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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes yes I know this is a Saab forum but my questions not really BMW specific.....

I know some of you on here have successfully repaired and dyed leather seats, unfortunately i can't find a single thread covering that. I'm almost certain what I saw was within a project thread and i have no clue which one.

The seats on my 328 have seen better days so i was planning on trying to fix them when the weather gets better. The seats don't have any rips but there is a lot of cracking around the bolsters, especially the driver side seat. Damage like that can be repaired without too much difficulty right? I think iv seen leather filler at my local parts store but iv never really looked at it. I'm assuming the seats have to be died again or at least where the repair was done? Anyone with any type of knowledge about repairing and dyeing seats please give me some insight.

Now the other idea I'm tossing around in my head is dyeing the seats and door card inserts red and swapping in black carpets, dash and other tan trim. I love the seats in the s5 so I'm aiming for something similar if I do do it. Now i know those come in red from the factory but can that type of color be replicated with dye?

What do you guys think of a white e36 with red and black interior? I'm not sure how the white against the red will look but it's only an idea, I would want to repair the seats first.

Some inspiration



S5 interior

 

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i think the bmw saddle brown looks really good on white, i had an e92 loaner with that combo, it was purdy. I don't think red would look bad either, although i'm not as much of a fan, bmws red leather is really really red.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I've never even seen or heard of that color seat before till you mentioned it. A quick search came up with this



I actually really like that color quite a bit especially against a white body. I think you might have put an end to the red idea....

They look slightly different in this picture

 

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Its a good color, the color looks a little lighter in interior photos. I have saddle brown with black, my fav. combo.

This ones fairly accurate, atlteast on my screen... still doesn't quite capture it.



 

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I asked a friend of mine that dyes as a hobby, mostly tie-dyes, what it would take to do what you want. She said a stain would be better, but that you'll probably never get the results you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I asked a friend of mine that dyes as a hobby, mostly tie-dyes, what it would take to do what you want. She said a stain would be better, but that you'll probably never get the results you want.
Thanks for asking your friend jay, I really appreciate it. I didn't realize you can stain leather, I guess thats something else I need to look into. Did your friend say why I'll never get the results I want? I think the saddle brown might be easier considering I'm starting with tan.
 

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Do you have any pictures of your interior handy?
this is the only one i ever took lol, its one of the ones that doesn't look quite right, the door panels look somewhat close. Its a hard color to photograph.



Thanks for asking your friend jay, I really appreciate it. I didn't realize you can stain leather, I guess thats something else I need to look into. Did your friend say why I'll never get the results I want? I think the saddle brown might be easier considering I'm starting with tan.
Yeah i was actually gonna throw that out there as a thought. Def do black carpet though. Theres stuff you can buy for the dash and door panels too, my friend did it on his accord (tan to black) and it came out pretty well. Not sure how the longevity is though as he hydrolocked the motor 6 months later and sold it (his CAI was about 3 inches from the road, probably not good)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay so saddle brown is out sorry lol The interior will get dyed BMW cinnamon color. I am absolutely in love with this interior. There is a massive thread on e46fanatic.com detailing how to dye your interior from tan/black to this cinnamon color. The guy has instructions and tips detailing everything. This has gone from being a maybe idea to a definite. As soon as the snow melts i can start getting the seats out! Picture time

Original interior























lastly the car





Its funny how that worked out. I went from red to saddle brown to finally this cinnamon color. That e46 thread is Perfect, it has everything i need to know to do this only difference will be that mines is an e36.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
His tips

Dyeing tips:

Don't buy foam brushes, buy artist acrylic brushes: 3/4" - 1"
When dyeing, do NOT stop in the middle of a panel, make it to the closest seam and stop. If you get bubbles or heavy spots of dye, blow on them to even them out.
You might think that you will get brush marks, swirls, etc when the dye dries, but just be patient, they will even out. The WORST mistake I made while dyeing was trying and touching up half dried dye, it scuffed up and make a mark when dry. If you mess up, DONT touch it. Let it dry and wetsand out w/ 1500 grit, then apply another coat. It will even out
When dyeing, you will notice that the dye separates really quickly. No lie, you will get some dye on your brush and paint a bit, then go back to get more dye on the brush and the dye will have already separated. You need to keep stirring the dye before you go and paint with it.
Take the seats apart. I don't know how Alec did the dye job with his seat together. I did my drivers seat like that and I realized that the seams where the seat cushion met the back were going to be messed up. So I took them apart and they were horrible, the dye had made the leather stick to itself and I had to rip it apart, breaking the dye. I had to go back and wetsand and redo the portion of the drivers seat that was messed up. I did my passengers seat the proper way, taking it apart and dyeing the panels separately.

Painting tips:

Duplicolor vinyl and fabric paint is a great product, no lie. But the spray can is a pos. It doesn't really have a good nozzle so if you are spraying downward, the spray paint coming out will splatter and make your piece look horrible. This is when I realized that if I wanted good work, I was going to have to use my hands. I just held my piece up and spun it around whichever way I needed to spray and painted while it was in my hand. I got spray paint on my hand and arm, no biggie though. Just a tip
Make sure you are painting in the right conditions, this is very important. It was damn cold outside so I set up a spray booth inside my house to paint, it worked out very well.

Procedures

Door panels:

Take apart door panels, don't be a bum and keep them together and mask off portions with newspaper. If you take them apart, you will get a better result in the end, I promise.
Leatherique leather inserts, let rejuvenator soak in for 24 hours. When applying the rejuvenator, use about 2-4 ounces per panel and massage it into the panel with your hands. Like really, think of it as you giving a piece of leather a massage, it's weird. Then do all the necessary pristine clean and dyeing procedures
Clean vinyl door panels - scrub with green works and sponge, then scrub with warm water and wipe dry. Let them sit for a while because the vinyl will still be damp feeling after you wipe it. Then spray with duplicolor vinyl and fabric paint. Remember! light coats
Take apart arm rests - leatherique leather pads, prep and sand bottom portion for duplicolor vinyl and fabric paint.
Put door panels back together using screws and washers

Seats:

Scrub clean with wet rag
Apply leatherique rejuvenator and scrub into the leather, let sit for 24 hours minimum, I let all of my pieces soak for 48 hours.
Spray pristine clean onto leather using spray bottle and let sit for 20 mins, scrub with toothbrush and wipe off with terry towel. Wait 2 hours.
Put leatherique prepping agent into glass bowl and get 1000 grit sandpaper, dip sandpaper into bowl and start to wetsand leather seats. Wait 6 hours minimum
Ready for dye. For my black leatherette seats, I found that 5 coats was necessary to make it look absolutely perfect. 4 coats and you could still see some black through the dye. For the tan leather, 4 coats was plenty.
[insert dyeing procedure here]

Headliner, rear deck and pillars:
Clean with wet rag
Soak them with rit dye, no lie, soak them. Don't hesitate to use as much dye as the panel will take without dripping

Door seals:

Clean with wet rag
Apply rit dye using bowl and sponge brush, same as headliner pieces

Plastic pieces:

Spray down with green works and scrub as much dirt off as possible.
Wipe pieces with a wet rag and sand with 600 grit sandpaper.
Place in hot water bath to get rid of all the powder, let sit until completely dry
Lots and lots of light coats of spray paint, waiting about 10 minutes between coats.
 

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Great info here!

I'd love to re-dye my Aero seats. Maybe over the summer....

Good luck with yours!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Great info here!

I'd love to re-dye my Aero seats. Maybe over the summer....

Good luck with yours!
Thanks! I'm still going through his thread and pulling as much useful info as I can. When i do this I plan on making a somewhat detailed write up and post it on here. Now i know I'll be doing it on a BMW but dyeing seats obviously isn't BMW specific and I think it would be pretty useful write up on here. Now I need to find a thread detailing how to repair cracked leather seats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here is a write up by the same guy on the leatherique website.

Dyeing Tips:

*

Hello, my name is Neil. I'm an avid car enthusiast and just like many of you, when I decide I want to undertake a project of this caliber I want to buy the best product to ensure that my results will match the amount of work I put into the project. I own an 2000 BMW 328Ci and I'm a regular member of E46Fanatics, the home of the DIY that these tips are taken from. A while back I decided to change my entire interior color on my E46 from plain tan to black/cinnamon. I chose Leatherique because I knew it was the best in the industry and I was not disappointed. The results came out phenomenally and it's all thanks to the wonderful Leatherique products.*

*

Ok, you want to dye your seats to a different color or just do some minor dye touchup. There are a few things you need to know before you lay that new dye down, here are some of the things I learned and tips on how to achieve optimal results for your BMW leather.

*

*When using the Leatherique Rejuvenating Oil, let the rejuvenator soak in for a minimum of 24 hours. You can choose to do more, maybe even up to 48 hours. It was winter season when I did my dye project so I didn't have the option of using my car as a faux steam room. A solution would be to take your leather panels inside and create an artificial sauna for your seats. I had one of those cheap walmart space heaters and I just oiled the panels, set them in my bathroom, turned on the heater and let them go through sauna like conditions for a couple of hours a day. It really helps the Rejuvenator to soak into the leather/leatherette and do its job, trust me. When applying the rejuvenator, use about 2-4 ounces per panel and massage it into the panel with your hands. Like really, think of it as you giving a piece of leather a massage. You might find it weird but it really does the trick.

*

*Once you feel that the Rejuvenating Oil has soaked long enough, now it's time for Pristine Clean. Leatherique instructions say to use a spray bottle to spray it on. I went to walmart and just bought a $1 spray bottle that worked very well, you could just use any spray bottle that you have around your house, just make sure that it's completely clean. Now, spray Pristine Clean onto the leather using the spray bottle and let the Pristine Clean sit for at least 20 minutes. After it has soaked up all of the contaminants that have moved to the surface of the leather, you have two options. You can scrub your panel with toothbrush to really work in the pristine clean and then wipe it off with a clean rag or you can simply wipe off the Pristine Clean with terry towel, no scrubbing beforehand. Leatherique didn't specify to work the Pristine Clean into the leather but I found that it really made the leather supple and clean for dyeing. Now wait 2 hours. You need to let the leather air and just sit for a little bit before you hit it with more chemicals, that's how I feel and it worked perfectly.

*

*It's time to put Leatherique Prepping Agent onto the leather. This is the part that scares a lot of people away from doing this job. They think "sand my leather, are you crazy?" It's not as bad as you think. When you sand with Prepping Agent soaked sandpaper, all you are doing is getting rid of any bad or weak dye that is resting on the leather's surface. Just as a reminder, since leatherette isn't actually dyed, no dye comes out of leatherette, it just gets really soft and plush after you finish sanding. Alternatively, when you put prepping agent on real leather and start sanding it, dye will just start liquifying and coming off. It is a fairly intense sight actually, my tan leather turned gray in spots after prepping agent. Official Leatherique instructions don't really specify how much you are supposed to sand, they just say not to make the leather into suede. I sanded mine until about 50-60% of the dye was out, afterwards the leather felt really plush and had a slight roughness to it. Some people will sand with 600 grit but I chose to sand with 1000 grit because 600 was a bit scary in my mind. The point of sanding is to get as much dye out of the leather because in essence, the leatherique dye is replacing your existing dye, so you want to have a clean slate for the dye to set in. But be careful, if you sand too much or too heavily, your leather will lose its grain and look almost nappa like, which is not good in this case. So let's do it, pour some Pristine Clean into a glass bowl and get maybe some 1000 grit sandpaper, again, whatever number sandpaper you feel comfortable with. The finer the grain, the longer it might take to achieve optimal results, that's the only difference. So dip your sandpaper into the bowl and start to wetsand the leather. You don't want to completely score your leather with sandpaper, this isn't a competition to see how much dye will come out. You just want to work the Prepping Agent into the leather and let IT take out the bad or weak dye on its own. You do not want to sand so hard that you remove the texture from the leather and create suede. Remember, this step is for getting the best possible palette for your new dye to lay on. You wouldn't want your new dye to stick to bad dye, what if the bad dye failed down the line? That is the point of Prepping Agent. After you have finished sanding with Prepping Agent, it's almost time to dye. Wait about 15 minutes after you have finished sanding, now it's time for dye!

*

*So you are ready for dye. For my black leatherette seats, I found that 5 coats was necessary to make it look absolutely perfect. 4 coats and you could still see some black through the dye. For the tan leather on other parts of my car, 4 coats was plenty.

*

*There is a lot of talk about diluting the dye before you apply it and the methods for application. I didn't have any fancy airbrushes or spray setups so I resorted to the old school yet tested method of applying the dye using a brush. It works beautifully, let me just say that. When you get your dye bottles, they will more or less be a concentrate. You shouldn't and don't need to apply the dye to the seats like it is right out of the bottle. Right out of the bottle, the dye is very thick, it might not seem like it but it really is when you start dyeing. It lays down very thick and as a result, you don't have as many coats to work with when trying to even out the dye from brush marks, etc. I diluted the dye with 20% water to start with. I found that it got it to fairly workable consistency without making the dye too thin for application. You MUST use distilled water or at the very least, bottled water. Tap water contains too many contaminants and can possible discolor the dye.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
*

*It might be counterintuitive to you but don't buy foam brushes, buy artist acrylic brushes: 3/4" - 1". You may think that the foam brushes will apply the dye more efficiently and without brush strokes but that isn't the case. When I first started to dye the seats, I used a foam brush and ran into many problems. When using a foam brush, the dye will start to come out in micro bubbles when you lay it down. This is very bad, my instant reaction was to start blowing on the bubbles to pop them because if they were left to dry, the finished dye outcome would be very rough and not very pleasing. Trust Leatherique's instructions and buy those acrylic brushes. Though they are expensive, they get the job done right. Also, you may think to buy the largest brush head you can find so you lay the dye down quickly, do NOT do this. Buy a small brush head, you will be rewarded in the end when you need to do the seat stitching and hard to reach areas.

*

*When dyeing, do NOT stop in the middle of a panel, make it to the closest seam and stop. If you get bubbles or heavy spots of dye, blow on them to even them out.

*

*You might think that you will get brush marks, swirls, etc when the dye dries, but just be patient, they will even out. The WORST mistake I made while dyeing was trying and touching up half dried dye, it scuffed up and make a mark when dry. If you mess up, DONT touch it. Let it dry and wetsand out w/ 1500 grit or whatever fine grit sandpaper you feel comfortable with. Then apply another light coat of dye after sanding. It will even out, I promise.

*

*When dyeing, you will notice that the dye separates very quickly. It's probably against the laws of physics to you but it's the truth. You will get some dye on your brush and brush it on for a bit, then go back to get more dye and the dye will have already separated. You need to keep stirring the dye before you go and paint with it. Don't just blindly dip your brush in the dye and keep painting it on, you will not get the correct percentage of dye solution on the brush. This may cause blotches after the dye has dried.

*

*If you are completely dyeing front seats on your BMW, take the seats apart. I know people who have done dye jobs with their seats together but I don't know how they did it 100%. I did my drivers seat in one piece and after the dye had dried, I realized that the seams where the seat cushion met the back were nearly stuck together where the dye had dried and they were going to be messed up. I took them apart and they were horrible, the dye had made the leather stick to itself and I had to rip it apart, breaking the dye. I had to go back and wetsand with 1500 grit sandpaper and redo the portion of the drivers seat that was messed up. I did my passengers seat the proper way, taking it apart and dyeing the bottom cushion and backrest panels separately.

*

*Wait about 30 minutes to an hour in between coats of dye. You want the dye to dry fairly completely before you go and lay down another coat. I just did both seats around the same time so I could just move from seat to seat without a break. When you have finally finished with the dyeing process, you must let the seats dry for a good 48 hours before you even attempt to sit in them. The dye must completely form a permanent bond to the leather/leatherette.

*

Well guys, that's about it. I used these tips and I feel like my dye job turned out beautifully. I have a thread with tons of pictures and more procedures and Q/A over on E46Fanatics if you wish to take a look at the progress. I am writing this 2 months after my project and the dye is still performing beautifully, you have to realize that 90% of the job is in the prep work. Dyeing is easy, it's the prep that'll kill you, haha. Just have fun with the job and don't stress out, it's not bad once you get going. Good luck and if anyone reading this in the future needs help, I'm leaving my contact information here so please don't hesitate to contact me in the case that leatherique is closed in the late night hours or if you just need to ask a couple of simple questions. Best of luck on your projects!
Maybe the mods should sticky this thread in the DIY section, just change the title to something more appropriate. I'll post my results here as well when I get around to doing this. The information in this thread is pretty universal so everyone can benefit from it. As I find more information I will post that as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Mr Cetrone aka CastorTroy has seen this cinnamon color in person and says it looks really bad. I kind of trust him considering his taste is somewhat similar to mine, so it might be back to the saddle brown
 
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