A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a website offering leather recoloring kits.
I always loved the way cinnamon red looked on the m3s with black leather and aluminum trim. I decided to give this a shot with a gracious friends help.
This DIY will show you how to dye your leather (or leatherette) door panel inserts to the color of your choice.
You need the following:
-Leather recoloring kit from leatherworldtech.com with dye color of your choice
I ordered this past noon one day and they had the cinnamon mixed and shipped out that afternoon…very satisfied with them
-Drill with sanding bit
-approximately 120 8×1/2 screws with washers (3/16 worked well)
-atleast 24 number 12 screws and washers
-aleast 8 number 10 screws and washers
-2inch poly brush sponge brushes ( I used a new one for each panel)
1)To start out you will need to take all of the door panels off of the car.
There are 5 screws holding on each door. 2 under the trim piece, 2 on the under side of the armrest underneath the plastic covers, and one under the window button/switch.
2) Now the door is held on with plastic clips that just pull straight out. You may use a screwdriver to get your fingers underneath the edge. Dont be afraid to pull hard. Now the door will be hanging by speaker and switch wiring. These unclip. Remove all speakers by turning them counterclockwise. The door release cable can be taken off by putting your finger on the part where the wire meets the white clip and pulling out. When dealing with the front door airbags, unplug battery.
3) Once you have all the panels off you will want to get your drill with sanding bit. This is the hardest part of the project. Sand the plastic welds off so that they are flush with the door panel material. Then pull the insert off with your hands. This leaves a lot of the plastic rivet on the insert so you can drill into it later.
Checking e46 during a break
4)The armrest welds are much bigger than the other welds, and two of them happen to be underneath the plastic mesh that holds the airbag door on when it deploys. Take a razor and cut little squares out inbetween the rivets.
5) Now that you have all of the door inserts separated from the door panels, it is time to apply the dye. The dye will work on leatherette too (I tested it on a spare leatherette panel I had lying around, (my interior is real leather)). The kit comes with a crown sprayer but I found it is very hard to work with and that a 2 inch poly brush sponge brush works really well. Clean the leather with the supplied cleaner and prepper and lightly scrub with provided scruff pad.
6)The key to getting the dye to look good is using as little as possible for each coat. DO NOT apply in thick layers as this will cause it to blob up and create little flakes when you try to fix it. Just apply small amounts with long strokes across as much of the panel as possible. This is what the panel looked like after one coat.
7) Continue to apply coats until you are satisfied with the color allowing it to dry to the touch in between coats. It was 95 degrees when I did this so drying was very fast so I dont have a good time estimate but I would wait at least 10 minutes in between coats while under a fan.
Once they dry for a few hours (the product says something like 18 hours before touching another surface, i.e. door panels) I attached the inserts on the door panels. Use the 8×1/2 screws for all of the small welds and the ones shown in the plastic below on the armrest welds. I built up some of the smaller pegs with epoxy prior to screwing to ensure the screws seated themselves okay.