Different Types of Leather Finishing

What Is Leather Finishing and How Does It Work?

All of the intricacies utilized to make a piece of leather into a finished work of art are referred to as leather finishing. The top artisans will devote years to mastering the sewing, dyeing, carving, and cutting processes required to create a product of exceptional quality.

Leather finishing encompasses all of the steps involved in transforming a piece of leather into a finished work of art. Top artisans will spend years perfecting the stitching, dyeing, carving, and cutting techniques necessary to make a high-quality product.

introduce different type of leather finishing

What Effect Does Leather Finish Have On Its Appearance?

The leather treatment will brighten or darken the leather's original color. If the leather is dyed, it will also affect the richness of the pigments employed.

The sun does not always get along with leather. The sun's UV radiation discolors undyed leather and fades the hue of dyed leather. Excessive sun exposure can also cause the leather to dry out and fracture. Some of these unpleasant sunlight impacts can be minimized or completely avoided depending on the finish utilized!

What Is The Difference Between Different Leather Finishes?

There are approximately 20 different leather finishes available. Only a small percentage will be used in the leather-related sectors. For example, aniline and hair-on-hide leather treatments are never used in automobiles but are widespread in upholstery and other home furnishings.


Aniline leather, commonly known as "bare leather," is one of the most basic leather treatments available.

Aniline leather is dyed using soluble, transparent aniline dyes. These colors enable the natural grain of the leather to show through, as well as any character markings on the hide.

Aniline leather is prone to light, water, and mechanical damage due to the lack of a protective coating. I adore the warm feel and natural appearance of aniline leathers, but I wouldn't use them in any high-traffic or high-usage situations.


Most artists and commercial enterprises consider semi-aniline to be one step below aniline in terms of quality. A primer is applied to semi-aniline leather before a small coat of colored dye is used. This dye highlights the bulk of the natural grain while ensuring a more consistent color distribution.

After allowing the pigment layer to dry, a protective topcoat is applied. Semi-aniline leather is substantially more durable and ideal for hard-use goods than aniline leather due to the pigment and coat.


Pull-up leather, often known as greasy or waxed leather, is a semi-aniline leather sub-category. A thick coating of wax is placed after applying a layer of coloring.

Microscopic fractures emerge in the protective coating when the wax strains and pulls, enabling the lighter-colored pigment to peek through. Thanks to these microscopic cracks, pull-up leather has the most captivating two-toned look, which only grows better with age. The distressed texture of this leather makes it a popular choice among handbag and high-end furniture designers.

With time, the patina of pull-up leather changes and evolves. Damage to the leather's surface is unavoidable with wear. Pull-up leather's forgiving nature allows tiny blemishes to blend in and even add character to your favorite couch or purse!

Hand Rubbed

Like many other leather finishes, Hand-rubbed leather is also known by another name. Hand-rubbed leather is also known as antiqued leather due to its aged appearance.

leather finishing - hand rubbed

You should know that antique leather does not mean it is genuinely antique. It refers to modern products that are dyed to look antique.

What Are The Two Different Dye Techniques Used To Create An Antique Effect?

After the primer has been applied, a light-colored aniline dye is uniformly applied to the leather's surface. An uneven coating of black pigmentation is dotted, dabbed, swiped, or swirled onto the leather once this layer has been applied.

The antique appearance is more vivid when the dark pigmentation layer is uneven. The darker the final result is, the more dark pigment you use, and vice versa.

Trained craftspeople should only attempt this procedure. The output may seem clownish if the black pigmentation is not blended with the light color. Antiqued leather is highly treasured when done skillfully, especially for vintage furniture and artifacts.

Some artists choose to paint a black pigment layer over the light dye. A solvent is subsequently used to remove the dark pigment partly. The grain is brightened in the obvious places yet darkened in the recessed sections.


Pigmented leather is the most popular choice for high-traffic areas or goods that will be used often. On the surface of the leather, a thick coating of color combined with a binder is applied, followed by a protective topcoat.

Almost all hides may be effectively employed in the manufacturing of colored leather because of the excellent concealment given by the thick topcoat and pigment. Because it's so simple to transform hides into colored leather, this is one of the most cost-effective leather.

Is Pigmented Leather Long-Lasting?

This leather is the least permeable of the leather treatments we've looked at because of the thick pigment and plastic-like coating.

The more porous the leather, the more susceptible to oil and liquid stains it is the most stain-, soil-, and damage-resistant of all the leather treatments is pigmented leather.

Connected Grain

Leather is praised for its natural look and distinct scent and feel, yet, the grain can be problematic in some situations. Degraded leather is one that has had the top grain polished or sanded off, making it as smooth as a baby's bottom! Degrained leather is as bland and inviting as a milk pudding.

Degrained leather, on the other hand, provides a blank canvas for adding artistic and complicated treatments and embossing leather.

Split leather

Split leather is not a finish but rather a sort of leather. To truly comprehend the types of finishes achievable with split leather, you must first grasp what spit leather is. To make a more flexible soft leather, a hide may be split or thinned during processing. The top or grain-side layer of leather is usually separated from the bottom or flesh-side layer.

The top grain refers to the top layer that contains the grain. Top-grain is a thinner version of full-grain, whereas full-grain is a full-thickness hide. The split is the new name for the lowest layer. Split leather lacks grain, giving it a fluffy look on both the top and bottom sides.

Only the weakest fibers in the split remain when the top grain leather is removed. Split leather is thus made up of loosely woven, somewhat delicate threads. Due to its brittleness, split leather is readily ripped.

Split leathers can be thought of as the scraps of leather designed for use in high-end products. Splits can be coated or uncoated, although they're most commonly seen in low-cost items. Split leathers are one of the most affordable genuine leathers available.

different leather finishing

In Conclusion

Choosing the right finish for your leather product like leather jackets, leather shoes, leather bags, etc might be the difference between success and failure. The grain of the leather, color consistency and brightness, and the toughness of your leather item will all be affected by the finish.

Aniline leathers are the best quality and most costly, but they are also the most susceptible to stains and mechanical damage. If you want a certain amount of toughness without losing quality, semi-aniline is frequently the best option.