Fix a Rip in Your Leather Sofa

Dog. DOOOOG!

Our dog punctured our leather sofa a couple of months ago and it was maybe 1/2″ to 3/4″ long. I wasn’t sure what to do about it and had put it on my “will get to it eventually” list. Fast forward to now. The rip has grown considerably. I finally googled how to address this issue, and wouldn’t you know, it’s quite easy. And would have been easier (and a much prettier result) had I done it straight away.  Blarg.

No matter, I did it, and though it looks a bit like Frankencouch (see last photo), it’ll do until we can reupholster it. Watch this short video on how to do it, and below is, well, my version of that.

My tools:  

-The white fabric/paper in the above photo (with pins sticking out of it)  is actually very strong interfacing that is used in drapery, called Buckram, that I happened to have on hand. The above link suggests that any strong fabric will do.
-straight pins, and small pieces of eraser to help keep pins in place in the buckram as you position the buckram inside the ripped area.
-leather worthy glue (try Shoe Goo)
-scissors
-small paintbrush
-paper towel
-heavy books
-hair dryer

I trimmed away bits of the Buckram so it would slide more easily into my rip.

I pressed the Buckram in with the handle of the paintbrush, making sure the straight pins landed in the center of the rip.

I think my couch is a leather laminate, if that’s even a thing – fabric on the bottom layer and leather on the top.  So I had a bit of fraying to trim back. You may not need to do this.

Apply glue on both the Buckram and the underside of the leather and spread around with paint brush. Follow the directions on your glue – if you need to wait 10 minutes before pressing together, do so.

Now, this is where I went all maverick. Because my rip rounded a bit of a corner, I was having trouble getting it all to lay smooth. I employed a bunch of straight pins to keep everything from shifting as it dried.  I forced the rip together as best I could, but, as you can see, you can still very much see the seam.

Place a stack of heavy books over top until glue is dry. Then blow dry the seam as it says in the video link above.

Here is how it looks today. Like it just got out of surgery, I know, but it’s so much better than a big gaping rip. Hopefully this will hold well until other arrangements can be made.

Have you ever tried to repair leather? How did it go for you?

Find some helpful tools for this project below.

View blog post for supplies

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  1. Frankencouch. God love it. lmao. Sorry, it was just too good to pass. You did a good job. My tear is at the top of my chair. Looks like it was sewn in the wrong direction. This won't help me unless I tear it apart. (which I have been known to do) More miles added to your baby. Me? I'll just throw a blanket over that corner till I decide to deconstruct. Thanks for the info. E6000 is also wonderful.

    • Yes, that is what I've ended up doing with secondary rips that have appeared since getting a cat. Not so couch friendly, but she has successfully dealt with our unfortunate rodent issue, so she's a keeper. E6000 is an adhesive?

  2. Thanks for the step by step. I'm wondering how the repair has held up? I'm thinking of trying this on my car seat but the rip is in a very tricky spot.

    • This particular repair lasted several months … until we got a cat. Now, all bets are off. I'd actually like to tailor a slip cover for this sofa, but there's a long list of todo's in front of it. For now, I'm just using a blanket to cover it up (and other tears introduced by the lovely cat).

    • Hi William. I used the bits of eraser to hold the pins in place in the buckram (fabric) as I placed in inside the ripped seam. The pins secured with erasers helped me make sure the glued buckram was coming in contact with the glued underside of the leather (I could gently pull up on the pins). Not absolutely necessary, but it worked for me. The main thing is to get the buckram smoothed beneath the ripped leather.

  3. Great idea. I would continue with using a dark brown shoe polish and brush into the area slowly to make it even more hidden. Polish the whole seat gently and it should be even less visible!

  4. I did some research and found a leather repair kit from a leather shop. (https://www.furnitureclinic.com/Leather_Repair_Kit.php) from a company called Furniture Clinic
    It has the backing leather glue that is heat activated, (which is perfect when you are trying to get everything line up just perfect). I also comes with a spackle that will fill in the crease to make it stronger. I decided to not use the interfacing that comes in the kit and bought leather scrapes to use in its place. I was afraid I would be repairing it again. (We have two dogs) Well it has held up for over a year so far. We also bought the dye kit, so it blends in real well. Our couch is distressed, so all is well.

    • This is great to hear. The first time I did this, it lasted just fine until we got a cat. I'm sad to say other rips have shown up since. But your technique sounds sturdy – certainly something to try. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I have found a good supply of colors in the wood stain surfacing and stuff you fill holes with. They are wide tip markers. You can experiment on scraps and find the right color. I combined 2 colors by mixing them on paper first and quickly add to light area. Wait til everything is dry. They are good on scuffs on shoes. Or touching up that scratch on the furniture.

  6. I slid another piece of leather under the hole then used pins to hold it in place while I sewed it closed with fishing line. The repair does not show nearly as much as the hole and has held for over a year. It is on the edge where people sit so has gotten pretty heavy use too.

  7. That could be redone and look perfect if done by a real pro, but because it's lower quality bi-cast (laminated) leather….reupholstering is NOT an easy Peezy thing, btw. The look of the grain and color must be matched, and because of the quality, many may not deal with it. Your cheapest option is to seek out the rare pro who really knows their stuff and have that redone…prepare to pay them for their talent, still cheaper than reupholster or pitching it's!

    • Yes, I support the idea of supporting the pros. I'm a bit of a trial and error girl, but going with a pro would have been a great idea if I could trust my animals not to be animals while I'm not looking. 😛 As it is, a homemade repair fit the bill for us.