Asked on Feb 01, 2015

Painting end tables with leather inlay

by Lorie
I have two end tables which I would like to paint, but they have leather inlay with gold scroll covering most of both top and bottom shelves. I make my own chalk paint and would prefer to use that to paint them with, but I am unsure about painting over the leather inlay. Will the paint crack eventually? Will it cover properly? Thanks for any suggestions.
  20 answers
  • Kim Steiner Kim Steiner on Feb 01, 2015
    I have the same tables! Was also wondering how to paint the tops. Hope you get a response :)
    • See 1 previous
    • Lorie Lorie on Feb 01, 2015
      @I read a couple of comments on line about sanding the leather lightly and painting with chalk paint. Sounds like a plan.
  • Susan Sease Susan Sease on Feb 01, 2015
    I have seen people paint the leather tops with chalk paint and it looks good. I'm not sure about how it will hold up but I think it's worth a shot!
    • Lorie Lorie on Feb 01, 2015
      @I will probably end up trying it. I am just worried that the paint will start to crack when I paint the leather part. Thanks for your reply Susan.
  • Sharon Russell Sharon Russell on Feb 01, 2015
    My aunt had these. She sanded and painted the legs and edges and then bought scratch cover for leather and touched them up. Personally, although she did a good job, I liked them the original way better. They're very classy.
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    • Kathleen Kathleen on Oct 09, 2016
      I have a coffee table I am wanting to do the same with--paint the leather inlay white and redoing the rest black with white drawer faces to match the top. I have been told i need to remove the leather totally but everything I have searched on it they all say to preserve the leather or replace it. I don't like anything about the inlay whatsoever and the vision I have is just how we want it. Have you done these yet? Find answers for painting instead of cleaning up or replacing the leather with new leather or vinyl?
  • Janet Manger Janet Manger on Feb 01, 2015
    There are several types of paints for different surfaces and I have seen people paint shoes but don't know how the paint holds up. There is stains to change the color of leather to (shoe repair shop). Can the leather be removed? You might be able to paint what is under it. If you do try to paint the leather, you might put a piece of glass to protect the tops afterwards.
  • Clbensch Clbensch on Feb 01, 2015
    Good idea about the glass tops, Janet. When I did mine, I cleaned the leather with a leather cleaner, then sprayed clear coat over the whole table, including the leather. Turned out well & made the leather waterproof too. I used a satin clear coat so it is not really noticeable on the leather.
  • CK CK on Feb 01, 2015
    I'd paint the tables in your DIY chalk paint but not paint the leather tops. Leather can be restored with several types of leather restorer found on the market. Need help finding a good restorer? Check with a shoe store that does repairs or a leather worker. My brother is a leather worker and you'd be amazed at how he can restore old leather items! I think painting on top of leather will eventually result in a cracked appearance because the leather 'gives' a little. I know you'd like to paint the leather white like the rest of the table....but I fear it may not be long lasting. Have you considered trying to stain the leather a different color? There would be certain ways to do that......I could ask my brother if you're interested ;-)
  • Kim Kim on Feb 01, 2015
    You might find some help in an Annie Sloan blog. I know there is one on Facebook. It is full of people with different experiences involving chalk paint.
  • Gnomee Gnomee on Feb 01, 2015
    I've painted 3 tables just like these with chalk paint then finished them with poly. I painted them all in black. They get heaps of use and still look brand new. You can still see the grain of the leather (vinyl actually) & I couldn't be more happy with them.
    • Lorie Lorie on Feb 02, 2015
      @That's the answer I was hoping for. I have seen this same information in a couple places on line so I am going to go ahead and paint them. I have great trust in my chalk paint and you have just reaffirmed it. Thanks.
  • Bella Nouveau Furniture Bella Nouveau Furniture on Feb 02, 2015
    I would paint the table but restore the leather top. They have products you can buy for this. It would look beautiful that way!
  • Renae Breskovich Renae Breskovich on Feb 02, 2015
    If you're not married to the leather top - pull it off once you've finished painting the rest to give a two toned look? I have a table like this but the leather is loose, wood underneath is pristine and no glue.
    • Lorie Lorie on Feb 02, 2015
      @Renae Breskovich That's an interesting idea. Thanks!
  • Caroline Caroline on Feb 03, 2015
    Have you considered adding a bit of mod podge to the paint, or after. Also if you are waxing the chalk paint it will remain flexible. I covered a similar one with tissue paper and it looked cool. A layer of mod podgy hard on top ?
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 03, 2015
    As suggested, try to remove the leather.
  • Carla Carla on Aug 31, 2015
    I did a pair of tables like this and used Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax. Works beautiful and my customer loves it! Here is a picture for you.
    comment photo
  • Lorie Lorie on Aug 31, 2015
    Love the color you selected. Thanks for the picture. Did you paint the leather inlay also?
  • Carla Carla on Sep 01, 2015
    Thanks Lorie. Yes, I painted all of it. The colors are Emperor's Red and Graphite by Annie Sloan. I used the clear wax over it to protect.
    • See 1 previous
    • Carla Carla on Sep 23, 2015
      Thanks Kelly. Good luck!
  • Carla Carla on Sep 01, 2015
    Thanks Lorie! Yes, I painted everything in Annie Sloan. The colors are Emperors's red and Graphite. I used clear wax for protection.
  • Lorie Lorie on Sep 01, 2015
    Thanks for the tips Carla. Have a great week.
  • Carla Carla on Sep 02, 2015
    You too Lorie!
  • Marie R Marie R on Apr 18, 2017

    I have tables that look just like this...after several son declared they were not leather top. They have the exact same design as yours and many others I have seen...but he is you sure? I should put up a pic...cuz they're almost identical

  • Stacy Stacy on Jul 05, 2022

    Hello there. What beautiful tables. I think the leather is quite charming and with your chalk paint and some distressing wax you could have two very beautiful tables. This is just my opinion. I don't think painting the leather is a good idea. If you really don't want the leather on your tables; maybe you could neatly cut it off ( for another project) and then prep, prime and paint your lovely tables.😊 This is just my thoughts. I hope you find the answers you are looking for. Blessings, E.