How to Repair Cracked Leather

Cracks often happen when leather dries out or is exposed to sunlight. The fibers in the leather abrade one another. Although the damage is permanent, many cracks are easy to hide by rehydrating the leather with a good conditioner. Deeper cracks need to be filled in or treated with a dye to blend them into the leather’s coloring. With proper treatment, you can revitalize a precious piece of leather.

EditRehydrating Leather with a Conditioner
Wipe off the leather with a cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Using a store-bought leather cleaner is the easiest way to prepare the cracked surface for repairs. Spray the cleaner on the cloth, then wipe away any grime on the leather. Rub along the leather’s grain to avoid deepening the cracks.[1]
If you don’t have a commercial cleaner, mix together 1 part mild soap with 8 parts distilled water. Use baby soap or a liquid dish or hand soap.

Using a small amount of water is a safe way to rinse off soap. Dampen the microfiber cloth, wringing out the excess moisture, then wipe the leather along its grain.

Wait for the leather to dry before treating it. Touch the leather to check its condition. Cracks form when leather dries out, so your item most likely will feel dry within 5 to 10 minutes. To speed up the drying process, wipe the leather with a microfiber cloth.
Make sure the surface feels dry to the touch so the soap or cleaner doesn’t get in the way of the conditioner.

Dab a strong leather conditioner onto the cracks. Select a bottled conditioner designed to restore and rehydrate leather. Put a small dollop of the conditioner on your finger or a soft applicator like a sponge or cloth. Then, rub the conditioner directly into the cracks in order to clean out the fabric’s pores and prepare them for deeper conditioning.
Leather conditioner is available wherever leather items are sold, particularly online, at general stores, and at some clothing shops.

The leather will absorb the cleaner right away. This happens with items that have dried out over time. Regular conditioning keeps leather soft and pliable.

Smooth out the cracked areas with additional conditioner. Apply a generous amount of conditioner to the applicator pad. This time, scrub over the cracks and the areas around them. Continue scrubbing along the grain. The leather will become a more consistent color, hiding the cracks.
If the leather hasn’t been conditioned in a while, consider treating the entire item now. Conditioning it prevents new cracks from forming elsewhere.

Let the leather rest for 2 hours until it feels dry to the touch. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended drying time. The leather needs plenty of time to absorb all of the conditioner. Wait until it feels dry to the touch before continuing to treat it.
If you have the time, let the leather dry overnight. Waiting a little longer gives the conditioner plenty of time to rehydrate the leather.

Condition the leather again if the cracks are still visible. Depending on the conditioner, you may need to treat the leather multiple times. Spread more conditioner on an applicator pad and scrub it across the cracks. Check the leather again the next morning after giving it plenty of time to dry.
Continue treating the leather until the cracks are gone or the leather stops absorbing the conditioner. If it stops absorbing the conditioner but the cracks are still visible, you will need to try a filler or dye.

EditSealing Cracks with a Leather Filler
Wash grime off the leather with soap or a leather cleaner. Select a bottled specialty leather cleaner or a mild soap. Baby soaps and mild dish and hand soaps are safe on leather. Make sure the soap isn’t designed for harsh surfaces or grease. Put the cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe up any dirt and debris still on the leather.[2]
If you use soap, mix it into distilled water first. Then, lightly dampen a cloth with the soapy water.

Wait overnight for the leather to dry completely. Any moisture on the leather will prevent the filler from settling into the cracks. To encourage the leather to dry faster, wipe it off with a clean microfiber cloth. Make sure the leather looks free of grime and feels dry to the touch before attempting to treat the scratches.[3]
Cleaning up leftover soap with water is fine, but use a lightly dampened cloth. Too much water exposure damages leather other time.

Store your item in open air away from direct sunlight. Exposure to harsh heat and sunlight damages and fades colored leather.

Smooth the cracks with a piece of 600-grit super fine sandpaper. Apply gentle pressure while treating the cracks. Keep wearing them down until the leather feels uniformly smooth to the touch. Then, wipe it off with a dry microfiber cloth. Make sure the cloth removes all of the dust from the cracks so you can fill them in.[4]
Using higher grit or ultra fine sandpaper is safe, but avoid harsher sandpapers. Lower-grit papers are coarser and more likely to leave noticeable scratches.

Spread a leather filler over the cracks with a palette knife. Leather fillers are paste-like products that come in small tubs. Pick up some of the paste with the knife, then brush it onto the cracks to fill them with a thin layer of paste. Apply additional paste until all the cracks appear filled.[5]
Palette knives are thin and fairly blunt, making them a great choice for spreading the paste. If you don’t have one, use another blunt object like a credit card. Avoid sharp knives or other objects that will scratch the leather.

Leather fillers are available online and at some general stores. They are often sold in kits that may include a sanding pad and an applicator knife.

Remove excess paste with the edge of the knife. After spreading the filler, you will probably have a fair amount outside of the cracks. Tilt the palette knife sideways, then scrape its edge gently over the leather. It will pick up the remaining paste. Continue removing the paste until you can no longer see it outside of the cracked areas.[6]
Place the excess filler in the cracks, back in the container, or wash the knife off in water as needed to remove it.

Let the leather dry for 6 hours until the filler solidifies. Leave the filler exposed to open air so it dries faster. To protect your leather item, keep it out of direct sunlight and away from extreme heat.[7]
Heat sources like heaters and ovens run the risk of drying out the leather, causing it to crack further.

Apply more coatings of filler as needed to even out the cracks. The filler shrinks as it dries, so you will need to apply a second layer. Spread more filler with a palette knife or a similar blunt object. Scrape up the excess, then wait for then new layer to dry. When the leather is repaired, the cracks will no longer be distinguishable.[8]
Depending on how deep the cracks are, you may need to apply additional layers of filler. Some cracks require as many as 5 coatings. Repeat the treatment until the cracks are well-filled.

EditBlending Cracks with a Leather Dye
Treat cracks with leather filler to blend the coloring in better. If you don’t use filler first, you apply the dye or paint directly to the leather. This is enough to repair most cracks, but they may still be easy to spot. Filler is colorless, so it does a better job of permanently hiding bad cracks.
For particularly deep or ugly cracks, add filler first so they don’t stand out as much.[9]

Sand the leather with 600-grit sandpaper and wipe it clean. Smooth out the cracks to prepare them for the dye. Press the sandpaper or sanding pad down gently and rub along the leather’s grain. Make sure the leather feels smooth to the touch. Wipe up the dust with a clean microfiber cloth.[10]
Use the cloth to clear out any dust that falls into the cracks. Leftover dust prevents the leather from absorbing the coloring evenly.

Spread a thin coat of leather dye over the cracks with a sponge. Leather dye comes in a variety of colors, so choose a bottle that matches your item. Then, pour a little bit of the dye on a sponge or applicator pad. Rub the cracks to spread the dye into them.[11]
Leather dye is available online or at some craft and general stores. They are sometimes sold in kits that include sandpaper and applicator pads.

Another way to color cracks is with spray paint and lacquer thinner. Get a matching color of spray paint safe for use on leather. Spray some of the paint on a cloth, then pour the lacquer on the cloth. Rub the cloth against the cracks to color them.[12]

Dry the dye for 2 minutes with a hairdryer set to high. Plug in the hairdryer and point it directly at the dyed areas. Move the heater back and forth across the cracks to prevent the leather from drying out. After you’re done, the layer of dye will be dry to the touch.[13]
If you don’t have a hairdryer, try an alternative heat source, such as a heat gun. Be careful, since heat guns can easily burn leather. Move the gun around to prevent any spots from overheating.

Blend the cracks with multiple coats of dye as needed. Cracks generally require 2 to 5 treatments before they look repaired. Spread more of the dye over the leather. This time, dab some of the dye directly into the crack, then rub the area around the cracks to blend them together.[14]
Dry the dye each time with a hairdryer. Keep applying dye until the cracks are indistinguishable from the rest of the leather.

Treat the cracks with a leather sealer to protect the dye. Spray the sealer onto a clean sponge or applicator pad. Then, rub the cracked area, applying a second coating as needed to cover all of the dye. The sealer acts as a conditioner that also protects the cracked area from stains and further damage.[15]
Purchase a bottle of leather sealer online or at your local general store.

Heat the sealer with a hair dryer for 2 minutes to cure it. Activate the dryer one last time to finish the repair. Hold the heater close to the leather, pointing it directly at the treated area. Move the heater back and forth to prevent the leather from overheating. Once the leather feels dry to the touch, check it to make sure it looks as good as new.[16]

To prevent leather from cracking, apply a leather conditioner about every 3 months. Leather cracks as it dries, so a good conditioner prevents most damage.

Keep leather out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Heat causes leather to dry out, leading to cracks. If your leather items seem to crack often, it could be from heat exposure.

Use a leather glue to seal rips and tears. Simply spread the glue, then press the torn piece down to lock it in place. You can then treat the tear with filler or dye to blend it in.

If your leather item is valuable or heavily damaged, consider bringing it to a professional. Professionals are able to make extensive repairs or even reupholster items to preserve them.

Leather is delicate, so any treatment may permanently damage it. If you are worried about damaging a valuable piece of leather, test the treatment in an inconspicuous location first.

EditThings You’ll Need
EditRehydrating Leather with a Conditioner

Microfiber cloth


Leather cleaner or soap

Leather conditioner

Applicator pad, sponge, or cloth

EditSealing Cracks with a Leather Filler

Microfiber cloth


Leather cleaner or soap

Leather filler

Palette knife

EditBlending Cracks with a Leather Dye
Leather filler for tough cracks

Leather dye

Sponges or applicator pads


Leather sealer

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Today in History for 7th February 2019

Historical Events

1883 – Lt-colonel Borgnis-Desbordes founds Fort Bamako, Niger
1915 – Second Battle of Masurian Lakes: German armies surrounded a Russian army
1941 – Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey orchestra record “Everything Happens to Me”
1950 – Senator Joe McCarthy finds “communists” in US Department of State (equiv. Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
1976 – Toronto center Darryl Sittler sets NHL record with 10 points in a Maple Leafs’ 11-4 win over Boston at Maple Leaf Gardens; 6 goals, 4 assists
1998 – XVIII Winter Olympic Games open in Nagano, Japan

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1710 – William Boyce, English organist/composer (Cathedral Music), born in London (d. 1779)
1864 – Ricardo Castro Herrera, composer
1889 – Harry Nyquist, important contributor to information theory (d. 1976)
1942 – Ton de Kok, Dutch politician (CDA)
1983 – Teshome Getu, Ethiopian footballer
1991 – Rachel Sibner, American actress

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1560 – Bartolomeo Bandinelli, Italian sculptor (b. 1493)
1901 – Benjamin Edward Woolf, composer, dies at 64
1963 – Learco Guerra, Italian road racing cyclist, dies at 60
1980 – Secondo Campini, Italian jet engine pioneer, dies at 75
1988 – Lin[wood V] Carter, American sci-fi writer (Lost World of Time), dies at 57
2009 – Blossom Dearie, American jazz singer and pianist, dies of natural causes at 84

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How to Trust Yourself

Maintaining trust in yourself takes time, effort, and good communication. Learn to trust yourself by being kind to yourself and taking care of your own needs and safety. Strengthen your self-trust by learning to survive difficult situations and refusing to give up on yourself. Trusting yourself will increase your self-confidence and lessen your need for approval. It can even deepen your connection with others.[1]
EditNurturing Yourself and Setting Boundaries
Take time away from work or school to do something for yourself. It’s easy to lose confidence if you forget to take care of yourself. Make sure you set aside some time to pursue hobbies or other leisure activities. If you get burnt out at work or school, it will add to your frustration and self-doubt.[2]
Dedicate one night per week to do an activity you love. Watch a movie, go for a long walk in the park, or curl up in your favorite chair to read. Do whatever you enjoy doing the most.

Set time aside each evening before you go to bed to write down three things you are grateful for. Make it a ritual you really enjoy by turning on your favorite music or making yourself a warm, comforting drink like tea or hot chocolate.

Respect your values, interests, and skills. Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for at least 20 minutes. Take out a special notebook and pen. Set a timer for 20 minutes and write a list of your most important personal values, interests, and skills. Write at least 5 things for each category. Bring this list out whenever you are feeling doubtful or pessimistic to remind yourself of your positive qualities and your drive.[3]
Whenever you question a decision, look at your list and see if it matches your values and overall goal.

Remember that everyone’s list will look different and it’s ok that you are different from others.

Keep a list of your strengths and accomplishments so you can look at the things you’ve done well in the past.

For example, you might write that one of your values is always being honest, that one of your hobbies is scrapbooking, and that a skill you have is being a good listener.

Keep promises to yourself. To trust yourself, you have to be like your own best friend. That means you must keep promises you make to yourself. Making a commitment and sticking to it will build trust.[4]
For example, if you make a promise to yourself to go to bed earlier or take short a walk every evening, keep that promise just like you would keep a promise to meet a friend.

Sometimes things come up and you will have to break a promise to yourself. For example, if you had promised to read your favorite book one evening, but your friend calls to talk because she just broke up with her boyfriend, you probably would prioritize talking your friend through this difficult time. Recommit to reading your book the next day. Just be sure that you don’t make a habit of always breaking promises to yourself.

Listen to yourself and your body. Take the time to reflect on your mental and physical wellbeing. If you are experiencing certain emotions, like sadness or anger, give yourself some time to process them before you react.[5]
If you give yourself some time to feel what you are feeling and think about it, you may find strong emotions fade or turn into something else entirely.

For example, if you receive bad results on a test or a negative review at work, you may feel a heaviness in your heart and you may want to speak negatively to yourself. Try to resist the urge to react and just let yourself feel sad. Then, when the feeling fades a little, think constructively about how you can avoid a similar situation in the future.

Learn to say “No”. Respecting your own boundaries, especially if you feel like you are under pressure to say yes to something, will help you trust yourself more. If you don’t have the time or energy for something, it’s ok to respectfully say no.

EditForgiving Yourself for Your Mistakes
Reduce negative self talk. Everyone struggles with negative voices in their heads. Instead of speaking to yourself with negativity, zeroing in on all the things about yourself that you don’t like, focus on the positive aspects of yourself. If you make a mistake, reassure yourself that it will be better next time.[6]
For example, the next time you make a mistake, instead of telling yourself “You’re so stupid,” remind yourself that “It’s ok. It’s not a big deal,” or “Ok, it was a big mistake but I will learn from it and do better next time.”

Being kind and understanding with yourself when you make a mistake also helps you be kinder towards others when they do the same.

Resist the urge to be a perfectionist. Trusting yourself doesn’t mean that you will always say exactly the right thing or make the right decision every time. You don’t have to be perfect and you shouldn’t even try. The best way to learn to trust yourself is to keep fighting to improve yourself.[7]
If you say something you regret, apologize. But remember that it is not a failure. The fact that you feel bad and want to make amends is a sign of growth.

Learn from your mistakes so you can continue to grow. Just because something goes wrong once doesn’t mean it will go wrong again. Don’t look at your mistakes as failures. See them as learning opportunities. Consider what you can do next time something similar happens so you won’t make the same mistake again.[8]
Learning from your mistakes will help you deepen your trust in yourself.

Even if you make the same mistake twice, or more, look at it as a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block. Be patient with yourself. Reflect on what you can do next time to avoid the mistake.

EditWorking Through Challenges
Focus on developing a solution when a problem comes up. Instead of beating yourself up about an unexpected problem, sit down to tackle it. To do this, first clearly define what the problem is. Then, design a plan to solve it. Finally, put the plan into action.[9]
Allow yourself some time to be emotional about the problem before rationalizing what the next step should be.

Try to remain flexible and open-minded in case things don’t go exactly to plan.

Once you’ve solved the problem, evaluate the outcome and try to learn from your previous mistakes.

You may want to ask friends or family members you trust for advice if needed.

Try designing a plan with several options that you can choose from in case something else unexpected comes up.

If you forgot about an important exam or work project that is coming up very soon, first focus on how to best prepare for it. Prioritize the subjects you need to study or the tasks that need to be completed. Then, get started as soon as possible and do your best. Afterward, come up with a way to remind yourself to start earlier the next time something comes up. You may want to look at your syllabus and put reminders in your phone 2 weeks before each of the remaining exams or buy a planner so you can write in your projects as soon as they are assigned.

Take some time away from a project if you are feeling overwhelmed. Focus on something completely different. Sometimes taking a break from something and concentrating on something completely different can help bring a whole new perspective when you go back to it.[10]
Taking time away can be as simple as getting up and moving around, listening to music, doodling, scribbling, or playing with your cat or dog.

Be willing to take risks. Build your self-trust by starting out taking low-level risks. Then, build on each success and take a bigger risk every time. Don’t worry if you don’t succeed every time.[11]
For example, if you really want to learn to play ice hockey, start by going to a roller skating rink with some friends. This is a small risk to take and you will be having fun with your friends while you learn to start trusting yourself on skates in a warm environment. Then, take a bigger risk by signing up for ice skating lessons. Finally, when you feel confident on the ice skates, sign up for a recreational ice hockey league in your area.

Seek support from others to remind you of your worth. It’s important to take time for yourself, and take responsibility for your own mistakes, but you don’t have to do it all alone. It’s just as important to seek support from others. Reach out to your family, friends, or a professional therapist if you are feeling self-doubt. They can give you good advice and encouragement.[12]
The next time you don’t feel like you are good enough to do something, like applying for a challenging job or taking an advanced class, tell someone you trust about your doubts. Often the people in our lives are better able to see your positive traits and inspire you to push your limits and try something new.

Seek out people who will encourage and support you. Stay away from people who undermine your self-trust. Think about the people you let into your life and try to keep away those who don’t support you or your dreams.[13]

Don’t give up if things go wrong or if you start to doubt yourself. Make a commitment to continually work towards trusting yourself, even if there are some speed bumps along the way.[14]
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