Saturday, March 23, 2013

restoring a leather purse

As I mentioned Monday, I purchased a Coach Willis purse off of Etsy after being inspired by Extra Petite's post on purchasing current Legacy collection styles as the originals off of the used purse market. Buying a used purse comes with the expectation that it is going to have a bit of wear to it, and this purse was no exception. I did a bit of leather restoring research before purchasing it to see how easy it would be to touch up the worn parts. From what I read, all you have to do is use a leather pen and easy peasy, new purse!
restoring leather purse, cleaning leather, repair old purse
After I made the purse purchase, I went to three local crafting stores in hopes of finding these leather restoring pens but apparently they don't sell those in stores, or online any where as I had no luck finding them. I ended up purchasing this leather touch-up recolor kit. As a disclaimer, I am a complete leather working novice so these are just my experiences with this process. Here are the close-ups of the bag before, and then what I did to fix them:

pursebefore
step 1: clean the purse
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I have the Coach leather cleaner on hand, so that's what I used to clean my purse. I put a bit of the cleaner on a clean cloth and rubbed all over the purse, focusing especially on the parts that were  bit dirtier. I then let it dry for an hour or so.

step 2: apply the color
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The kit comes with 7 paint pots so that you can mix the colors so it will match the color of your leather. Since my purse is black, I didn't have to mix any colors together. I put a scoop of the paint into the mixing pot, added a few drops of water as directed, and brushed the paint onto the leather.

step 3: distribute the color
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Next I used the sponge supplied to distribute the color all of the areas that needed it. If I had one piece of advice here it would be to wear gloves which I don't have at home, so I ended up getting some of the color on my fingers. It came off fairly easily but gloves would have been preferred. I then let the bag sit for 24 hours. The directions say that you can do several coats of color, but I decided to only use one coat as the worn areas were pretty well covered.

step 4: apply the clear finish
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After 24 hours, I applied the clear finish with a paper towel. Some of the color does transfer onto the paper towel, but I didn't see that any of the worn areas were any less colored, so it must just be the residue paint. I then let it sit for another 24 hours.

step 5: moisturize
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I also have the Coach moisturizer, so I used that to moisturize the entire purse with a clean cloth. I noticed hardly any color transfer during this step so the clear finish seems to really work in locking in the color.

step 6: polish the hardware
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I used a dual sided jewelry cloth that I've had for about 10 years now. The cleaning side was used to remove any of the paint that accidentally got on the metal, and then the polishing side was used for polishing. The hardware on my purse also had a bit of wear on it so you can't really polish that off, but that is to be expected.

step 7: admire your work
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I'm really happy how this little restoration project worked out. I think the purse looks almost brand new, and for 1/6 of the current price.

Do you have any experience in restoring leather goods? I'd love to hear about it!
how to repair purse, fixing old leather, coach repair, leather fix up




30 comments:

  1. Fran, it looks fantastic! I'd never know it wasn't current season if you hadn't told me. I love the shape of the legacy bags so I may just have to do a little Etsy searching of my own... you are suuuuuuch an enabler :P

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  2. Way to go Fran! This looks great!
    Ginny
    mynewfavoriteoutfit.blogspot.com

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  3. Looks amazing! I really need to invest in a good leather cleaner and moisturizer... i have purses and boots that probably are way over due. Even though that was definitely not the point of this post, thanks for reminding me! haha.

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  4. What a great idea! I am going to look for used bags online - I've honestly never thought of this before! I love this bag, and after you refinished it it looks amazing.

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  5. Oh, wow, it looks great! I've never thought of this before, and this was really helpful as you made it look very easy.

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  6. I'm a fan of the old school willis bags but haven't been impressed with either getting something really worn or paying a ton of money for an used-but-still-good-condition bag. This is a great idea and the touch-up did great!

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  7. The touch up turned out really well!! Love the Willis bag...want one in navy!

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  8. Love this bag, and the outcome! You did a great job!

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  9. Wow, the transformation is unbelievable! Awesome job!

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  10. Great job! So, how much did you save by buying the purse on Ebay and the kit vs. a new one or one in better condition? Either way, now it looks like a vintage purse in excellent condition!

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

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    1. The current version pre-taxes is $298, so $315 with taxes. The older version was $50 and the kit was $8, but I've already used the kit on other leather pieces so I'm not eve counting it towards the bag. Pretty good fraction of it!

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  11. Awesome tips! I really need to do this with a few of my purses that I've been neglecting!

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  12. Omg I used to have a purse like that, it looks great!

    -Rekita

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  13. This is timely for me as I just won a Cognac vintage Court on eBay based on your advice. It looks like it is in pretty good nick but will need a little work and now you've done the research for me! It looks fantastic! I paid $46 for my bag. BARGAIN!

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    1. Also, my new Tanner tote needs a little upkeep so I have to get that Coach cleaner!

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  14. Thanks for this! I'm definitely going to use this for tips when my bag gets here.

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  15. This is so cool. I've always purchased my leather bags second hand and cleaned them and polished them myself; it's so nice to see other people do the same. Seriously, my far the majority of the time second hand bags just need a deep polish and moisturise.

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  16. Oh my goodness, I never would have thought to restore a leather purse! This is seriously inspiring and opens so many doors for bags, jackets, and boots! Great post, thanks!

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  17. As an FYI...Coach will always "restore" your bag to new for you...you take it to a Coach store and pay (I think) $25-50 and they ship it off and send it back to you totally renewed. Also, if you leave it at the store, the staff will clean up the hardware. Just another option if someone is nervous about restoring the leather themselves. And, if they no longer have the color of leather for your bag, they send your bag back, plus the fee you paid and give you a coupon for 1/2 off a new bag at a store. GREAT customer service!

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    1. That's amazing! I have never heard of that. Do you have to prove that you are the original owner? I'm so happy you shared this!

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  18. Wow, the bag looks amazing! Actually, I thought it looked amazing before, great condition, but now it looks fabulous :) I haven't ever tried to restore or clean a leather bag, but if I ever do, now I know what to do!

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  19. This post couldnt have been timed better! I just got back from vacation and a pair of leather wedges lost some of the color on one side - i think some shampoo spilled and ruined them. I was thinking I'd have to toss them but I am going to look into doing it myself!

    Zahra

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  20. It looks great! And what an awesome find. My dream is to find an authentic coach/ chanel or something high end when thrifting! haha Still hasn't happened though. Just several Douney and bourke.

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  21. This is awesome! I'm always so weary on buying nice leather because I'm the clumsy one ruining everything I own. I'm going to remember that this is possible!
    Jenn
    With Luck Blog

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  22. Wow, that came out beautifully! I love the shape and size of the bag, and it's amazing that it didn't take that much work (other than the patience of waiting between steps) to make it look like new. Nice job!

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  23. Fran, this looks great! Definitely keeping this post for a rainy day and when I have time to touch up my bags!!

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  24. I mean, this is awesome. I've been stalking bags for a while after Extra Petites blog too, but this seals the deal. You did a fantastic job and I'm copying you and that's that.

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  25. My sister presented me Coach Tote bag and i loved it thoroughly. I was very tom boyish but this is something i love to carry always.

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