, or engagements.

On That Note….

When you're learning How to Paint a Leather Jacket, the technique of using acrylic paints isn't too different from painting on a regular canvas. However, one key difference is that leather jackets often come in darker colors, unlike the typical white canvas. To work around this, you can start by applying a base coat of white acrylic paint before creating your design. For simpler designs like band names, using stencils on leather stretched across a drawing board can be quite effective.

When you paint on a MEN SHEARLING LEATHER JACKET using acrylics, you don't need to varnish the finished painting. Unlike some varnishes, acrylic paint itself is very flexible, and it's durable enough to endure regular wear and tear without needing an additional protective layer.

So, when it comes to painting on leather, remember that starting with a white base coat helps make your design pop, and once your painting is done, you won't need to varnish it. Acrylic paints on leather hold up well without the need for extra coating.

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