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We've been doing some leather work and we're using super glue to hold the edges together uniformly before stitching for a better hold.

The issue I keep having is that if there is any glue residue on the leather, the stain I'm using doesn't stain, and instead leaves a rather obvious mark where the glue is.

A few things I've tried:

  • Sandpaper - this didn't work well. It left scratch marks on the leather that the stain seeped into and it pretty much sucked. I used a fine paper but it still scratched.
  • nail polish remover - this worked OK but effected the stain. I had to do a couple rounds of using it across the whole project to make it uniform again. Diminished the effects of the glue but didn't get rid of it completely
  • adding more stain - this didn't work hahaha. just made my project super dark and some what blotchy which I had to fix with more nail polish remover.

Open to trying people's suggestions and reporting back.

  • Can you state the brand name? There may be brand-specific methods for removing it that aren't an option with others. – Catija Jan 4 '18 at 19:12
  • Geez good thing you asked that, when I looked it turns out I'm using super glue. Thanks for the tip, I've updated my answer. – EmRoBeau Jan 4 '18 at 19:42
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    @Nothingismagick that's not a solution... it's already done. – Catija Jan 5 '18 at 1:06
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    Have you tried to use some tape on top of the leather, to protect it? – n1kkou Jan 5 '18 at 8:23
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    Don't know if this would work, but I've seen a super glue remover at the hardware store. // I've seen rubbing alcohol recommended as a leather cleaner. – aparente001 Jan 8 '18 at 2:28
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Take a scrap piece of leather and apply several dots of glue to it, then let them dry. Once they are dry, try each of the following solvents to see which ones remove the glue with a minimum of discoloration to the leather. Then stain the leather to see how the solvent treated leather accepts color.

  • clean water,
  • water with dish-soap,
  • rubbing alcohol,
  • acetone (nail polish remover)
  • dilute ammonia
  • dilute bleach

Never mix the solvents with each other. Apply each solvent to a separate dot of dried glue using a q-tip or folded paper towel.

  • thank you for the suggestions, the only thing I could think to use instead of nail polish remover was paint thinner – EmRoBeau Jan 4 '18 at 19:35
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These are all just guesses.

Give the nail polish remover more time to dissolve the glue. Give the nail polish more time to dry before staining. Try vinegar as a solvent for the superglue.

Since sandpaper was too abrasive, try an art eraser, Softscrub, toothpaste, or shaving the glue away with a blade

If the glue is only visible on the edges of the leather pieces, then stitch over it to hide it.

Seal up the scratches before staining, by buffing or conditioning the leather. Try a different application of the stain, to control it better. Dilute it, or apply with a dry brush.

  • shaving away with a blade might be a great alternative if done carefully. I did use a moisturizer / conditioner on the leather after using the sandpaper but the depressions left were still deep enough that the stain settled. Great suggestions – EmRoBeau Jan 5 '18 at 13:15
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There are quite a lot of different superglues (cyanoacrylates), but many come off in boiling water. You may need to scrub, but hopefully no soak for long. How well the leather handles this is another matter.

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Personally I love the adhesive remover that and other places use the called they removed any kind of of it he said from anywhere from the body to colored hair, wood, glass, an even on some leather that I needed a very small place of adhesive removed so I applied it with the q-tip ! An this stuff is acetone free ! But also try other adhesive remover like Goof-Off & ect... I would also get a scrap piece of leather and try rubbing alcohol because I know it removed paint and glue from clothes an everything else; so you most likely have a little scrap piece of leather lying around that you could try it on !! But now I always put a leather protectant spray on my leather a day or so before I do any Leatherwork just to help them so they have a little more resistantance to any mistakes are accident that I might make

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There are a lot of good answers here. Since we are a "working" Leather shop I think we can add to the comments.

  1. My wife says to use leather-specific double sided tape instead of superglue, it's stronger then the fabric type. Tandy carries it or plain Scotch double sided tape, Stationary Supply has it too, look for 3M. (Tandy holds firmer, not a winning point for your application usage.)

  2. Our experience is that, first, Use Veg tanned leather only. Note that you can usually always go darker, but not lighter, unless your using acrylic paint Blick's Art Supplies carries a new leather paint called Angelus, (3.99 a color)more variety of colors and absorbs into leather better then any other paints. The nude areas that need dye are best by applying it with an air brush, I use an Iwata, but the economical ones do a passable job. Dobbers, paint brushes leave streaks or blotches I have never been able to use those yet. My wife reminded me to just use Make-up sponges, you can find them easiest at the 99cent store a bag for $1.00 for 20 -36 small Little wedges, use and discard, dye goes on smooth, or any store that sells make-up, Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc will also have them. Some folks use a rag with some thinning agent on the rag first then the dye. As mentioned be Very careful mixing solvents, i wouldnt use same rag in mixing. They are highly combustible. Another "trick" is to Wet the leather with the solvent to create a "Marbled" look, drawback is that it dries the leather some. This can be counter acted by minkoil (will darken it deeply and soaks in be careful, try a sample first.) Best is Also a Product called Leather Amore, its made by Bee Natural, you can find them online. Please dont use ANY Leather products that contain Petroleum products. Labels will say. Good luck, happy manufacturing.

  • I just read your question to my wife who has 37-38yrs experience running her own Leather shop. Add a wide seam allowance and use either the tape as mentioned or use Shoe repair/leather craft cement, not the brown bottle one, carefully as anything on your finished area will block the dyes as you saw. – Greg Pilcher Aug 12 '18 at 16:51
  • I'm afraid this doesn't actually answer the question asked. – walrus Aug 13 '18 at 8:41
  • This seems to be answering "How to glue leather?" and the question is actually "How to remove glue from leather?". If you edit your answer to include this details then it can be left up, otherwise it may risk deletion. – user24 Aug 14 '18 at 15:39
  • Although he didn't really answer the question, this does help me with future projects where hopefully my sloppy glue skills won't be an issue anymore. – EmRoBeau Oct 29 '18 at 17:04

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