What dyes are used in leather goods and why?

The dyeing of leather and tannery, represents an Italian excellence handed down over time as craftsmanship and subsequently refined as industrial production.

Materials Used

The dyeing of leathers involves the use of a wide range of colors that take the name of “lacquers” divided into natural dyes and artificial dyes. 

Inside the natural section there are a number of woods from trees that, when assembled with metal oxides, give shape to different shades of color

For example, the red-brown camping wood, if left to rest, takes on the shade of light yellow, while if assembled with a copper sulfate the tone it acquires takes on the traits of blue and purple. 

Among natural dyes there are elements extracted from plants which, combined with salts, give shape to different colors. Let’s take for example the sumac plant. 

This plant assembled with aluminum salt produces a lacquer with a bottle green tone, or with iron salt it creates a black lacquer and with lead salt the color that will come out will be hazelnut. The examples are as numerous as the elements used in dyeing.

Artificial or synthetic colorants have now almost completely replaced the use of natural colorants, for a factor of optimization of time and intensity of colors. They are divided into “acid dyes” and “basic dyes“.

Acids are used for production and chrome tanning, deriving from sodium chloride. Basics, on the other hand, are formed from simple salts and are used for vegetable tanning such as drum dyeing.


There are several processes to dye the leather and carry out tanning, about which you can read more: here

Among the most frequent operations used as leather coloring is the Dyeing in Bottle, which involves the immersion of the leather in a barrel of color, to make the leather acquire an aged and shiny tone. 

The brushing method is more challenging because it is done by hand, with longer processing times, where the dyer places the leather on a board, passing a brush over it absorbed with color.

Machine dyeing with color spray guns, involves a machine that rotates on itself spraying a dye on hides automatically. Industrial method used to amortize time.

How is Florence Leather Market different?

Florence Leather Market selects first of all the best materials available and opts for a handmade, artisan workmanship.

Where it is not possible for a question of time, it always tries to offer its customers comfort, durability and quality for its products. 

If you want to read more about Made in Italy and the company reality of Florence Leather Market, read here.