IT’S FINISHED! How to apply a leather finish


IT’S FINISHED! How to apply a leather finish

Once you’ve crafted your leather design, you may well want to give it some kind of finishing. There are many reasons to do this, including:

  • Protecting the surface of the leather
  • Sealing in the leather dyes
  • Accentuating dye colours
  • Accentuating detail
  • Adding shine
  • Water proofing
  • Protecting from wear



Burnishing smooths the surface of leather and can make it darker and look more aged. It is done by applying pressure with a burnishing tool, or anything with a round, hard, smooth surface, and rubbing. It is often just done to the edges of leather but can be done to any surface. It makes the leather more resistant to both wear and water.


This is a great way to moisturise leather, making it softer and more supple and more resistant to the elements. It can be done with specialist leather oils or vegetable oils including castor and shea butter. The oil is rubbed into the leather and left for a while. Then the excess oil can be wiped off. Oiling leather usually darkens it.


Anyone who know how to look after their shoes knows what polishing is. Specialist polish is gently rubbed into the surface of the leather, left for a while then polished vigorously with a cloth or brush or both. Polishing nourishes the leather, extends its life and helps protect it from the elements.


Specialist leather wax should be applied in the same way as oil and has similar effects. It shines very well and can be done throughout the lifetime of the product.

Antique finish

This involves the application of soft cream colour that comes in shades of brown or tan. The cream is applied in different amounts to different areas of the leather – if there are carved details it can be used to highlight them. This process darkens the leather and makes it look aged. The process doesn’t offer any protection from the elements, so it is best to polish over the top when the antique finish has dried properly.