How To Dye A Leather Bridle

How To Dye A Leather Bridle

This article will describe the steps in how to dye a leather bridle. I recently purchased a vintage pony bridle for a project that I am working on. It had one small problem. It was brown, I needed black. I had been looking for a number of months with out any luck so I purchased this bridle.

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It was everything I wanted but needed to match the black 1950’s vintage saddle that it is to be paired with.

I was fortunate enough to have a quick 30 minute drive to Tandy Leather, the place was amazing but that is another Tale for the Trail, another day. I picked up my supplies and headed home.

Supplies Needed To Dye A Leather Bridle


These are the supplies that I purchased.  Dabbers to apply the stain,black leather dye and Super Shene Leather Finish. You will need to use the finish to seal the leather according to the gal at to dye leather bridle supplies



After a good cleaning of the leather, I applied the dye. My 8 year old desperately wanted to help, I said “sure”. Note to self, 8 year olds and black dye don’t mix, at least not mine. Finally I applied the black dye with the dabbers and let it dry over night. I next applied the leather finish and let that dry.

A Big Mess

A Big Mess



Next on my list was oil. The leather seemed a little dry from the dye.One problem, my sheep skin scrap that I use to apply oil to my leather had been eaten by my dogs and no one told me. Needless to say, I was not a happy cowgirl. After a few choice words, I remembered an old pair of sheep skin slippers that were on their way to Good Will. We cut a scrap from the slippers and the sheep skin worked like a charm. Yipee I was back in to dye leather bridle sheep skin

I have been applying several coats of Neatsfoot oil and the leather is starting to soften.

Next time on Tales for the Trail I will show you the finished product. Have you ever dyed leather? What was your experience?

I would love to hear from you, and would appreciate your comments


Until Next Time Happy Trails

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  1. Annie James

    Well a big howdy from Big Sky country. I am so glad you bit the bullet and got ‘er done, but involving an 8 year old, really? I can’t imagine that mess. See you soon darlin’ when I head on down to see you. Giddy up

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Yes Annie, we will see you soon, when you blow into town cowgirl!

  2. Looks like this was a messy job, turned out well

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Messy but fun! I still have black dye on my hands how bad is that :). One thing I should have mentioned and will do so next week is the need for good gloves, mine were old and did not stand up for the job. Thanks for commenting Lorelle!

  3. Lisa, I used to live in TN and had two beautiful horses. That was back before blogs and pinterest. I would have loved to have had an article like this back then. I know the horse community of today will use your advice. It is very well written and pictures are great.

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Kristina for your comment. I hope this article will help someone. I can hardly wait to put the bridle back together and show some pictures next week. Until next time, happy trails!

  4. ohhh – I love how you were able to take an “almost perfect” purchase and turn it into the PERFECT purchase! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thanks Lisa for the comment, I am really happy with the finished product

  5. Sounds like a fun project and the messiness just adds to the memories! I love buying old things and making them look new again. Great job!

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Sue you are absolutely right, the messiness does add to the memories. Was a fun project, thanks for commenting.

  6. OMG, I can’t even imagine the work that was, Lisa! I cannot wait to see the final product – how it turned out 😉

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thanks Delia, it was a fun project, and I am so happy with the results.

  7. What a BEAUTIFUL horse! What is his/her name?

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thanks Dawn, we love her! Miss T is her name, as well as a few others …depending on the day 🙂

  8. Lisa, yikes! What a lot of loving care you put into this project! In my youth, I had horseback riding lessons and might have put this kind of great care into changing a bridle’s color. Congrats on sticking with it until you got exactly what you wanted!

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Kebba, it was a fun project, a good learning experience and part of another upcoming project. Stay tunned

  9. Lisa, I don’t have a horse and no bridle either, but I am fascinated learning about other people’s worlds. I think I will do better when you post about … FOOD! Looking fwd. HUGS <3

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Thank you Judy for comment, I have a few recipes that you might enjoy, take a look around and keep coming back. I will be posting an awesome whole grain waffle recipe this month.

  10. Kim Stiles

    Thanks so much for this info! I accidentally threw my 35 year old English bridle into the washing machine (fortunately on warm water not hot), and it emerged super clean but with half the dye gone…dark brown went to light brown and even gray in spots. Apparently leather appreciates in value over the years, I discovered that what I bought for $75 would now cost $300 to replace. Not that I really wanted to replace the bridle, it had served me so well on many happy trail rides with my Arabian mare. So I followed your instructions (skipping the alcohol step) and now I have my bridle back looking better than ever. Tandy was great, from recommending which dye would work best to helping me find “detail” (fine) paintbrushes to get the dye between the stitches to preserve the white stitched pattern on the brow band. Thanks once more for sharing!

    • Lisa J. Hoover

      Kim you are so welcome and thank you for stopping by My Western Heart! I am so glad this article was able to help you out. Tandy is very helpful indeed and would recommend them. Enjoy your “new” bridle!

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