Reviving a MBMJ Totally Turnlock Wallet with Tarrago Dye

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I saw this fixer-upper wallet on Poshmark and just knew I had to have it.

Beat-up as it is, I saw potential. The leather was in decent enough shape—it was the color that needed some help. I decided to go with Tarrago's 'Dark Gray Taupe' dye. Although I hoped the color would come out a little darker, I'm still very much thrilled with how the wallet turned out.

Read on to see the transformation unfold!

Seller's original listing pictures

The Process:

After cleaning up the coin pouch area, I prepared the outside of the wallet with Tarrago's Preparer and the abrasive side of a scotch brite sponge and let it dry for 10-15 minutes before applying the first coat of dye.


In preparation for my next session, I stuffed the credit card slots with pieces of rolled-up paper towels to facilitate the dyeing (and subsequent drying) process. This was especially important given that the 'hidden' strips of leather on the inner side of each slot don't extend down as far as the visible leather, which could lead to unsightly dye transfer on the fabric lining.

My second session took place in chillier weather, which seemed to have an impact on the dye (which I'd stupidly stored outside) because it sure didn't 'take' very well to the leather...

Overall, I found toothpicks and q-tips to be an absolute necessity for getting at hard-to-reach areas (such as the inner corners of each card slot); stretching the leather to reveal unpainted cracks was also helpful on the exterior. It's important that the dye get into every nook and cranny, especially around the stitching—I would recommend taking a q-tip full of dye and dabbing it aggressively along the stitching, which you can then 'blend' out with a sponge or sponge brush.

• To remove dye from the larger hardware surfaces, I dipped a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and carefully rubbed the dye away. (Be careful not to get any on the leather!) For smaller areas, I scraped the dye away with a dry toothpick.

Zipper cleaning in progress

Another coat and a few small touch-ups later, the wallet was complete! *throws confetti*

Labor-intensiveness aside, this was a fun revival to perform—I mean, just look at those f**king before and after pictures!

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