Painting Leather Bag Straps in 3 Easy Methods: DIY Duffel Strap Makeover

As a frequent traveler, your trusty duffel bag has been by your side on many adventures. While its leather straps were once supple and sturdy, years of use have caused them to become worn, faded, and even cracked in spots. Rather than investing in an entirely new bag, you’ve decided to give your faithful companion a refresh by Painting Leather Bag Straps. 

With some acrylic leather paint, a few basic supplies, and a little time, you can restore your duffel’s straps to like-new condition. In just four easy steps, you’ll have vibrant, durable straps and a bag ready for your next trip. Before you know it, your customized duffel will look as well-traveled as you.

Prepping Leather Duffel Bag Straps for Painting  (Method 1)

Prepping Leather Duffel Bag Straps for Painting (Method 1)

To prepare your leather duffel bag straps for painting, you’ll need to clean and condition them first. This provides a suitable base for the paint to adhere to and prevents cracking.

Cleaning the Straps

Use a commercial leather cleaner or a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Gently wipe down the entire surface of the straps with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Rinse thoroughly with water and pat dry with a towel. Allow the straps to air dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Conditioning the Leather

Apply a leather conditioner or balm with a lint-free cloth, massaging it into the leather. Let it soak in for at least 30 minutes. This nourishes the leather and restores suppleness and strength. Wipe away any excess with a clean, dry cloth.

Lightly Sanding

Once conditioned, you may need to lightly sand the straps to provide “tooth” for the paint. Use 400-grit sandpaper and gently sand in small circular motions. Vacuum away dust with a brush attachment. Be very careful not to damage the leather.

Protecting Hardware

Cover any hardware pieces like buckles, clips or rivets with painter’s tape to prevent paint splatters. Secure the tape firmly in place, as you’ll be manipulating the straps during the painting process. Your leather duffel bag straps are now properly prepped and ready for painting. With the right preparation, you’ll achieve professional-looking results and a durable finish.

Choosing the Right Paint for Leather Straps  (Method 2)

When painting leather bag straps, choosing the right paint is critical to achieving an attractive, durable finish. For DIY projects, acrylic paints and sealants are optimal.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is water-based, so it adheres well to leather and provides good coverage in 2-3 coats. Look for paint specifically meant for leather or fabrics. Thin the paint slightly with water for the first coat, then apply 2-3 full-strength coats, letting each dry completely. Acrylics come in a range of sheens from matte to glossy. A satin sheen works well for leather.


Applying a sealant over the acrylic paint protects your work and helps prevent cracking. Water-based acrylic sealants, like polyurethane or acrylic resin, are good options for leather. Apply 2-3 coats of sealant, waiting for each to dry between. The sealant brings out the depth of color and provides a durable topcoat.

You can revive leather bag straps with a custom color. Use the right acrylic paint, sealant, and techniques for preparation and application. This will provide a resilient finish. Take your time and focus on details for a polished and professional outcome. Your newly painted straps will give your trusted duffel bag a fresh new look.

4 Painting Techniques for Leather Duffel Bag Straps (Method 3)

4 Painting Techniques for Leather Duffel Bag Straps (Method 3)

When painting leather duffel bag straps, use these techniques for a pleasing result.

Lightly Sand the Straps

Lightly sanding the straps will provide tooth for the new paint to adhere to. Use 200-grit sandpaper and gently sand the entire surface of the straps. Wipe away dust with a tack cloth.

Apply a Primer (Optional)

For the best results, apply a coat of primer designed for use on leather. A primer will provide a smooth base for the paint to bond to and help prevent cracking. Allow the primer to dry as directed.

Use a Flexible Paint

Select a paint specifically intended for use on leather, such as acrylic leather paint. Standard craft paints and spray paints will not properly flex with the leather and are likely to crack over time. Thin coats of flexible paint, applied with a brush, yield the best results.

Seal the Paint

Apply two or more coats of a sealant like acrylic sealer or leather sealant/finish. A sealant protects the freshly painted leather straps and provides a durable topcoat. Re-seal as needed to maintain protection.

You can transform drab leather duffel bag straps. Just do some light surface preparation and use the proper painting materials. Apply thin coats and finish with a protective sealant for a custom accent. Take your time and be meticulous in your technique for professional-looking results.

Painting Leather Bag Straps Conclusion

Revamping your duffel bag straps with a fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive way to refresh an old travel companion and make it feel new again. You can transform dull straps into a stylish accent by following these four simple steps. The accent will complement your bag and reflect your personal style. 

With some sandpaper, primer, paint, sealant, and a few hours of drying time, your duffel will be ready to accompany you on many more adventures to come. So gather your supplies, pick out a color you love, and get started on a DIY project that will give your trusty duffel bag a new lease on life.

1 thought on “Painting Leather Bag Straps in 3 Easy Methods: DIY Duffel Strap Makeover”

Leave a Comment