Pre Dyed Veg Tanned Leather

Ok, I’ve jumped in feet first into the world of leather. Cutting has been a lot of trial and error, which is expected. I started out with two different veg tanned leathers from Tandy. One is pre stamped and one is pre dyed black. Got to experience that odd smell leather puts off when cut. The pre stamped leather is back to smelling normal, however the pre dyed one is AWFUL smelling. I washed the cut pieces with saddle soap after cutting. I thought the smell would dissipate and normal leather smell would come back, but it hasn’t. That awful smell over powers everything. I put together a wallet, finished the edges, and then ended up washing the whole thing with soap and water, but the smell is still there. I also found that the black dye transferred a lot while I was sewing. Has anyone else experienced this? Is there a prep/washing process I should do for dyed leathers before/after making items? Any special process for restoring that leather smell that people would expect? Thanks for any advice!

This is the leather I’m having issues with

I have no idea, just wanted to say that I bought some veggie tanned leather from Tandy (not dyed) and the smell was NASTY.

I honestly didn’t notice a strange smell when I cut leather…it smelled like burning leather, but I may just be used to that smell!

Someone suggested a salt bath (bag of salt - shake with item in it) for cleaning the sides of puzzle pieces, it might clean off the burnt parts of the leather too…worth a shot?

If my leather has gotten molded or something like that I’ll wash it with vodka (cheap, plastic gallon jug vodka) - it evaporates quickly and kills off quite a few off smells…worth a shot if salt doesn’t work?

Good luck


I ended up soaking it overnight in plain water and that seems to have taken the majority of the smell out!

I did some test cuts a while back with that same leather (red and blue) and did not experience anything beyond normal laser-cut, leather smell.

If you like it, you may want to watch the price. It was on “closeout” last fall (maybe late summer) for about half the price it’s showing up as today.

You’ll want to condition it after soaking it in water or it’ll stiffen up, but yay!


Not to be totally ignorant… but please give me some details on “condition”
I’m guessing rub something on it… but what?
Cheap version?
Good version?
Smells good version?

I find the cheap version is the smells good version = coconut oil, but some disagree on whether that smells good :slight_smile:

You can also get fancy and make one from beeswax. Lots of recipes online!

There are commercial ones; Kiwi makes a nice one you can pick up at almost any grocery store, also most shoe store carry it. Also Amazon

Leather is skin. Without the rest of the body to replenish it, it dries out. The conditioners will keep it supple and dark.

There are also cleaners that are mostly water with a little baby soap & vinegar, but only use those if it’s dirty

Have fun!


Super info, thanks! I’ve been using the commercial ones from Tandy. They’re certainly not in the cheap neighborhood of coconut oil :slightly_smiling_face:

don’t know if this was an intentional pun, but I laughed. :slight_smile:


LOL! Nope accidental…and also do not drink the plastic jug vodka. You will regret your life choices


Eventually the smell goes away but it’s definitely not pleasant while it’s there. I’m not sure if there’s a way to shorten the time it lingers. I can help with the dye rubbing off though. It needs to be sealed, I’ve always used Resolene to do this, otherwise it will never stop rubbing off. Make sure you water down what you use. One of the easiest ways to apply it is simply spraying it on. Unsealed leather which isn’t water resistant absorbs it rather quickly

Hope that helps


I work alot of leather and Tandy Studio sides are nice, but I believe they are oil tanned, not veg tanned. I have cut very small cuts of non veg tanned leather, and yes it stinks to high heaven…

I may be wrong,but you might wanna double check

I know they say “chrome free” but they are alot more water resistant than any veg tan leathers I have ever worked with…or it may be the oils in the dyes as well…