9 Powerful Ways on How To Make Patent Leather Matte at Home

Patent leather is common in the market nowadays and you will see them on items such as leather shoes, leather bags, and even leather furniture. Having a glossy and shiny finish on any leather is not a bad thing but you might be growing tired of it and you want a more matte finish now. Don’t worry, there are many easy ways you can de-gloss patent leather and we’ll discuss each of them in this article.

What is patent leather?

Patent leather is a very shiny type of leather. The shine is created by using a thick coating on top of the leather. The coating used to be made from natural ingredients like mineral oil or linseed oil. However, nowadays acrylic or polyurethane coatings are used because they are more impervious to chemicals and water.

How is patent leather made?

Patent leather can be made from natural or faux leather. Since there is a thick coating on top of it, it can be quite difficult to spot the differences. What’s important is the coating that creates its shine.

Patent leather is made by spraying or brushing on multiple layers of the coating on top of the leather. These coatings can have different properties like UV protection and gloss layers.

Why is patent leather popular?

Patent leather is popular because it’s usually quite cheap and durable. Compared to traditional leather, it can withstand getting wet. Raincoats and rain boots from the 80s often were made with patent leather as they were stylish and very effective at preventing you from getting wet.

Patent leather continues to be popular nowadays even though traditional leather goods are seeing a resurgence. Patent leather is very accessible and low-maintenance for people that aren’t leather enthusiasts.

Can you remove the shine from the patent leather?

Absolutely. There are many ways for you to lessen the shine on patent leather and even make it matte. Although the glossy surface of this type of leather finish can be hard to remove, you can still strip it off layer by layer until you achieve your desired outcome.

How to make patent leather less shiny

Patent leather items have a very glossy finish to them that a lot of people love. However, when overdone, it can look tacky and cheap. So if you want to lessen the shine of your patent leather or you just want a new look to it, you can check out these easy methods below on how you can make your item look less shiny:

1. Using your patent leather item regularly

It’s a no-brainer that if you want to make your leather item look well-used but properly cared for, you just need to use it regularly. If you own a patent leather item and you’ve used it for a long time, you’ve probably noticed it becoming duller over time. There’s no downside to this because you get your money’s worth and your leather goods develop more character the more you use them.

Wearing out your patent leather and exposing it to different environments is an easy way to lessen its shine on it. However, if you want immediate results, then this method will not work because obviously, it takes time to wear a leather item out.

2. Washing your patent leather item with soap

Patent leather is generally made to be water-resistant for good reasons but, because of this, it might be difficult to get rid of the shine without stripping off that layer first. This will only work if your patent leather uses traditional coating materials instead of modern plastic ones.

Soap will not remove the glossy layer if it is made of polyurethane, but it will remove oil or wax-based coatings. This information may be hard to find, but you can test if it works or not. If nothing changes after the soap, that means it’s not wax or oil-based.

Things you will need:

  • Dish soap
  • Microfiber towels
  • Plastic container
  • Warm distilled water

Steps:

  1. Fill the plastic container with lukewarm water and add about 5 drops of dish soap.
  2. Mix it up to form a lather and soak your soft cloth into the solution. Wring it out to remove the excess water.
  3. Wipe the surface of the patent leather with the dish soap solution.
  4. Get another microfiber cloth and dampen it with water only to remove the soapy residue left on the surface.
  5. Let it completely dry and you should see that the glossy finish looks a bit duller.
  6. If you want it to look duller, you can repeat the process after a few days so your leather item can breathe before getting wet again.

3. Using petroleum jelly to remove the shine on patent leather

Petroleum jelly is a great way to make synthetic coatings matte. If the soap methods or other methods are meant for natural coatings, then this might do the trick. Petroleum jelly can chemically interact with the coating and weaken it, allowing you to rub it away and leave a less shiny finish.

To use petroleum jelly, simply apply it to the item. Avoid any stitching as it may weaken those and eventually cause your item to fall apart unnecessarily over time. The petroleum jelly works very slowly, so you’d have to leave it for at least 10-12 hours or even longer if it doesn’t work.

After waiting, you may wipe off the petroleum jelly and it will have removed the glossiness of your patent leather item. This method will not remove the coating, it will only affect its surface texture so you’re not actually exposing the leather underneath which may be a good thing as it retains its waterproof properties.

4. Leather cleaner with a matte finish

Using a leather cleaner that leaves a matte finish is also another effective yet safe way to lessen the shine on patent leather. Since these products are specially made for leather items, you can be more at peace knowing that you’re not at risk of damaging your leather item.

Just be sure that the leather cleaning product indicates it has a matte finish since there are also others with a glossy finish, and you don’t want that for your already shiny patent leather. Matte leather cleaners can come in wipe-on or spray form so make sure to read the instructions first.

Things you will need:

  • Leather cleaner with a matte finish
  • Soft cloths

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Steps:

  1. Spray or wipe the matte leather clean on a hidden spot to check if causes discoloration. If it does, then we suggest moving on to the next method.
  2. Apply the product onto the microfiber cloth first instead of applying it directly to the patent leather surface.
  3. Wipe the surface with the cloth and buff it up using a soft circular motion. Don’t rub too hard as it can damage the material.
  4. Continue doing this for a few minutes or until you’ve reached the level of dullness you want.
  5. Allow the item to dry off completely before using it.

5. Scouring pad or sandpaper

Nothing like brute force and some friction can remove surface coatings. Whether the coating is made of natural materials or synthetic materials, abrasion can get through both of those and create a matte texture easily. Just be careful not to go too deep and damage the surface of the leather. We only want to remove the shine, not the leather’s surface.

Note: A scouring pad may be better as sandpaper may remove material too quickly. Scouring pads are able to disrupt the surface without eating into the material too quickly.

Things you will need:

  • Scouring pad (dishwashing grade) or 1800 grit sandpaper
  • Water
  • Microfiber cloth or clean cloth

Steps:

  1. If you’re using sandpaper, wet the sandpaper with water first before using it. This will make the sandpaper less harsh and prevent accidents.
  2. Gently rub the surface with any of the abrasive methods.
  3. Constantly check by wiping the surface with a microfiber cloth to reveal the work you’ve done.
  4. Continue to rub until you’ve achieved the look you want.
  5. Wash the sanded debris off and wipe the surface with a clean cloth.

6. Using rubbing alcohol to de-shine patent leather

Rubbing alcohol is very common in all households so this method is pretty straightforward since you don’t need much, just some elbow grease. That’s why this method to dull patent leather is fairly common. Here’s what you need to do:

Things you will need:

Steps:

  1. Dilute the alcohol with equal parts of water and transfer it to a spray bottle for easier use.
  2. Dampen the microfiber towel or sponge with the alcohol solution and start wiping the surface of your patent leather item.
  3. Don’t rub on it too hard and wait until the surface is completely dry before using it.
  4. You can repeat this process several times until you get the results you want.

7. Matte acrylic clear coat

If removing the glossy coating is much too risky, you can simply just add another layer of coating, but in matte instead. This will easily cover up the glossy coating and the matte coating will show instead of the gloss. This is a great method as it will remain waterproof and you’re not risking damaging the leather underneath.

Notes:

If you’re using Angelus Matte Finisher and an airbrush, you can add the finisher directly into the airbrush. You can also use a normal paintbrush to apply it.

If you want to use a different finisher, you should use the acrylic thinner if it’s too thick to use on an airbrush. It will also be better to thin it out even when using a paintbrush as you want thin layers.

Things you will need:

  • Angelus Matte Finisher (or any acrylic finisher)
  • Airbrush (Optional, but a better method.)
  • Paint masking tape
  • Small paint brush
  • Acrylic thinner (optional, only use on thicker finishers. Angelus Matte Finisher is thin already and can be used with an airbrush immediately)

Steps:

  1. Clean the shoes to avoid any unwanted dust particles or hair in the paint.
  2. Make sure to wear a gas mask to avoid inhaling any paint fumes.
  3. Mask off any areas you don’t want the clear coat to go to.
  4. Apply 2-3 thin layers of the finisher onto the item.
  5. Allow each layer to dry for 5-10 minutes before the next layer.
  6. Remove the masking tape and let the finisher cure for several hours before using.

8. Using a deglazer to matte patent leather

Leather deglazers are acetone-based products used by professionals to remove coatings on leather items if any work needs to be done on them. You can also use this to dull your patent leather and give it a new, matte look. However, you will need to redye your leather item as it will remove the leather’s dye with it.

It may be better to take it to a professional if you are not experienced with dyeing leather items.

Things you will need:

  • Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer (or any leather deglazer)
  • Leather dye
  • Clean rag or microfiber cloth
  • Leather conditioner

To use leather deglazers, make sure to apply them to a piece of cloth first and never directly on the material. This can be way too harsh and may cause unnecessary damage.

Rub the deglazer with the cloth until the coating slowly starts to come off. Since the coating is usually quite thick, this may take a while and it may require multiple pieces of cloth as it will come off as a gooey substance.

Once all the coating has been removed, you will be left with a very dull leather item. Chances are, your item has become discolored and you will need to dye your leather item. If you are not confident or have any experience in dyeing leather items, please take it to a professional to avoid any irreversible mistakes.

9. Acetone

Acetone can also be an effective way to dull your patent leather item because it contains a compound called acetone peroxide which acts as a bleaching agent. However, we’ve mentioned in our other articles how bleach is a big no-no when it comes to leather items because it will cause discoloration, weakening of the fibers, and dryness.

If you want to use acetone on your patent leather item, be sure that you are aware of the risks. If your patent leather item is made from real leather, then we strongly suggest you don’t use acetone to dull it. If you’re dealing with patent leather made from faux leather materials, then you may use this method, but with extreme caution.

Things you will need:

  • Acetone (nail polish remover)
  • Soft cloths
  • Leather conditioner
  • Leather dye

Steps:

  1. Add a few drops of acetone to your microfiber cloth. Applying it directly onto the leather item is quite risky so avoid doing this as much as possible.
  2. Test it out on a hidden area to see if there’s any discoloration.
  3. Rub the soft towel gently with acetone onto the surface of your patent leather to slowly lessen its shine.
  4. Don’t leave the acetone on the surface for too long and be sure to follow it up with a towel dampened with water only to remove acetone residue.
  5. Apply a leather conditioner if your patent leather is made from real leather to restore its moisture and prevent it from drying out.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has given you enough insights about how to lessen the shine of your patent leather item without risking its condition. As a general rule when it comes to these processes, always remember to test it out on a hidden spot to avoid ruining your patent leather and wasting a good leather item that could’ve lasted you for years. Please be careful with the methods listed at the bottom as they involve harsh chemicals and we do not want you to put yourself or your item in jeopardy.

FAQ

How do you make faux patent leather less shiny?

Making faux patent leather less shiny is much easier to do compared to having real patent leather. You can use acetone, petroleum jelly, or sandpaper to reduce the gloss of your faux patent leather.

How do you dull shiny leather?

There are many ways to dull shiny leather, but in most cases, it is best to take it to a professional. Dulling methods involve harsh chemicals that can damage the leather as waxes can be difficult to remove. One easy and safe way to dull shiny leather is to use shoe wax and buff it with a horsehair brush to give it a satin finish. Soap is also a way to remove wax, but it will take a while to remove it completely.