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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Part I can be found HERE:
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...02-Atacama-Re-dye-part-I-Prepping-the-leather



Ok, here we are, 18 hours later. The leather is thoroughly dry and ready for dye.


To dye the seats, we'll need:

Coffee. Coffee NOW.

Leatherique Atacama Dye

A mixing cup and stirring stick

A synthetic, soft bristled angled 1" brush
(http://www.lowes.com/pd_385652-40347-PB100LZS_1z0yyepZ1z11x70__?productId=3693266&pl=1)

Some terry cloth rags



IMPORTANT:

Pour the ENTIRE CONTENTS of the bottle of dye into your cup, and mix it there. The pigment solids settle out during shipping, and if you don't thoroughly mix it with a paint stirrer, all you'll have is colored water. I had to work really hard to get about an inch of sludge out of the bottom of the bottle, and once I did, and stirred it into the liquid, the consistency and spreadability of the dye changed drastically.

Also, don't shake the bottle, it foams up easily and take a while to settle out.



I'm going to start with the sides and work my way in. You can see how light the dye goes on, but don't let that scare you. Like latex paint, it goes on light so you know where you already painted. It will darken as it dries.

I'm getting as close to the piping/stitching as I can without staining it. I'll cut it in later with an artist's brush. As a general rule, I never cut in from above. Always from underneath, or off to the side. This lets gravity work with you, not against you. Rotate the seat as needed to maintain proper orientation.


What a difference already!


This is after two coats. It will require several more, but this was one of the worst panels on the seat.


Be careful not to let the dye pool in the cracks/seams. Run the brush along the seam and scoop out the extra, otherwise, it will dry and flake off in chunks later on down the line.


Another comparison between the dye and the prepped leather.


The panel between my fingertips in untreated. Its been tucked away under the seat, and never saw sunlight. The panel below it has been freshly dies.

Notice how well they match.

I'm happy!


This part is VERY important.
In order to avoid brush strokes, and to keep the dye from going on too smooth and making the finished leather look synthetic, I've been stippling the dye after painting each panel. This not only blends out the brush strokes, but builds up some grainy texture, especially in places where we had to do a lot of sanding.

Basically, you brush some dye onto the towel to make it damp, and then just lightly tap the leather in random patterns until you've touched every inch.


Bad picture, but you can see how I stuffed some towels into the seat front pocket to push it open, so I could get some dye in there without having the pocket touch it as it dries.


One coat down the middle of the arm-rest, and you can see the difference between that and the untreated leather (the thin strip on the other side of the stitching).


OK, all done with these two pieces. Going to let them dry as I move onto the seat back.


Same method, and several coats. I'm VERY happy with how it looks.


The bolster on the door side of the seat was heavily damaged, and required about 5-6 coats to cover. The stitching is shot, but I'm going to have it redone. That's why I didn't bother trying to avoid the white stitching; I just painted right over it.


The panel on the upper left is treated. the one next to it is not. Almost a perfect match.

But its not perfect, so the back of the seat is getting a very light coat, just to blend it.


All done.


Now, time to go back to the lower seat and arm-rest, and cut in around the white stitching.

I bought this brush for $3.49 from Joanne Fabric and crafts. The edge is perfect for this kind of work.


The trick is to load up the brush, and then run it out along the very top of the piping, until the brush is empty. Then go back, and work that paint as close to the seam as possible.

By doing it this way, you avoid the accidental drip onto the thread.


Even with a steady hand, i still had a few "ooops" moments.

I'll likely get a white paint pen and touch it up later.
(PS- the snow tires in the BG are for sale!)


Even though it is now dry to the touch, the instructions are very adamant about letting it chill out, unmolested, for 48 hours.

So I shall.

Did I mention I'm happy?


Compare to the interior when new:



This is a 16 oz bottle.

I used what, maybe 3 oz? I only need to do the passenger seat, and then light coats on the 4 door panels and the back seat.

I doubt I'll even finish this bottle on that, and I still have another 32oz bottle.

I think I bought too much dye.

Oh well, better too much than too little. I'll likely be selling some on Swedespeed to anyone else who wants to try this.
 

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Wow what a difference. You did an amazing job! How much time did you spend on this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
830am-1130am. And that was a relaxed pace. I recommend taking your time, maybe doing one seat at a time.
 

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Not bad at all. I wouldn't need to do my entire seat if I did, but I could definitely use a touch up here and there. Just appreciating your work!
 

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This was never about dyeing your seats, it was about selling those snow tires...I see how you operate... :p

And amazing work!


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This was never about dyeing your seats, it was about selling those snow tires...I see how you operate... :p
Well, did it work? Interested? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Australia gets better labels than we do here in the USA :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will say that the center panels of the seat bottom are a bit stiffer than I'd like. I may have to wet sand them down and put a nice light coat of dye on.

The great thing about having the spare seat is that I have all the time in the world to mess with it and get the technique down pat, before I move onto the rest of my interior.
 

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Well, did it work? Interested? ;)
If my caR was a ski machine, I would, but alas I have an LR3 for that duty. And I live in the dessert wastelands of waterless California, haha.


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Damn, those seats looked like hell to begin with. I am thinking the color is off in the photos, as my Atacama is more baseball glove colored and the photos look pretty muddy. Not trying to be a PITA, but I posted a thread where a company came out and re painted my two front seats and I think they look way better, but my seats were not as beat as yours were. Bottom line, if your happy, it is all good.
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...-Glo-restoration-of-Atacama-seats-pretty-good
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Damn, those seats looked like hell to begin with. I am thinking the color is off in the photos, as my Atacama is more baseball glove colored and the photos look pretty muddy. Not trying to be a PITA, but I posted a thread where a company came out and re painted my two front seats and I think they look way better, but my seats were not as beat as yours were. Bottom line, if your happy, it is all good.
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...-Glo-restoration-of-Atacama-seats-pretty-good
Do me a favor. Compare your seats as they are NOW to your owners manual.

I'll bet you a dollar they don't match.

Also, compare your seats now to the Atacama pictures in this official Volvo pic:



Over time, the seats pick up a deeper, more orange color. I noticed this when looking at the progression of the color change from my own pics of the car.

This was my Atacama when I bought the car in 2008.



I didn't simply want to dye the seats the same color they are now. I wanted to RESTORE them to the original Atacama.

So, when I had the dye custom made, I sent them a piece of leather from the UNDERSIDE of the seat bottom. This is a part of the leather that has NEVER seen sun, never been sat on. It's as perfect a representation as you can get of what the leather is SUPPOSED to look like, as opposed to what it has aged to look like. And as you can see in pictures #8 and 15, above in the OP, the dye I used matches the leather that hasn't aged as much.

If you like the orange patina of your seats, awesome. I'm not here to tell you that you're wrong, or that your guy screwed up. But that's exactly why I didn't go with Color Glo or any other quick dye shop.

Do me a favor though: please let us all know how your dye holds up over the next year. I know leather dye requires a time consuming prep process (about 2 hours of working time with about 24-48 hours of drying time), so I'm wondering how they get around that to get you done in one day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, here we are 48 hours later. After letting it rest for a few days, I applied some Leatherique Prestine clean and buffed it out a bit. It's now much smoother to the touch, and the dye itself seems more flexible, and not as "paint stiff" as it did after 24 hours.



Comparing the leather sample that Leatherique used for the color-matching, to the finished product. Pretty damn close!


For comparison to the existing interior, I dropped the dyed seat cushion into the back seat of the R, along with the original owner's manual, which has been in the glove compartment since new.

The manual is the color I was going for.

The re-dyed seat is a MUCH better match to the manual, than the rear seat. Something about the original dye causes it to get really orange as it ages.

Some people like the orange patina, I do not. I will be re-dying the entire interior this winter, one seat at a time.
 

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Thanks for this write up, I've been waiting for someone to do this so I have a reference when I inevitably need to redo mine. Make sure you keep us posted how it holds up after a few months or a year.

However ther is one thing that I don't understand about the color. If I compare my owners manual to my seats it looks the same as your pic above (different colors), but the center armrest in the back is the same as the rest of my seats. The armrest hasn't seen the sun for probably 95% of the cars life I'd assume, so I'm not really sure why it wouldn't be the same color as the owners manual. Is it the same deal in your car awsell? I'm just trying to understand how and why the original Volvo color changes over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks for this write up, I've been waiting for someone to do this so I have a reference when I inevitably need to redo mine. Make sure you keep us posted how it holds up after a few months or a year.

However ther is one thing that I don't understand about the color. If I compare my owners manual to my seats it looks the same as your pic above (different colors), but the center armrest in the back is the same as the rest of my seats. The armrest hasn't seen the sun for probably 95% of the cars life I'd assume, so I'm not really sure why it wouldn't be the same color as the owners manual. Is it the same deal in your car awsell? I'm just trying to understand how and why the original Volvo color changes over time.
Same here. Not sure. But aside from the owners manual, look at the leather "straps" that wrap around under the bottom of the seat cushion, and attach to the frame via hog rings. THOSE are closer to the owners manual than to the seats. That's where I took my color sample from for Leatherique, and as you can see from the 2nd picture, it matches the re-dyed seat.

But again, we are quibbling over minor variations in the color. I bet if you take 10 Rs with Atacama, and compared them to each OTHER, you would see more variation than I'm seeing between my dyed and un-dyed seats. I think it was a year ago, I looked at a full interior for sale, and his leather was more orange where the leather was not worn, and more yellow where it was. Meanwhile, my leather is more brown where its worn.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted. However, its not my DD, so it wont see a lot of wear again until next spring. I'll update the thread then.
 

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Looks amazing. Great write up and thanks for the ideas regarding re-dye!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Earlier this week, I had the idea to use a white paint pen to restore the white stitching on the leather. Even though I used OxiClean on the stitching, it still didn't get as white as it was when it was new. I also got a little bit of dye on it when I was redoing the leather.

I ordered a White Pentel Paint Pen from Amazon.com, and it arrived yesterday, so I gave it a shot last night. After one coat of paint on the bottom you can see an incredible difference, compared to the top. I plan on putting two coats of paint over the stitching.


This is after two coats of white paint on the stitching. Totally worth the $4 and 20 minutes.


Then, I woke up this morning, turned on the TV, made some Cafe Bustelo, and repeated the paint pen process on the lower seat cushion.


I can't wait 'til it stops raining and I can install this in the R. I'll probably pull out the passenger seat and tackle that too. It requires MUCH less work, since the leather is mint, but the dye is just faded or missing (I made the mistake of trying out saddle soap on it a year ago. DONT USE SADDLE SOAP.)
 

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Wow, what a difference that paint pen makes! :eek: :thumbup:
 
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