[How To] Paint Your Own Horse Tack

Have you ever thought about trying to paint your own leather horse tack, such as a breast collar, headstall, halter or saddle? Or are you interested in learning more about how Kahli’s Creations does it? Well search no more – below we share the steps to paint your own horse tack and special tips to help get the best results!

What you will need:

  1. Soap
  2. Sand Paper
  3. Paint
  4. Acrylic Finisher
  5. Leather Tack!!

(I get all of my paint/finisher from Angelous because their leather paint is great and meant to bend with your horses movement.)

Cheetah Painted Tack

First, you must prep the leather.

Scrub the leather tack item with soap. (Only necessary if dirty or used) Any dirt on the tack will first of all just make painting more difficult, and will also hinder the paint from adhering properly, which can cause cracking and peeling in the future. Hint: plain old dove soap works really well!

Sand the areas you will be painting. Using pretty much any type of sand paper, rub it over the areas you plan to paint. You don’t have to do this very long, just so that the leather is more exposed, then wipe away any leather dust that was created. I’ve found this helps in ensuring the paint adheres properly. Hint: this is especially helpful if the tack piece has already been treated with any stains or sealers. 

Next, get to painting!

Select your color scheme. It is super helpful to line out all of the paint containers of the colors you plan to use. I normally spend a few minutes playing with accent colors. Hint: I always suggest picking two or three main colors with variations of tones for each, a neutral such as black or tan, and a metallic for accents. 

Plan your design. It is always helpful to get a game plan before starting. I like to freehand paint but in some cases it is helpful to draw out designs with a pencil. Pencil will easily erase from the leather, but paint won’t!

Paint away! There are many techniques to painting so just go with your instinct. I have found that painting a solid base coat and then painting designs on top of it helps the paint to glide better, the leather soaks up a lot of paint initially. Some lighter colors or thinner paints may take two or three coats.

Lastly, add the finishing touches.

Allow paint to dry completely. I normally allow 24 hours to be safe, but it all can depend on how thickly paint was applied. The longer you allow the better the paint will adhere.

Apply acrylic finisher. Use a rag to apply the finisher. Be sure to cover all painted areas and try not to get it on too thick. Allow this to dry another couple hours and you are good to go!

Finally, show it off! Try it on your horse and show it off! The paint should be fairly durable (although I do not suggest aggressively running into things or scraping it). Leather conditioner is safe to use, however DO NOT USE leather cleaner, plain soap or just wiping with a damp cloth does well to clean it.

Have you tried painting your own horse tack? Share your outcomes, experiences, questions, and tips below!

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