The leather dyes market will be thriving at a rate of 5.50% between 2020 and 2027, reveals Market Research Future (MRFR). MRFR expects a host of growth opportunities in the market, as it will be touching a solid valuation of USD 9.43 billion by 2027. 

Introduction to Leather Dyes

Leather dyes can be described as dyes that have an affinity to leather and are used for coloring leather. Depending on the solvent type, leather dyes can be segmented into two major categories, namely non-water-soluble dyes as well as water-soluble dyes. The non-water-soluble types are fat-soluble oil-soluble dye; alcohol-soluble dye soluble in alcohol and sulfur dyes soluble in the aqueous solution of sulfide. Water-soluble dyes are direct dyes, anionic acid dyes, amphoteric metal complex dyes, dye leather special dye; cationic alkaline dyes, and triphenylmethane dyes of sulfite.

Leather dyeing is usually split into two categories such as dip-dye as well as surface coloring dye (including spray dyeing and finishing). Dyes used for leather disseminated coloring come under the D series; and the dyes used for leather spray coloring are in the SP series. 

Over the years, nappa leather and aniline leather have gained massive popularity. These are combined with various leather fibers with a significant level of fastness, levelness, color, and more. Garment leather also uses dye that is highly resistant to dry cleaning.

Types of Leather Dye

Based on the leather type being dyed, along with the color’s vibrancy one wants, there are some options available in the market. Some of these are:

Water-Based Dyes

Water-based dyes contain additives such as resins that help the color impregnate into the leather fiber. These additives coupled with waxes and oils maintain the leather’s suppleness. These dyes take time to dry, longer compared to the alcohol-based ones but generate no odor.  These also have a lesser rub-off compared to alcohol-based dyes.

Oil

Oil dyes contain an alcohol carrier, a lot similar to alcohol-based dyes however the pigment is present in the oil solution and not in powder. The oil facilitates a much more efficient coating of leather and penetration.  It takes a long time to dry, more than normal alcohol dyes, but much lesser time than water-based ones.

The oil solution in the dye also helps maintain the leather’s naturalness compared to the alcohol dyes.  There is more color compared to alcohol-based.  

Alcohol-Based

Alcohol-based dyes are able to readily penetrate leather, seeping right into the fibers.  The alcohol in the dye evaporates fast, leaving the pigmentation behind. The pigmentation is a mix of powder solution and alcohol. These types of dyes give off a powerful chemical odor and should, therefore, be used in a well-ventilated area. 

Owing to the fast evaporation rate, leather dyes are less pliable following dyeing. Following the alcohol evaporation, some pigmentation powder is left behind on the surface. This free pigmentation has a chalky appearance and can be easily rubbed off.

Leather Dye Uses

Common leather dye uses are:

Leather Touch-Up Dye

For minor touch-ups, a variety of dyes are available in pen or marker form that can be easily applied on the defective area, covering it. For bigger areas, repair kits or touch-ups generally comprise textured pieces that match with numerous types of texture as well as colors to mix and blend dyes that best match with that area requiring touching up.

Leather Dye Kit

Kits cover in-demand dye colors, applicators like sponges or wool daubers as well as a clear coat.  There are various kit types for diverse leather applications, including automotive, furniture, repair, and general touch up. Starter kits generally cover tinier amounts of multiple dyes, allowing one to carry out various small projects to understand which to purchase in larger quantities.

Leather Furniture Dye

Dyeing automotive or furniture leather requires several steps before and following the dye use.  Furniture dye sometimes comes in liquid form, while others are in paste form.  Pre-steps can include the removal of wax coatings or leather sanding, especially if there is a transition from a dark color to a lighter one. Post steps include applying or texturing conditioners using other forms of additives and chemicals.

Leather Shoe Dye

Shoe dye is usually alcohol-based, which is similar to what is utilized for regular leather projects. The application of this dye is a lot different from other types since this involves preparing the shoes by using acetone to rub them (called a deglazer) before applying dye.

Is Leather Dye Different from Stain?

Stains are known for their bigger molecular structure compared to dyes. This factor elevates the dye’s penetration rate into the top surface, and the leather’s body, and also gets easily absorbed into the fibers.  The stain stays above the leather’s top surface without permeating into the leather.  Stains are available in gel and liquid forms.  They are sometimes used along with clear coats that render an antiqued appeal to the tooled leather. The clear coat is put on the leather’s top surface, leaving the tooled and cut areas the way they were.  Then, the dried stain is applied to cover the tooled and cut areas; leading to the development of color contrast. 

Leather Dyes Industry Opportunities

The Asia Pacific remains one of the most lucrative regions for the leather dyes industry, given the radical surge in the industrialization rate across China and India. The high pollution level, rising disposable income and the mounting number of international players focusing on the region also enhance the growth potential of the leather dyes industry. The Indian leather sector is close to 13.98% of the global leather production annually. The country is the second-highest exporter of leather garments in the world, which makes it one of the leading markets for leather dyes. 

The leather dyes industry is extremely concentrated with a large number of companies competing on the basis of product quality and differentiation. In addition to large manufacturers, the market also houses a number of small developers who are also working on augmenting their business positions. 

Bottom Line 

Leather dyes are one of the best ways to not only add color but also dimension to various leather goods. They offer an easy option for crafters to customize color while providing creative and visual elements to explore, for a variety of leather items.