When I made this bag back in Florence last year, I got these stupid accidental drips of clear edge paint onto the bag, which turned out to be permanent (I still don’t know how to take them out, manually or chemically or otherwise). I had initially tried to remedy it by adding additional spatters to make it look like it was part of the design. It was acceptable, for the most part, but annoyed the hell out of me especially when people saw it and commented that it didn’t look like design at all :((
Finally, after some research for a different project, I came across the idea of just painting a full on design onto the bag, something like a wallpaper pattern, in order to mask the spatter marks. With that in mind, I set out to find paint that would be able to flex with the leather, not transfer color to clothes while in use, and have great color saturation. Angelus leather paint seemed to fit the bill, so after scouring their website for ages, I ended up ordering a box full of paints to try. Since I had never tried this type of paint before, I was wary about ordering too big a bottle, so it was a better arrangement for me to get several small bottles of various colors instead (the paints come in 1 oz. bottles up to 1 gallon)
I got a 12-piece kit (you get to pick the colors), and added a couple more that I wanted to try. They come in this cute box that you can pop out to make this little cardboard display stand.
Ta da. I don’t remember why I didn’t practice on some leather scraps first, but all in all the painting went great. The bag had previously been conditioned with saddle grease, so I went over the areas to be painted with some fine grit sandpaper first so the paint would get better adhesion. The first coat of paint gave almost fully opaque coverage, so I didn’t really need 2 coats except for some parts that needed it. It definitely covered up the spatter marks, at least! After the paint had dried (which didn’t take too long), I went over everything again with some beeswax and saddle grease (leather conditioner/protector).
After having used it again, I can say that the paint is holding up quite well. No chips, cracks, color transfers, or change in colors. The paint bends/flexes with the leather well, and it’s acrylic so application is not too complicated. A 1 oz. bottle costs $2.95, and you can also get the paints in 4 oz. ($5.95), pint ($16.40), quart ($20.80), and gallon size ($75). It’s a bit pricey, but I like that they have so many size options so that you don’t have to get more than what you need, and if you’re not going to use a whole lot then it’s affordable enough and worth a try.
I think that their target market is the sneakerhead community (people who would use the paints for sneaker repair and customization), but as a bag maker/visual artist, the paint definitely served my purposes too. You can get Angelus leather paint here.