Friday, May 5, 2017

How To Dye A Vernis Louis Vuitton Bag

I feel like I am running a center for handbag rehab over here. 
Two of my recent projects were eBay finds. 
The other was a piece in my collection that never got used. 
I'll talk about each in its own post.

I'm quitting my job.
I know I've told you but it's just so exciting to say it over and over again. 

How to dye a Louis Vuitton Vernis

I have exactly 9 more alarms!
I'm not a morning person. Just FYI. 

There were a few things on my bucket list before I quit and I have to become Thrifty Katie again. 
I'm always thrifty, so even though I have a wish list, I still want to snag them for the best price possible.

Dyed Louis Vuitton Vernis bag, Patent leather

Louis Vuitton has a patent leather color so perfect that it has been on my wish list since I started stalking their website 8 years ago.
Amarante is a gorgeous, deep purple/red color.

How to dye a Louis Vuitton Vernis

The Vernis line is more expensive than the regular canvas line.
Plunking down that kind of cash for a special occasion bag was just not something I could bring myself to do.
It's not clear to me why this happens but older Vernis pieces from Louis Vuitton discolored or got color transfer.

They are a bargain on eBay.
They are quite worthless in their current state but a few savvy crafters have found an amazing fix for these old bags.
When Bill is watching some television program involving outer space or grizzly murder, I'll watch YouTube videos.
I came across an artisan that re-dyes older Louis Vuitton pieces.
I binged watched almost every clip. It gave me the impetus to plop a Vernis piece into my shopping cart over at eBay.
I chose the cheapest bag in the style I wanted.

It arrived from Japan in about two weeks.

The inside of the bag is perfect.
It has no odors which is great.
Sometimes sellers will spray stuff with Febreeze. I can't stand that smell.

 Fiebing's Burgundy and Purple leather dye were the two colors used to get the deep Amarante color.
I hoped the dye would cover up some of the deeper marks in the leather.
Reportedly the dye would not cover up the shine of the Vernis - varnish in French.

The surface was rubbed with acetone nail polish remover to deglaze it a little.

The first coat was done in the red. The second coat was done in the purple.
The process isn't like painting. It is more like staining furniture.
Long sweeping motions with the dye dauber are best.

The red looked just like the Louis Vuitton color, Pomme. It's also a sought after color in that line.
There may be a second dye job in my future.

At some point the color looked copper before it was completely dry.
It was not the look I was going for.
I used a dry cloth to remove the excess dye that seemed to be pooling in random spots.
Once dry, the copper color disappeared.

Leather dye is a different type of liquid. It's very runny. Even though I was meticulous and careful some of the dye seeped onto the tan Vachetta leather.
I went ahead and dyed all the piping Amarante.

Dyed Louis Vuitton Vernis bag, Patent leather

There was no fixing that.

How to dye a Louis Vuitton Vernis

In 24 hours it was completely dry.
I haven't sealed this with a leather sealer, I want to see how it holds up. If it chips, I'll seal it with leather finish.

How to dye a Louis Vuitton Vernis

It's so pretty!
This is the Thompson Street bag.  It was made in France in the ninth week of the year 2000.
It looks good for something 17 years old.

Dyed Louis Vuitton Vernis bag, Patent leather

This would have ended up black if this mixing experiment had been a fail.
I didn't really need another black purse so I'm thrilled it worked.

Just an FYI. The thread took longer to dry than the patent leather.
Keep that in mind when handling the bag. (I learned that the hard way.)

How to dye a Louis Vuitton Vernis

How to dye a Louis Vuitton Vernis

This was so much fun to do.
Have a wonderful weekend.


  1. Katie,
    Could this be a new opportunity for a part-time job for you? Dyeing designer bags? This one turned out great.


  2. You continue to amaze me. I would never have thought of rehabbing a designer purse, but now I want to!

  3. Sounds like you may have a future business as the purse whisperer.

  4. Wow - well done! I was surprised that it was sent from Japan through Ebay - How did you know it was authentic? I see so many knock-offs on Ebay and they come from Asia! Enjoy your "new" bag!!

    1. Patti, it is actually not allowed to sell knock-offs on ebay. If you discover an item that is not authentic, you should report it. The Asian market is HUGE for designers. IN FACT, the Asian market typically gets these designer bags BEFORE the US market - just like cell phones are typically released in Asian markets BEFORE the US market! We are NOT at the top of the pile for those types of things. Anyway, to tell real Louis Vuitton bags on eBay, or anywhere else, you look at the pictures and the authentication tag in every bag. Most designer bags have identifying tags. From Fendi to Louis Vuitton, you can tell if a bag is real or fake by that tag and knowing about the line.

  5. What a beautiful job, Katie! I love how shiny it turned out. When you had the paint on it looked flat; did you add anything to bring the shine back?
    I'm visiting from Wow Us Wednesday Link Party.
    ~ Megin of VMG206

  6. This is great to know! BTW how did you know the date and where it was made?

    1. All authentic Louis Vuitton bags have a tag that has the date inside of them. If a bag doesn't have that tag, it absolutely is not authentic.

    2. Having a date code DOES NOT mean the purse is authentic. These individuals who produce the super fakes have everything from the date code, dustbag, boxes and fake receipts to fool the buyer. Most of these sites that sell in bulk are from China. Just go on Poshmark site and shop louis Vuitton. You will see sellers who have 30 bags "all new with tags". And if you know LV you will see these bags are from different decades. Its impossible to have NWTS. If there is a tag attached to the bag it's fake. So there is your first tip off. Gucci is another one. You will see the newest tshirt reproduced from China and it will be in 8 different sellers closet from $200-300 dollars. You need to educate yourself on what you would like to buy. If in doubt. Talk to a professional. Not some girl who sells on Poshmark. There are more fakes on Poshmark then ebay. So many things go into authenticating a bag. The heat stamp, the lining, hardware, the fonts used,the origin of where and when the bag was made ect.

    3. Bags made in the 70's and early 80's do not have date codes. Yet, they are authentic

  7. I was so happy to find this blog! I just bought the same LV vernis bag in gold and have not found a bag restoration company that will restore this bag for me. It's in great overall condition except for the discoloration. Do you have a particular recommendation for gold dye on vernis?

  8. Wow! I am going to attempt to do this now :)

  9. These ones are very popular and are worn over the shoulder. It is a popular accessory of women. Tote bags are also known as handbags or evening bags. luxury travel bag

  10. Did you do the inside too? With the same product?

  11. In your opinion, Do you think could you dye the denim pink bag that louis Vuitton makes?

  12. Loved it, I have the same bag in baby blue from 1999 and want to do this

  13. I have a Vernis Brea, I took it to my local shoe repair store (they dye any leather good) but the Louis - they won't touch! Could I pay you to dye my bag for me?

  14. Hi , great job that’s amazing. I have a question , the color stays on bag ? Or do you constat transfers v

    1. The color stays on fine. I've had no issues with transfer.