How to do Leather and Vinyl Repair Yourself

If you have a leather or vinyl couch, chair, or other piece of furniture, you probably live in fear every day of what might happen if that item were to rip or tear. If you call a professional for a quote, youre likely to be horrified at the idea of what they might charge you for such a small repair. But if you are emotionally attached to the item, you will want it to be good-as-new, no matter the cost. The good news is that modern technology and craft stores have made it possible for you to do your leather and vinyl repair yourself. Many craft stores and giant stores like Wal-Mart and Target carry heat and no-heat leather and vinyl repair kits. Have a kit at home when your emergencies spring up will make you feel in charge of the situation, and it can be repaired that same day. There are a couple different kinds of kits for you to choose from, including heat repair kits, no-heat repair kits, and high-grade repair glue.

For very small nicks in your furniture or upholstery, you can purchase high strength leather and vinyl repair glue. The air dry fix dries clear and blends with colored materials and will dissolve the surface of the vinyl to create the bonding fix.

For most small jobs, a store bought leather and vinyl repair kit will be sufficient.  Or, if you really have the time and desire, you can create your own to kit to keep at home. With a few simple items, you can be prepared for any leather or vinyl damage. To create your own kit, youll need:

  • Fabric glue and/ or glue applicator
  • Backing fabric, such as linen
  • Tracing paper
  • A matching vinyl and leather color for each of the different pieces in your home

The most difficult part of creating your kit will be finding the matching color of leather or vinyl. First, check your local craft stores, which carries most standard colors like black, brown, and white.  If you cant find a match in a store, you can contact the manufacturer and ask for a sample piece of that fabric. Most manufacturers are happy to oblige their customers with a sample, but in a worst case scenario situation, you can simply cut a piece from the under or behind the item, or from any other place that a new hole cant be seen by your visitors.

The first step for your leather and vinyl repair is to change the shape of the damage. Youll need to create a round hole with clean edges by using a scissor or razor knife. The best tool to use for a tracer would be a button or a coin the a little bit larger than the damaged area. Then, use fabric glue to stick the leather or vinyl patch to a piece of linen the same size. After that, glue the linen fabric backing to the damaged area, and place a heavy object like a paper weight or large book on the area while the glue sets. 

If youre using a store bought, no-heat leather and vinyl repair kit, the price is pretty reasonable at Wal-Mart and Target, but you will want to practice doing the repair a few times before you do the real one. After youve mastered the repair, a no-heat kit repair will do a decent job making your furniture or upholstery look like a cohesive unit once again. However, some users of the no-heat kit have claimed that you can tell the repair is homemade. For something to look completely like-new, you might want to consider the extra cost of hiring a professional for the leather and vinyl repair.