DIY: How to paint your designer bag

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DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1

So, back in 2011 I spent a decent amount of cash on a Proenza Schouler PS1 keepall in the beautiful shade Midnight Blue. I remember the whole experience like it was yesterday. From contemplating what model I should buy to clutching the Harvey Nichols bag while riding the tube on the way home (I lived in London at the time). I must say I was quite disappointed when my dream bag started fading only a couple of months after my purchase. The beautiful blue hue slowly but surely turned into an unappealing, uneven grey.

When I went back to the store about 18 months after I bought the PS1 (I no longer lived in London by then), they told me this was normal and there was not a lot they could do due to the fact I’d had the bag for “such a long time”. I don’t know about you, but the reasons I pay a premium for a designer bag is the fact that it a) will last a long time and b) I will get good service when something needs fixing. Neither of those things were part of the package here, so I was not happy.

Fast forward to 2015, when my beloved bag was gathering more dust than any other item in my closet. My PS1 looked shabby and used, even though I hadn’t used it anywhere near as much as I’d liked. So I felt I had little to lose and started thinking about having the bag repainted. But, because I’m crazy like that, I wanted to try it myself first, and if it wouldn’t work out, I’d just have it painted black.

The risk paid off, and it turned out to be a whole lot easier than expected.

Lucky me, my risk paid off, and it turned out to be a whole lot easier than expected. Let me take you trough the process.

This is what it looked like in 2011:

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1

And there it is on a walk in New York in 2013:

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1

And here it is on my operation table in 2015, right before I painted it:

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1 - BeforeDIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1 - BeforeDIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1 - Before

Let’s look at that one more time, shall we?

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1 - before

So this is what I used to get my bag back to its old self:

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1 - supplies

-Dylon Lady Esquire shoe colouring in Navy (two packs for a medium sized bag) and the gloves and tiny brush that are included. I got mine at Schleiper in Antwerp, here it is online.

-Leather cleaner

-Plastic & newspapers to cover your table

-Old clothes

-Acetone to clean hardware

-Paper towels, Q tips and cotton balls (to clean up spills and use the leather cleaner)

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1
DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1

Here are my tips:

-Make sure your table is covered in plastic. The dye is pretty strong, you don’t want to stain your furniture.

-Don’t skip the leather cleaning process with a professional product, this way you strip the leather of existing finishing coats.

Test the dye before you use it on your designer bag to make sure it has the color you want. An old pair of shoes will do the trick.

-What I really liked about this particular dye is that it’s not too thick, in fact it’s almost like water, but because of this the dye spreads quickly and evenly. I’ve experimented with leather painting a while back (I’ll show you the results later too) and the dye was much thicker and left streaks. It took me quite a few layers to cover the brown leather with gold paint. Not surprisingly, the blue on blue was easier. I also needed less paint.

-Just start painting anywhere and make sure you let the area dry before you turn it to paint the other side.

-In my case the paint that spilled on my hardware was easy to rub off. Note that I have matte silver hardware, I’d be more careful with something coated.

-Keep in mind the leather of your bag may become a bit more stiff after the dye has been applied.

-I watched this video before I got started and found it very helpful. I recommend you to watch it if you really want a step by step guide.

So here’s the before and after side by side. I couldn’t be happier, it even smells like new! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comment section.

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1

DIY: How to paint your designer bag // Repainting leather Proenza Schouler PS1