DIY project: that stubborn-as-hell dent on my leather bag

The other day, I was quite temperamental inside BPI because I was trying to immediately pay for the bag I won on eBay. Then yesterday, I was handed out a JRS Express 3 Pounder parcel and I was very excited to open it. My bag has finally arrived!

JRS 3 Pounder pack

It was as if Christmas arrived early and I was very eager to see the bag. It was very nice and I loved it a lot. Then upon closer inspection, I just realized that something was wrong with it as there was a horrible dent in the lower right-hand corner of the flap closure. O_O

I immediately checked the finished auction and I did not saw any mark on the picture — but then again, the location was cleverly covered by the strap, thus from the angle where it was taken, the dent wasn’t obvious. To make matters worse, I wanted to break a couple of dishes because the auction’s description mentioned “PREOWNED BUT STILL IN VERY GOOD CONDITION,CLEAN,NO FLAWS.

The Burberry leather bag with that horrible dent in the lower right-hand corner

Descriptions are generally subjective but I think we can all agree that a 7.5-inch dent in the front flap can be considered as a major flaw. I clearly misjudged the seller.

I was really annoyed because the dent was extremely obvious. On my way home, I have Google-d for ways to reverse, or at least minimize the damage with readily-available items because I have quite a low EQ and would not sleep until the flaw was rectified.

There were lots of tips online but they have different methods, and most require a handheld steamer, which we don’t have at home. And then, I saw this tutorial from YouTube, demonstrating how to remove a horrible dent on a leather furniture.


This tutorial was gold and I was very eager to immediately go home and get working on this dent. However, the guy in the video used an industrial-type hot-air blower, and I only have a basic hair dryer at home. A high temperature was needed to heat the leather’s surface, so as to reduce the compression of the fibers and I was skeptical that my hair dryer would be able to do that.

Also, a factor to consider was how long was dent present, and I had a bad feeling that this dent on my bag has been around for quite some time, contrary to a shorter period of moving a leather furniture cross-country in the video.

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly and a Hair Dryer to repair this dent on my leather bag

Also, I consider Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to be one of the best immediate remedy to virtually every leather problem I have had. I’ve read before that they do wonders to have a quick shine over some scuffs on leather shoes, and I even used it to speed up the breaking in process of my Doc Martens. The tutorial video above did not use any leather conditioner or anything on the furniture, but I’ve read other tutorials using some sort of conditioner in the process of repairing. I did a little improvisation and hoped that it would work and will not further complicate the denting problem.

So here is how I did my DIY leather dent repair:

First, heating the dent with hot air

1) When I bought it from the department store, my hair dryer is one of the cheapest available and it has an unfortunate habit of overheating and suddenly not functioning after more than a minute of continuous use.

Anyway, I used a couple of 30-seconds intervals of blowing hot air over the dent, the same way as the tutorial video did. The tutorial was also not kidding about the risk of burning the leather if not carefully done; and it even reached the point where the part being heated was more soft and supple than the rest.

Carefully bending the dent on the leather the other way

2) After heating the dent, I “countered”  its direction by carefully bending/folding it the other way. The purpose, again, was to uncompress the fiber but be also wary of not forcing the leather so much and form another set of unsightly dents.

Applying Vaseline Petroleum Jelly over the dent on the leather

3) At this point, when the leather was continually heated and more supple, I applied petroleum jelly over the dent. It is more advisable to use a leather conditioner, but as I was a risky DIY-er who liked to improvise, I gambled and hope that the petroleum jelly would work. =D

Blowing hot air using the dryer over the dent covered with petroleum jelly

3) Next, carefully heat the the petroleum jelly, following the direction of the dent. Repeat Step 2 and carefully bend the leather to uncompress the fiber. The soft and supple leather will eventually go back to its original texture and ‘hardness’ after.

After almost 30 minutes, I stopped and noticed that there was a slight improvement with the condition of the dent. But I could have gotten better results if I had a better, salon-type hair dryer (the bigger ones that can operate more than a minute), and if it were not for the fact that I was doing this DIY project at past 2 AM when people at home were sleeping. I was just cautious that my family might get irritated with the continuous whooshing sound.

DIY repair of the dent in the leather closeup - before and after

(Click photo to enlarge)

As you can see from the picture, the before (top photo) had a more obvious dent, with the almost  ruler like straight-ness of the flaw, as compared to the less obvious one after (bottom photo). I wish I could have done a better job but I personally think that it was an impressive improvement because the damage has been minimized.

Most probably, I will have another go later and see if the leather can be fully restored to its original state. I was still lucky, though, because the leather used in the bag was not extremely fragile and delicate that it was able to withstand considerable hot air exposure.

Anyway, anyone wishing to try out this procedure must proceed with caution and be extra aware of how the leather was reacting to the heat.

ETA (24 October 2017):

It has been almost half a decade since I first posted this entry. Can you believe it?! HALF A DECADE!

Just a quick update, this is how that dent on the leather looks now:

Five years after, the leather is holding up fine in this Burberry leather messenger bag

Five years after, the leather is holding up fine in this Burberry leather messenger bag

Got to say, this bag is in heavy rotation for the past 5 years, and the leather has achieved a supple quality to it. Very smooshy! I got to admire Burberry’s leather! But the dent on the leather has been barely distinguishable.



  1. Thanks, tried this with creased leather (not extremely creased, but noticeable from every angle making a bag of mine look pretty bad). Used the hot blow dryer, frequently rubbing the crease with leather conditioner and after about 20 minutes of this it disappeared. A hot iron with cloth in between couldn’t do it, but the blow dryer did. Cheers!

    • Hi! Glad to hear it worked for you! The bag which I tried this is holding up well too. Sometimes, I even forget that I did this DIY for it. 🙂

  2. I wonder if anyone has experience with a louis vuitton vernis. I too,purchased online (posh) and was a little too trusting of the seller. She claimed the dent was a reflection from the flash..nope.
    I wonder if I should use the dryer on the inside of the bag or outside. What an expensive mistake too make. Ugh. Help please.

  3. Wow- Love this! It’s a niche but specific set of results on “dented purses” that I found on google through a quick search. This wasn’t what I was looking for, but I’m pleasantly surprised to have found your article. Thank you!

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