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Changing black boots to brown boots?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Creeping Past, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Can this be done (a) easily (b) at all?
  2. I am sure that most of what is said in this thread can apply to completly changing the colour of a pair of boots
  3. Mr. Past-
    I'm sure you do not want to slap a coat of semi-gloss acrylic on your boots,
    so... you'll need to strip off the "black". This can be done in theory, then the boots re-dyed/stained to brown, with a leather dyeing/staining product.
    This, of course, for perfect results, will require the naked leather to be a natural colour, lighter than the colour you wish to dye the boots.
    The problem is, if the underlying colour of the leather is dark grey, or blackish.

    I stripped the colour off one boot, which was brown- I used acetone
    because I had some and it worked quite well. The colour beneath the brown
    was like "natural" leather colour.

    The question is- how has the leather been coloured- is it a surface treatment,
    or is it a deep stain..?
    I fear black, chrome tanned boot leather, will be black(ish) to the bone.

    I always fancied using high grade timber stains to re-colour leather.
    Never did get around to it. I still have an odd pair of boots- one brown, one naked.

    Try a patch test- see what is beneath.
    You can always dye back to black.

  4. Or break out the "Timbercryl" and a brush.

  5. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Thanks, BW. It was the two-tone shoes thread that prompted this one.

    And thanks BT. To my ears the acetone method seems sounder than the gloss route... :eek: :rolleyes: ;) :eusa_clap [huh] lol

    Maybe I should just relax and/or use the zen method: let black boots be black boots.
  6. If you do deciede to attempt the colour change, please let us know how it turns out. I would also recommend lightly sanding the leather like is mentioned at the very bottom of page one.

  7. Don't sand the leather- he's not listening.
    It's about removing the colour/finish(if possible)and re-staining
    and finishing the bare leather(if possible).

    You sand when you paint.

    I hope you're not painting.

    It takes a while before you learn that brown boots are just... better.
    More soul/le.

  8. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Nope, sanding's not on the agenda. As BT says, it's about removing colour.
  9. Corky

    Corky A-List Customer

    One way to change from black boots to brown boots...

    One way to change from black boots to brown boots is to acquire two pairs of boots, one black and the other brown, and to wear them on alternate days, while keeping a pair of cedar shoe trees in the pair of boots which are not being worn.

    From my experience applying dye to leather, two things stand out:
    A.) leather can be dyed from light to dark, not the other way around and
    B.) if you have ever tried to use black dye on a large project - baseball glove, saddlebags, boots - the dye itself has an adverse chemical reaction with most leathers. After you have put on enough dye to kill the natural color and get it black enough, the dye tends to dry out the leather to the point that you seldom want to use the item for the purpose for which it was intended.

    A much, much better idea than trying to make your brown boots black is to get a pair of light brown or tan boots, which originally look something like this:


    and wear them a lot. Then comes the good part...

    After they have been sufficiently beat up by wear and the elements to warrant some work, either use a dark brown or cordovan antique stain or simply use a staining shoe polish on them. This will have the effect of making the boots a little darker overall, while making any scuff marks, creases, or wear come out much darker.

    I agree with the lounger who mentioned that brown boots are somehow cooler than black boots, but antiqued brown boots trump both.

    The effect of having a well-worn pair of light brown or tan boots which have been antiqued or stained with dark highlights is hard to describe, but it beats solid-colored black or brown boots by a light year.

    The other important tip for boot wearers is to get some Barge Cement and to glue some leather covered foam heel pads or decent insoles into the boots. This simple procedure will make any pair of boots as comfortable as a pair of running shoes.

    Best of luck
  10. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    All very sensible suggestions, Corky. But I'm on a budget. I have my eye on some black boots that don't know they want to be brown boots...
  11. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Lookie here, CP.
  12. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Thanks, Tomasso. That seems both plausible and doable.
  13. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    But only if the shoes are made from full-grain leather. Top or corrected grain leathers would not be good candidates. One way to test if leather is full-grain is to lightly scratch its surface with your nail. If it leaves a lighter-colored streak, it's full-grain.
  14. For what it's worth, I tried this years ago with an old pair of combat boots.
    Yes, you can change the color from black to brown.

    Here's what I did. Soak the boots in a 50/50 bleach & water solution for a couple of days. Next, using a plastic scrub brush, gently scour the wet boots to remove the finish (not too hard or you'll begin to suede the leather). Most comes off, but some residual finish will persist. For chrome-tanned boots, the leather will be a greenish color from the tanning process. Allow to dry (greenish color will fade a bit). I then used Fiebing's Leather Dye to re-color the boots to brown (use a lighter shade of brown as this dye tends to be very dark). Finally, apply a sealant such as Tandy Leather Satin Sheen or wax.

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