Friday, February 21, 2014

How to Dye a Leather Bag featuring Balenciaga Pompon

Last weekend, I dyed my beloved Balenciaga Pompon (2009 Agneau Leather). The original colour was Granny (a beautiful yellowish green - just like a granny smith apple), and while I loved the colour when I bought it, I used the bag a lot and it became quite stained. Around a year ago, I got the idea in my head that perhaps I should dye it black. I did a ton of research and went through a lengthy pros & cons process before making my decision.

  • Black bags get more use in my wardrobe and I wear them in all 4 seasons. Granny is more of a seasonal colour and I found I only wore mine in the spring/summer or on vacation.
  • I've been contemplating purchasing a Pompon in Black or Anthracite because I love the style. Dyeing the bag would satisfy my urge to make a purchase, even if only temporarily.
  • I didn't want to pay big $ to restore the colour and then sell the bag. Not only because it is a significant time and financial investment, but also because this Pompon was my very first Balenciaga and I did not want to sell it.
  • It is risky to change the colour of a Balenciaga. The bags are expensive and I wasn't sure how the colour would hold up.
Since this can be quite a scary decision, I definitely recommend doing some research before embarking on a similar dye DIY. Below are links to a couple of resources I found very helpful when deciding whether to dye my bag:
When I was 99% sure I wanted to dye the bag, I ordered the dye kits on ebay and continued to think about it while I waited for my package to arrive. Finally, on Family Day weekend, I decided to take the plunge!

The entire process took me 3 days with drying time and actual work time was probably around 6 hours (around 2 hours per day).

Here is what you need:
  • A large workspace - a tiled floor works well
  • Bedsheets, garbage bags, paper, or puppy pee pads to cover the workspace
  • One Tarrago Color Dye Self-Shine Kit (contains instructions, 25ml preparer, 25ml dye, small sponge, and small brush)
  • One Fiebing's Leather Dye Kit (contains 118ml dye and cotton dauber) - this is a penetrating dye but it doesn't say that anywhere on the packaging
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Mildly abrasive scrubber sponge
  • Small foam brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs or a small concealer/makeup brush you no longer use
  • Old washcloth
The basic steps are outlined below:

Step 1 - Prep the leather by using the "Preparer" included in the Tarrago kit. Work the product into the leather by buffing it in with a mildly abrasive sponge.

Step 2 - Apply a thin coat of the Fiebing's Penetrating Leather Dye right after preparing the leather (do not wait for the leather to dry). Use a small foam brush to apply the dye to large areas and the dauber to apply the dye to nooks & crannies. When the bag is somewhat dry to the touch, apply a second coat. Let dry for 24 hours.

Optional - Once your bag is dry to the touch, weigh your bag down with books and hang it up to stretch out the leather.

Step 3 - Apply a thin layer of the Self-Shine Dye included in the Tarrago kit. Work the product into the leather with a sponge in a circular motion. Use a small foam brush to apply the dye to large areas and the small brush included in the Tarrago kit for the nooks & crannies. Wait a few hours and apply a second coat. Touch up the bag with the small brush as needed.

Step 4 - Clean off any hardware with some rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs (or a small concealer brush, which I highly recommend).

That's it! I purchased 2 of each of the dye kits but I only needed 1 of each. I am going to keep the rest in case I have to do touch ups... or perhaps I will dye another bag down the road!

Overall, this was a relatively easy (albeit time consuming) process. I love the way my bag turned out and I am so happy I decided to dye it! The leather is not stiff or sticky or dry and I think it has retained the characteristic Balenciaga smooshiness. I plan to use this bag a lot and I am also planning to take it with me on vacation in March/April. If you have any questions on how the dye job is holding up, please feel free to ask and I will provide an update. :)

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