Instructables

Cover your worn bicycle saddle with real leather

Featured
Right, I found this stray bike to fix myself this cheap recycled bike to get around (another instructable topic). It had a decent Selle Italia saddle on it, however the vinyl cover on it was completely shot. Fortunately the foam was intact and in good shape. So I decided to refinish the saddle with some natural looking leather.

I got the leather pieces from ebay. If you search for leather at hobbies and crafts section, you'll find plenty of them at very good prices. Try to get a thinner (1-2mm) leather since it is easier to work on.

For this instructable you need:
- a saddle in bad shape
- scrap leather large enough to cover it
- impact adhesives (i.e., Evo-Stick for UK)
- scissors
- a ballpoint pen

Below are the origins of the saddle and the final looks of it.

There are not many hazards/risks with this job. Watch out what you are cutting with scissors, I know one story involving scissors where a joke ended up with death. Impact adhesives are mostly solvent based, so I advise you to do this job at a well ventilated area, or you may get high (unfortunately :-). But really, don't forget that these adhesives are carcinogenic, really.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Strip the saddle from old cover including glue remnants.

This is not so hard. Your aim is to achieve a clean base for your work. I had to dry mine under sun for a few days since the foam sucked all rainwater. Clean it thoroughly since we will basically glue the leather on it. We need a very clean surface. Peel all glue remnants off... Use some rubbing alcohol to clean the inner edges, we will glue the leather there.
1-40 of 52Next »
dipankar_nath3 months ago

Hi! I work with leather as a hobby. Try rubbing with beeswax and then heating with a hot air gun (Even a hair dryer will do in pinch. Will take longer though). Your saddle seat shall become darker. Finish with a nice even coat of polish. Hope that should do. That's what I use for making leather water resistant. It needs regular polishing afterwards however. Also try to apply a regular coat of beeswax. Uneven layer shall darken it in an uneven manner. Hope this helps.

Great tip. Thanks!

boostdemon1 year ago
Mink oil will break down the leather and start to decompose it (thats how it makes it "soft"). Thats fine if you dont plan on keeping it for a long time. I would look into some of the leather boot protectants and oils. My recommendation would be products from Obenauf's but you should read up on whats out there and make your own choice. Seat looks fantastic by the way, good job!
I have never heard this about mink oil. I've used it a lot and read about others using it and never heard anything negative except it darkening leather
I could get my hands on leather, so i re-used some old jeans, my version: "Demin Saddle"
Denim Seat.jpgDenim Seat 2.jpgDenim Seat Bottom.jpg
that's great
love it!
Шов жопу сильно натирает.
Looks really nice, but another seam on the saddle? Might not be most comfortable option, but it is cute!
awesome.....
thearchitect (author)  monkeybiker246 years ago
Awesome!.. I loved that asymmetrical touch! Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!.. K.
arichard11 year ago
Might try Sno - Seal or Otter wax. Will make the water just roll off. I'd wear a pair of test jeans though, the wax may rub off and make pants a bit darker.

Thanks for the instructable, my cat though it would be funny to scratch up the vinyl on my saddle, now I just gotta keep an eye out for scrap leather.
coachjoe3 years ago
Still covering saddles with custom leather tooling--be creative! This is one that I made for my friend in Denmark to remind him of his stay in Texas. Hand tooled and finished in contrasting lace. He applied it to his commuter bike with wooden fenders; one of my favorite projects for the bike.
Texas saddle project.jpg
a closer look at the custom tooling . . .
Texas saddle 2.jpg
josh coachjoe2 years ago
Yes! please do! I'd love to see an instructable on this!
canida coachjoe2 years ago
Wow, this is gorgeous work. You should post an Instructable!
bikeboy2 years ago
Excellent idea! The texture would be very cool with the non shiny "suede" side out.
dmcdade3 years ago
Hi, amazing work, but could you please explain what you mean by "Impact adhesives need to be applied on both surfaces"? Do you mean the adhesive needs to be applied to both the leather and the saddle?
TimBoLee3 years ago
I like that, good job. I think i'll do that with an old leather jacket I have and fix-up an old sadle I have. I like working with leather any'ways. Thanks.
noel0leon3 years ago
Nice instructable. One suggestion, use a scrap piece of fabric to mark out the size for cutting and use it to see if it fits properly. Then use that template to cut out the leather. Saving you a possibly expensive mistake if the template is wrong
ivanjunge4 years ago
 Nice work! Consider a semi-regular application of mink oil. It should keep it supple and keep the water off. 
coachjoe4 years ago
Custom leather tooling is possible too . . . with hand lacing.  Drill directly into the seat pan along the edge (lower to eliminate leg rub on the laces).  Use a closed stitch like a double cordovan & work the lace so it lays nicely along the edge.  5-8 oz thickness works best so it can stretch and take on the shape of the saddle without too much trouble.  Make sure the leather is moist for better shaping.  One of my recent works:
Henrik Finished Project2.jpg
baileyscot5 years ago
wherever you buy shoes you can probably pick up a spray can of leather sealer and protectant. just make sure you use several good coats. i use it on all my shoes and they stay clean and nice way longer than without. great instructable.
CHED F.B5 years ago
Hi, great instructable, I'm in Oz, Do you think Impact Adhesive is the same as Contact cement - I'm doing my seat on my reliable 10 speed racer which I got secondhand about 12 years ago and have had great reward from keeping on the road for this period, thanks for the instructable - very clear - good instructions.
thearchitect (author)  CHED F.B5 years ago
Hi, thanks, yes it is the same thing I think. As long as it is an elastic glue that works both on plastic and leather, you are good to go. Good luck! K.
To waterproof it you could try Aquaseal. Or you could use a marine vinyl. Get some free samples. I was thinking about recovering my amp in this stuff.
to protect the leather...try using a scotchguard water repellant..Give it a few coats. You can pick some up wherever you buy leather shoes which need protection from winter weather..
northstar546 years ago
did you cover the entire piece of leather with glue or just the edges??
thearchitect (author)  northstar546 years ago
I covered the entire leather and the sponge surface of the saddle with glue. You need to apply this type of glue on both surfaces. K.
Derin6 years ago
paint it with marine varnish,use the bright type,it will still be nice
dudemonkeys6 years ago
How well does the glue hold? And can this technique be used to wrap a wooden knife sheath with leather?
OddJob6 years ago
I just recently covered my favorite saddle with scraps from a discarded leather trench coat (my wife's - thank God for style changes). I used a spray adhesive that was smeared evenly on the leather and then massaged over the existing cover. Will try to take a picture and add later. I agree with thearchitect in that it is a soft ride. I used a couple of applications of saddle soap to help weather-proof the leather.
eiwtes6 years ago
Almost all hiking stores carry a brand called Nixwax. ( at least most that i know of) they sell leather curing solutions to make boots waterproof, as does a boot company called zamberland. the stuff is cheap like 5 bucks a tube. REI, or MEC depending where you live would carry these products.
2shane26 years ago
Ahem... a very good source of usually very good leather, is the "opp shops" or clothing recyclers... / charity shops.... Think LEATHER HAND BAGS....... Ohhhhhhhhhh...... Just think, some broads $500 hand bag, getting shoved up between your sweaty butt cheeks. Excellent.
double26 years ago
Well I would like to try this because my puppy ate my bike seat cover this winter. However I think I need a little padding!! We actually have a "saddle maker" intown I will see if I can get some supplies from him.
sideways6 years ago
I look for leather furniture being throw out on trash day. I throw the cushions in my car, and use a big razor knife to cut the big flat leather panels from the sides/back/front. I get huge pieces of great quality leather this way.
thearchitect (author)  sideways6 years ago
GREAT IDEA!.. You can even resell them on ebay!.. People buy these stuff, you know (like me). Cheers! K.
Whoa...great idea back to you! I never thought of selling the stuff, duh. I've even passed some up when I didn't need it. Ain't instructables great?
thearchitect (author)  sideways6 years ago
Ebay is your friend. There are tons of crafts people buying leather parts (the larger the better) from ebay. And I believe most of them are scraps like that. But it's always good to tell that they are coming off a used sofa or something. Cheers!.. K.
visdes6 years ago
hey, someone just sent me this link. i actually did this a couple of days ago with some leather that i laser etched before upholstering. i more or less did the process the same way you describe it here except i used bulldog clips along the edges of the saddle to deliver steady pressure while the tanning cement dried. i removed the clips after about 40 minutes (while the cement was still a bit damp) and massaged out the impressions left by the clips. everything turned out peachy. i used deerskin.
hanged-puppy-saddle.jpg
1-40 of 52Next »