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How to Repair Leather Tears and Holes

Updated: Feb. 20, 2020

Check out this leather repair guide for simple, DIY fix for tears and holes

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Learn how to use inexpensive, DIY-friendly repair kits to fix small tears in leather or vinyl car seats and chairs before they get big and ugly.

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How to use a leather repair kit

Leather Repair - reinforce fabric

Photo 1: Glue in the reinforcement fabric

Use a leather repair kit and tuck the backing under the damaged area to form a patch. Then apply adhesive around the edges and the middle. Let it dry before adding colorant.

Leather Repair - cure patch with heat

Photo 2: Cure the patch with heat

Touch the heating tool (included with the kit) to the face of a hot clothes iron. Then press the hot tool onto the textured mat and hold it in place.

Leather Repair - confirming results

Photo 3: Check out the results

The patch won’t be a perfect leather chair repair. But it sure beats the look of a tear or burn.

If you walk around with tools in your pockets, don’t be surprised if you tear a hole in your leather car seat, sofa or easy chair. If a perfect leather chair repair is important, call a pro to fix it (about $150). But if you just want to prevent further tearing, you can fix it yourself with a leather/vinyl repair kit. The leather repair kit is inexpensive, and a leather chair repair takes only an hour. But don’t expect perfection when you try to fix a leather car seat. You’ll still see the tear after the leather seat repair, and you probably won’t get a perfect color match. However, this fix will contain the tear and look better than a gaping hole.

Buy a leather repair kit at any hardware store, home center or auto parts store (one choice is the 3M Leather and Vinyl Repair Kit). Follow the cleaning instructions in the kit and trim the damaged area to remove any frayed edges. Then cut the backing fabric so it extends under the tear by at least 1/2 in. Glue it in place (Photo 1) and let it dry for the recommended time.

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Then mix the heat-set colored filler. This is the hardest and most frustrating part of the repair. But take your time and get as close to the color as you can. Apply just enough colorant to fill in the tear. Then cover it with the textured mat and apply heat (Photo 2). Let it cool and remove the mat (Photo 3).

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Required Materials for this Leather Repair Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time for leather repair. Here’s a list.

  • Leather/vinyl repair kit