Picking the right dye can feel daunting.
What’s the difference between Fiebing’s Pro Dye and Fiebing’s Leather Dye? Which is best for your project?
Well, luckily, it’s fairly simple and straightforward. Let’s break them down!
First, it’s all about the pigment. Both dyes are alcohol based. Pro Dye has an oil based color added to it and Leather Dye is tinted with powdered color. Due to the oil in the Pro Dye, you may also achieve richer colors.
Since both dyes are alcohol based, they can cause your leather to dry out after application. The oil in the Pro Dye causes it be less drying for your leather than the regular dye.
However, it’s suggested that you condition your dyed leather before applying your finish. Doing this means you really shouldn’t see too big of a difference in your end project.
So this may leave you wondering, why use the Leather Dye? Well, that brings us to difference number two.
Drying time! Pro Dye takes significantly longer to dry completely. You should allow for approximately 24 hours of dry time for Pro. Regular Leather Dye can dry in as little as 10 minutes and be sealed and finished almost right away.
These dry times can vary wildly depending on where you live. If you’re in an extremely humid area, drying can take longer. On the flip side, if you live in an arid location, dry time could be shorter.
For example, take a look at the picture below. I gave both dyes a 10 minute dry time, then applied a resolene finish in the exact same manner.
You can see on the Leather Dye it dried perfectly smooth. On the Pro Dye side, it dried streaky and is tacky to the touch. Even hours later, it still feels tacky.
Applying your finish on totally dry leather will ensure your finishes dry and set properly. You could use some deglazer to remove the tacky finish, but it will take the dye off as well, leaving you with patchy coverage.
Regardless of where you live, the Pro Dye will take longer to dry. If you are short on time and regularly producing a large volume of work, Leather Dye may be the better option. As I mentioned earlier, you can always keep the drying effect of the alcohol at bay with a good leather conditioner.
Once dry, the regular dye will leave some of the powdered pigment behind. You will need to buff it with a clean, soft cloth until the excess pigment has been removed. The oil color generally penetrates the leather well, leaving little to no pigment that will need to be buffed away.
The final difference comes down to price. Fiebing’s Leather Dye is less expensive than the Pro Dye. The four ounce bottles do not differ much in price, but you will notice the price difference in the gallon jugs.
Whichever one you choose, both Fiebing’s Dyes achieve their best results when applied to clean, deglazed, veg tan leather. Use a wool dauber, sponge, dip dye, or apply them via airbrush. Both can be thinned with a dye reducer and used with paint brushes for smaller details.
Both come in a variety of colors from light brown to dark blue. I should note that Leather Dye comes in a few more exciting colors (26 to be exact). Oxblood being a personal favorite of mine.
Remember that both of these dyes work best on natural, clean, and deglazed vegetable tanned leather. Using them on any other type of leather may result in some inconsistent colors and results.
Should you decide to dye leather that has already been dyed before, test your color in an inconspicuous spot. This way, you know what the color may turn out like before committing to dying the whole thing.
Both dyes are great quality and you’re sure to get a product you will be happy with. In no time at all, you’ll go from natural colored leather to beautifully custom colored leather.
Now that you know the difference between these two commonly used dyes, let’s talk a bit more about proper application. Check out our Leather How-To blog on dyeing leather here.
If you’ve got any more questions reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to answer them. Thanks for stopping by!