DIY Leather Coloring: Bag to black

Last Friday, I asked my sister to drop by this leather supplies store in Marikina Public Market to buy a leather dye. I had a DIY project in mind, but it was so simple that it would probably not take more than ten minutes of my life to finish it. Since receiving a Bayswater from more than two years, I have only used it less than five times. As much as I love Mulberry and this Bayswater, I just can’t bring myself to lug it around each time by the handles. I wanted a nice leather strap to convert it to a messenger bag and breathe new life to it and end its eternal damnation inside the storage bin.

I was previously using a strap from another bag, but the “canvasness” of it just felt so wrong. Mulberry does not sell separate straps unlike other brands (i.e. Louis Vuitton). And even if they do, we no longer have any Mulberrys here. Rustan’s used to carry it before and I remember looking at two Elkingtons and a nylon clipper. But look at me blabbering about all of these — if there were Mulberry stores here and even if they sell straps separately, I don’t even have enough money to spare to buy one. My point was completely moot to start with. >_< LOL

Bye bye brown - Mulberry strap

Bye bye brown

Re-dyed leather strap - Mulberry strap

Re-dyed leather strap

The smallest bottle available from the store was 350 mL. It costs Php 100 and it comes in different colors. I wanted black because, well, the Bayswater was black. Duh. The strap was dyed black from dark brown, but it was originally light brown when I first got it in 2008. Then after an unfortunate staining incident, I had dyed it to dark brown so that my sister can use it. But alas, the bag has served its purpose, and because of a couple of torn parts, the bag was finally retired. So I asked my sister to look for the strap so I can give it a makeover. Mulberry on Mulberry does not sound blasphemous to those purists out there, I guess.

I used an old toothbrush to apply the dye on the leather parts. I was initially worried of staining the brass hardware black, but I was able to wipe them off clean with just a slight scratching of my nails. I also thought that I needed two applications of dye on the leather for a better finish, but I was actually contented with the first coating. Besides, I have a feeling that congo leather is not plain black but has a brownish undertone. But don’t take my word for it! I am colorblind, remember? The brass clip buckles were significantly larger than the old Gucci ones and the straps of the Bayswater slipped securely inside them. I think this would hold better on congo as it is a very hardy leather. However, I am not too sure if the same thing would yield the same results on other leather types. Imagine doing this on delicate leathers such as the silky snake!

The separate Mulberry strap inside the Bayswater

The separate Mulberry strap inside the Bayswater

Mulberry Bayswater (Men) in Congo with a separate Mulberry strap - "mulberry philippines"

Bayswater in congo leather with a separate strap

A much better strap - Mulberry Bayswater in Congo leather and Red Wing 2913 boots - Mulberry Bayswater (Men) Philippines

A much better strap

I had a brainwave for refurbishing this strap when I saw Cara Delevingne in the recently-concluded Wilderness Festival with her oxblood leather Cara bag, which, by default has shoulder straps and D-rings for backpack mode on it. Again, I am not Cara’s biggest fan as I adore Lindsey more for Mulberry. But I would be kidding myself thinking that Mulberry would have her for more than three campaigns. Anyway, who needs a small Bayswater if you can re-update a Bayswater on your own. =D

Cara Delevingne with her oxblood Mulberry small Bayswater in Wilderness Festival

Cara Delevingne with her oxblood Mulberry Cara bag in Wilderness Festival



  1. Hi. Do you have the number or name of the shop? I also need to recolor a bag, and Angelus dyes are hard to come by and takes too long to order abroad.

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