The DIY Mama : Restoration Of An Old Handbag


Guest article by Arti Thakur


There are times when we  are not willing to get rid of our old handbags. Either we are emotionally attached to them or because  they are expensive. Recently, I found myself in a similar situation. This particular handbag was one of my favorites and I had  spent quite a bit of money on that. My Wilson leather handbag was in my closet from last nine years. That’s right – good leather can survive more than that. Being light colored bag it had some marks on it. That’s when I stopped using it. But its leather was still in great condition and I did not feel like throwing it away.It was then I decided to give my handbag a try of restoration. I googled a bit and there was lot of information on net. 




Here are the things that I used:

Fiebing’s Deglazer




Tarrago color dye (105-turquoise) one pack




Fiebing’s Acrylic Resolene




-Small foam brush, earbuds, plastic sheet and gloves





Firstly, I cleaned the bag by using deglazer. This one by Fiebing is the best and it removes the protective coating, marks and makes it more receptive for new color (Tarrago color dye comes with a preparer but not that strong). A warning : The bag looks really ugly after this as deglazer has taken off all the shine ;))

My handbag was this color before(I am putting a picture of my check wallet as I forgot to take the pictures while I was doing it on my handbag and other wallet. When I mentioned this to my friend Monika in one of our conversations, she persuaded me to write about it)




The original color of my wallet and handbag.


After Deglazing,  I tried some of the dye on this one to see if the color is going to come out nicely.



Try a small patch before painting all over.


And then I used the small foam brush to dye my handbag and wallet. I had let first coating dry overnight and did the second one next day.I was amazed to see the results. My old handbag was perfectly new.

While dying the brass zip and buckle, the metal did get some color. To remove that, I dipped an earbud in deglazer and cleaned the brass part (I could have also used masking tape on metal part to save some time).

Once the handbag was dried I put one coat of resolene to seal the dye.I touched the handbag with wet hands but nothing came off. I have used this handbag with mostly white clothes and so far I have not seen this one bleeding the color(as this dye is acrylic based dye). At the end of the day I would say I am pretty happy with result.








Some tips:

-Always use a plastic sheet while leather dying.

-Use the gloves.

-Use the lint free cloth for deglazing.

Leather color dye is not meant for all kinds of leather (especially the shiny ones). I suggest you google before leather dying.

Fiebing’s color dye is great if you are restoring the same color and never forget to use resolene coating in the end other wise the color might bleed out.

Tarrago color dye is best for changing color of handbags as it is acrylic based color.

-Always dye on a dry day. High humidity and dying don’t go together.

-For sealing of the ripped edges on handles Fiebing’s Edge Kote is perfect.


You can buy all the supplies from ebay or amazon.

I hope you have got some idea on how to restore an old leather bag. If you have any queries, I would be more than happy to take them. Thanks Monika for this wonderful opportunity .



About the guest:




Arti Thakur is a counselor and currently works in New Jersey. Apart from running, she also enjoy books, travel, DIY’s ( some serious ones ! ) and crafts. I have known her for last 10 years and she is one of the best things that has happened in my life:))


  1. I have never thought of coloring my hand bags. So creative.

  2. Good tips! I have a thrifted Coach purse I should figure out how to restore. It was super cheap, but not in the best condition!

  3. Great post! Very creative!

  4. Looks nice. I never would have thought of this.

  5. Amazing! I usually just throw out my bags if they get too old, but now I can use your tips to restore them back to health. thanks!

  6. Great post! Will give it a try for sure 👍

  7. Impressive, Monika, I wish I had the patience… 🙂 Great tips though

  8. Why throw away old stuff when you can restore and use them again right? Good job!

  9. This is so creative. What a brilliant idea.

  10. I really love this idea. You are so creative!

  11. That’s a complete makeover to a bag. great.

  12. I never thought about doing this! Wow! terrific idea! I will definitely be referencing this for future use!

  13. That’s brilliant! It’s funny how you get attached to bags, isn’t it? I love the colour you chose too.

    • Oh definitely Tori…I don’t remember discarding any handbag ever. I love them so much !! Thanks, my friends has a great choice of colors 🙂

  14. Wow, that is really cool how you did that. I’m bookmarking this and saving it for the future.

  15. This is great! Thanks for the tip! Does is look painted in actual or does it give a soft finish? 🙂

    • It depends on what kind of leather you are dying.It goes with the texture of the leather.Mine was semi hard leather.When I touch my handbag it gives smooth feeling. So far no one has been able to detect that this one is painted.I get lot of compliments on the color…..

    • Thanks Sarah, glad you liked the tip. And I hope you got the right answer to your query too:))

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