Repair Leather and Vinyl with Flexible Filler

Repair Leather and Vinyl with Flexible Filler

Time for another tear.
This area of the leather is really badly worn, so it’s a great spot to demonstrate.
I’m going to make this kind of a gnarly one,
and I’m going to cut away a little extra, make it a bigger,
more substantial hole that needs to be fixed.
First step: cut yourself subpatch.
I’ve got my levi patch here and need to
make it bigger than the hole.
I’ll start from this piece actually, just chop off a piece.
This fold can make it more difficult to
work with sometimes, but I’m not worried about it.
Round the edges for easier
Grab some tweezers. Work it in.
This is an easy hole to work with, because it’s so big.
Sometimes, you know, you have to take a lot more time to really work it in to a thinner tear or
a smaller hole. And then come
around, and make sure that it’s seated
completely flat all around the perimeter
before gluing it down.
I’m going to be using 3M’s Plastic
and Emblem Adhesive,
but you could probably would have an
easier time finding LocTite’s Vinyl, Fabric,
and Plastic adhesive at most hardware
That adhesive is runnier, a little more difficult to work with
than the 3M® that I’m using, and what I
in that instance is to you get yourself
a piece of cardboard, or you know,
something to work with, and put a blob on
there for easy working, and grab yourself
a needle or a toothpick.
This is such a big tear, I could even work with a palette knife, and apply the glue around
the perimeter of the leather and tack it
down to this patch.
The key always, remember to use a
flexible glue,
not a rigid glue like super glue.
We need this to be flexible and move
over the substrate independently.
Alright, so I’m pretty happy with that.
Gently press it down, and then if you
want you can even use a hair dryer to
help tack up the glue. Pull it up a little bit.
You can even just blow in there.
It doesn’t take much. And then I get on
it lickety-split with a board or a book and
give it some firm pressure.
You want to let the glue completely dry
and cure before proceeding with your repair.
So I’m going to do that walk away for a
few minutes.
So when you’re glue is dry, you want to clean your surface before doing a repair compound, and if you
didn’t get any excess glue around the
perimeter you can work with just a water-
based cleaner like the Flite® that we
sell or 409®.
If you got a little messy with the glue
or you feel like you need to de-wax
the leather a little bit, you can work with a solvent like denatured alcohol.
I’m actually working with lacquer thinner,
but denatured alcohol is what we recommend.
Just a quick swipe; get off any ArmorAll®, any slime.
Allow it to evaporate. Try not to huff the rag when you’re done.
For a really large tear like this that
requires flexibility you want a repair
compound, not the “Sandpaper Super Glue” method
that we’ve demonstrated in other
videos, which is more rigid and only
suited to more superficial damage like
thin lines or cracks and cat scratch damage.
So we really like ADV Leather’s FC1
Soft Filler,
because it is really strong and flexible, it sands really nicely,
it’s non-toxic, water-based… what else?
It feathers and blends really nicely.
You’ll see that it’s this creamy goo. Throw a blob in there.
Really work it into these edges, the
perimeter of the tear, in case you missed
any spots with your glue. The compound
will sort of act also as an adhesive.
And close this up immediately; it does tend to cure, air cure, very quickly.
You don’t want it to spoil.
And I like to work with a glossy business card for for spreading,
and just do one swipe in the direction of the tear.
You’re not going to get it perfect the
first time.
I’ve got some little craters of the moon up there. That’s okay.
I”m going to feather out these edges just along the perimeter.
You could also sand them out later, but this compound feathers really beautifully.
And allow to air cure. This is going to take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.
It can be accelerated with an
incandescent bulb. You could also use a
hair dryer if you wanted to, but you want
to be sure to hold it so that the air is
blowing across it rather than than
pointing inward, because that will push
any moisture into the repair, and it will
tend to shrink over time, so I go with
the incandescent bulb or good old sunshine.
So when the compound is clear, has become more translucent, and when you sort of press on it, doesn’t feel squishy at all,
it feels solid, that means it’s cured, and you’re ready to proceed with either more layers or dyeing.
This took longer to cure that I thought
it would. It’s a cold winter’s day here
in our studio and even with a light bulb
on it,
it took about three or four hours, so if
in doubt, just walk away, come back.
So it does feel, I’ve got a little ridge
here that you can’t really see, but I can
feel a little unevenness, and then to
save myself trouble later, I’m actually
going to start sanding here, and I’ve got some 220 wet-or-dry.
I’m just going to cut myself… I like to
cut these in half and then fold them
into thirds to make them easier to work
So I’ve done a quick sanding just to take
off the little pimples and kind of take
down this ridge that I can feel. And just wiped it, wiped the dust off with a damp rag.
I’m going to add now more filler.
I’m coming over more of this edge to
deal with this ridge.
So I’ve done a couple more passes just
to get a good fill, and now I’m ready to
sort of feather out into these areas
that need just a little bit of minor
fill and also texturizing. So I’m going
to do one more quick round of sanding,
rough it up, get off any little pimples, smooth it out.
Wipe it with a damp rag.
Let it dry.
Make sure it’s not–if you do use a
hair dryer–don’t make it too hot before applying more compound.
I’m going to get pretty aggressive here and just go big, up into these little regions.
The vast majority of it I will remove with my business card and sort of feather out.
That’s a really nice spread, but then to
keep… you get these little lines in there
from the card or just, you know, it
will be too smooth if you don’t texturize it.
And I love to work with just a food handlers’ glove and sort of emboss the compound.
And where you’ve got it on thicker, you’ll see that it’s a little more pronounced.
Just kind of rework that.
You can always sand it down later.
And allow to cure.
Alright, so this dried very quickly with a lamp, maybe 10 minutes.
And this feels great. It’s a little rough, so I’m going to do a little sanding.
I’m going to start with some 500 wet-or-dry.
You don’t want to sand off all the
texture you put on there, just to get off the rough spots.
It still feels a little rough
over here.
This could probably use a second pass,
but for the purposes of this video, I’m
just going to quickly demonstrate just
to see what it looks like when you dye it up.
Even if it feels great, you dye it, and
sometimes it doesn’t necessarily look great.
So we’re going to color change to rust
using our Rub ‘n Restore®.
I’ve got myself a damp sponge, slopping
it on.
So if you want to go back later and
rework your repair, you certainly can do that.
You can let the dye dry and then
remove some of it with some 409® or
Flite® cleaner and a rag. You don’t have
to strip it all out, just get, like you
know, whatever comes off easily. Remove
that, let it dry, and rework your repair.
The proof in the pudding is how… is
what it looks like when dyed.
I’m going to dry this.
You can see the area where I
hacked open looks great, and it feels great too.
It’s really strong, thanks to the
This area still looks kind of rough and scaly.
I might do a little more sanding and do
another pass of compound and texturize
again, keep reworking it if I’m picky, but
this is a radical improvement.

100 Replies to “Repair Leather and Vinyl with Flexible Filler”

  1. Good repair the only thing is ; if you put grain pad on the filler to make the vinyl or leather grain appear, it would look more magnificent , next , a repair like this needs to be sealed after dying it for water proof, you can u use a top coat sealer or add cross linker in the dye .you don't have a phone number here . I Wanna buy the kit I like it !

  2. Have you used the FC2? I have a 2" x 3" hole in the side bolster of my Passat, where my jeans rub it on the way in and out of the car. That area doesn't have to flex very much (bolster to the left of the hip, not sitting on it), and I was considering whether to use FC1 or FC2. I'm thinking about FC2 until the hole is filled, then a top layer of FC1 on the larger surrounding area where the leather is abraded/flaking but not worn through yet. Thanks.

  3. hey… i see that there are many fine crack lines over the vinyl. do you have to apply thin filler over the vinyl before you dyed it brown?

    also, do you have to apply some coating or protection layer after the coloring to prevent cracking or stuff? (i tried before dylon dye on a bag but didnt apply after coating, it cracked and peeled badly)

    Thank you so much:)

  4. i love nothing more than instructions from those that KNOW what they are talking about.. you are wonderful. you should be getting my money real soon as i find usable furniture frequently that is of leather and has damage. now I am not afraid hahahah thanks … jen

  5. Really informative and well-presented! I've got a super-flakey vinyl chair, so I'll have a look at some of your other videos and see if there's anything that can be done for it. Thank you!

  6. Thanks for reply Rub n Restore, ive sent you a picture via the email address thats on your web page if you wouldnt mind just taking a quick look for me please, id be very grateful then if you agree its cheap bonded leather i can then have ago at the store i brought it from thanks matt

  7. Excellent tutorial. I have a question about compound alternatives. I noticed that Walmart sales All Purpose Acrylic Latex Caulk Silicone in a 10oz tube ($4) that is flexible, waterproof, and easy water clean-up. It goes on white and dry's clear as well. I guess I can test it first but wanted your advice? Any experience with alternatives?

  8. Lesandre, This tutorial is a very useful and definitely the most enjoyable I have seen in a long time, thanks to your knowledge and beauty. Do I insert the iron-on mending fabric with the "glue" touching the leather or the other side up? Thanks

  9. we don't have holes yet but we do have thinning and the coloring is gone on our false leather sofa in some places and it just looks horrible what would be your best solution to fix it

  10. Great video, thanks. For the blue jeans subpatch iron on piece. Does the cloth side of the patch face down or up towards the repair location?

  11. Your super glue method for cat scratches is more along the lines of what I'm looking for, only I have a faux leather couch.. are you able to provide an order of steps I should take to repair these? Thanks!

  12. could this work on a faux leather jacket? I ended up with two burn holes in one of my favorites. this would literally save an irreplaceable piece if so!

  13. How cool is this? Thanks so much. We have club chairs and one that's going to need work in the years to come. We love them. Now We don't have to throw it out!

  14. Wouldn't it be more effective to glue an appropriately shaped patch onto the substrate and then just fill the very small gap around the edge?

  15. is there a dye that's closer to the color of the original leather? because my couch is the exact color as that dark brown and it's large couch. So once I fix the hole as you're advising, i'd hate to have to change the entire couch to a different color.

  16. Just bought this, i will be making a video on the process/ results (: ( i have two small holes in my car seat!!!

  17. Excellent instructions from such a beautiful lady making it VERY difficult to concentrate. After a number of times got the hang of it.

  18. Thank you for posting. What would you recommend for (badly) peeling vinyl purse straps? Or small tears in the vinyl on the purse surface? These purses are brightly colored, not just black or brown. Thank you =)

  19. Would Everclear (grain alcohol) work as a solvent instead of denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner? Since it is technically "food grade", it may be a non-toxic substitute.

  20. im looking for this product (leather filler) but im from mexico and do you know how much does it cost incluiding shipping zip code 72200 puebla mexico??? thx

  21. Help! I have chairs that are thin padding and leather/vinyl with lots of small gashes all over, so no way to actually FILL them… I was going to recover them but I would rather repair, smooth and repaint. can I sand and then apply (what?) liquid leather type coating? this is my first try at this–thx!

  22. I have these door panels on my car, they are black,i bought them years ago to change the interior on my car to black,the passenger side panel has a few cuts on the vinyl, looks like someone took a razor blade and just made 3 or 4 very small cuts on different spots on the panel,the vinyl is still there,there is no holes,basically they just look like little flaps,Ive thought about maybe gluing them down but what could i use to hide the cut? i dont want to cut the vinyl anymore,just glue them and hide the cut, thank you for your time!

  23. do you happen to have an email i could send a photo? I need help to learn what to use. my couch set is so faded where the butt & leg area is. I ordered a "recoloring balm" but not too sure if that's really what I need. it hasn't came yet but it was an impulse buy 🙁 also do you sell these products

  24. I'd like your advice on a repair…can I send a picture and if so how…and I will need to purchase supplies…thanks…love your vid

  25. Great Video! We buy and sell truckloads of liquidation furniture and also retail individual pieces. Going to share this with our new repair tech!

  26. Good video here – well done. I was just wondering what I should use to restore
    tired leather running shoes that I like ?? Would I use a dye, or would I use a
    paint touch up ?? I've seen guys on youtube work magic with cracked leather
    car seats, and they use an enamel base paint, with laquer thinner at the same time.
    Results are hard to believe and it says it won't get on your clothes after. Also says
    the laquer thinner draws out the original dyes in the leather, and the paint touches
    up the imperfections in the leather.
    I'm wondering here though–since leathers are all dyed to get their color before they
    are sold, would I use a dye for my leather running shoes,?? or a paint touch up?? I'm a
    little confused. Your advice would be appreciated -thanks-from Canada

    PS-You really get used to the comfort of shoes– but they lose their looks

  27. I bought the filler, can it be grain stamped and what is the process for stamping (does it need to be heated)? Do you sell the 2 part grain making kit?

  28. Great instructional video, and really great in-depth details-thanks! I was researching to fix a small tear in a vintage vinyl stool, but after watching this, I think I may also next try to repair a fabulous MCM Ekornes Stressless chair and ottoman I just acquired for free, that has slight cracks all over the arms and corners! After watching you, I may even possibly (after a few test runs) try to change the color too, as it is not exactly the right brown for my taste!
    THANK YOU! I really thought my chair and ottoman's damage was something I was just gonna have to gently live with, as I can't afford to have a professional re-upholster them any time soon – I will definitely be ordering your product asap!

  29. i need help repairing my mother in laws red couch can you help me please because i do not have $300.00 to have other people fix her couch

  30. have you ever tried dap dynaflex 230 for leather filler…0.0..……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j0i67.o_9bYk031aI

  31. Lasandre, thank you so much for doing the excellent tutorial. I’m trying to hold on to my 2002 “luxury” (i.e. way too expensive) SUV that’s no longer made. I didn’t take care of leather for years and now regret. Local family owned auto upholstery repair shop quoted me a price of $600 to repair drivers seat/console. The tears aren’t bad but a lot of $$ for an older vehicle (not saying they’re over charging though…).

    Having done leather work as hobby & spare income decades ago I’m thrilled to be learning new methods of repair & restoration. Your tutorial now has me planning to repair SUV leather & nice furniture scratched by cats. Thank you so much for showing me how to save some major $$. I’ll be sure to wear respirator to hold back my urge to start huffing the vapors!!

  32. I like your DIY processes because based on one prior follow up, all you show, worked exactly as it should. Thanks for sharing knowledge.

  33. Hey girl, great video have just done a repair on a leather jacket very pleased with the results.Seeing the size of your repair gave me confidence to take it on, thank you, regards Andrew

  34. Bravo!! One if not the best tutorial . Esp. for a detail and specific job as this is. Very clear spoken, no umms or ahhh forever. Had everything ready and didn't have to go and find something, like others that think people are really gonna want ot wait for something you should of had. So again, well done. Intelligent, humor, well spoken, and knew how to position on cam, while still working. And you are easy on the eyes, but hope that doesnt make me creepy like some other comments.
    Thank you kindly,
    Be well, Be real, and Be YOU!!!

  35. I am having trouble getting the filler to absorb the dye. I tried some light sanding. Any suggestions? I had to spread the filler over most of 3 cushions it was so badly damaged with rips and tears.

  36. Amazing! Would the FC1 Soft Filler be a good choice to use on boot soles, where a hole has developed in the top layer of the leather, or would another filler work better? Also would this be a good filler for a non-flexible leather book cover, where there is a rip in the top layer of leather? Thanks

  37. I got this lather filer cost about $20 for right stuff not too bad but all this is latex caulk so you are paying a lot of $ for some dap I am not professional and that’s why I want to this video but after getting this product I think the video is advertisement for this product

  38. I just bought a Datsun Bluebird from the 70s and its has a pretty large tear on the driver's seat. I think this should do the trick!

  39. WBT-1 electric scissors, are a convenient way to cut fabric ,leather ,carpet, paper, cardboard, fabric, vinyl, canvas and composite materials

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