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. :)


  1. Your bag turned out amazing!! It's like a brand new bag! :D

  2. Beautiful bag! Excellent job! :) Just wanna know if the new dye had bled to clothes, hands or anything?

    1. thank you very much! so far, there has been no colour transfer whatsoever. :)

  3. omgz. i can't believe you dyed a $1000+ hand bag! LOL

    1. haha i was a bit worried... but i hadn't used the bag in over a year so i figured a little "refresh" would be ok! :)

  4. Hello! Is there any smell off the bag now it has been dyed? Thanks!

    1. sorry for the delay in responding! there is no scent. :)

  5. This is amazing! I wonder if this would work with a beige or rosé colored Balenciaga Day bag that I'd like to change to a middle to dark brown.... My main worry is the fabric around the zippers. I saw a dyed Balenciaga on another Blog and the fabric looked purple while the bag was black.

    1. hmmm, i'm not sure how the fabric around the zipper would turn out... if it doesn't end up looking the way you like, you could always try to re-dye it with fabric dye?

  6. Hello, I came across your post as I was searching how to dye a balenciaga. Coincidentally, the bag I'm hoping to dye is also a granny apple pom pon :) except I plan to dye mine in navy blue.

    Can I ask how your bag has held up after 6 months? Any concerns or issues with the leather's texture/appearance? Did you or have moisturized it?

    Sorry for all the questions- just really nervous.

    1. no problem - i understand the nerves as i was apprehensive too!! my bag has held up really well. i took it on vacation with me for 2 weeks and totally overstuffed it with no issues. i wore it crossbody and the dye did not rub off on any of my clothing. the only issues has been the handles - the dye rubs off a little bit when i use the bag with freshly lotioned hands (or if it's humid and my hands get sweaty lol). the texture is still "normal" and i do not do anything to moisturize/condition the leather. i just store it in its dustbag. i hope this helps and feel free to ask any other questions.

  7. Hi there,
    I know this is an old post but I'm hoping you might still check it. :) I'm considering buying an Alexander Wang bag (from a friend at a really really good price) in order to dye it black. I'm wondering how the bag has held up after 18 months now. Have you noticed the dye cracking, flaking or rubbing off now that it has been a bit longer? Is the black still as jet black, or has it faded at all?

    Thanks so much!

    1. sorry for the delay in responding! i just posted a video, which contains a short update at 1:55 if you want to see the bag "in action" - i don't use it that often but i still love it and it is holding up great. there is no cracking, flaking, or rubbing off, and the colour has not faded at all. here is the link to the video with the update in case you are interested:


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