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Shrinking Leather

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Shrinking Leather
Whether you are trying to shrink a too big pair of shoes or something else made of leather, it can be confusing trying to find the best method. This is a guide about shrinking leather.


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March 14, 20142 found this helpful

I have found that mink oil has a water proofing benefit. I have western style boots and gun belts and have been first using saddle soap for cleaning. Then I heat the leather and apply mink oil. Reheat leather until the mink oil has soaked. I've been doing this for about 40 years and have had no problems with thread or leather. My leather gear is still with me and the thread is strong as ever. Still in use are my Chippawas (hand sewn in America) and Tony Lamas as well as my Western leather vests, holsters and belts, still in great condition. I know I only apply it once a year, near the snowy months. Coon Oil/grease I also know was used as far back as the early 1800s, but I have never used it.


By Fst/Sgt Eugene Ranson Ret.

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May 23, 20170 found this helpful

If your leather boots are too large, you may need to shrink them a bit to get a better fit. This is a guide about shrinking leather boots.

Black Leather Boots

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 22, 20140 found this helpful

How can I shrink my daughter's shooting glove so it will fit her better?

By Perry

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February 24, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can try (no guarantees, but worth a shot anyway), wet the glove in warm water, get it really wet, and have your daughter wear it until it dries. She should move her hand around a lot while it dries, and just keep it on her hand. Then it will (hopefully) shrink to fit. Otherwise, she could just use the finger guard thingies that are not a full glove.

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September 18, 20130 found this helpful

I have a gun holster that has shell loops that are to big. How can I tighten it up without getting the holster/belt also?

By William S

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February 6, 20170 found this helpful

I had the same problem. I have a .30 cal sixgun and a gunbelt with .38 cal loops. I rolled up paper napkins and dipped them in room temperature water, then pushed them into the cartridge loops from the bottom. Don't pack them in, but they should fill the loops. Gently rub a little water on the raw leather edges frequently or fold a paper napkin into a long strip about twice as wide as the loops are long, and lay it on the loops from one end to the other. The idea is to get the loops thoroughly wet. When they are wet all the way through, remove the napkins and rolls. Allow to dry, lay it in the sun, or use a hair dryer (go slow and be gentle with the heat). Repeat as necessary. Be patient. When done shrinking, oil the leather and buff everything to suit!

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May 4, 20170 found this helpful

Dip the shell loops in hot water (using a shallow pan) to thoroughly soak them. Insert an empty shell casing into each loop and let dry in sunlight or warm setting on hair dryer. the loops will tighten around the casing and create a snug fit.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 11, 2012

My sister gave me a new pair of expensive sandals. The vamp of the shoe is too deep for my thin foot. I need to shrink down the leather part. Please help!

By Alma B from Shelbyville, IL

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May 12, 20120 found this helpful

Wash the sandals in the washing machine in warm water (fill up the load with towels). Do not put the sandals in the dryer. Let them dry outside in the sun on a warm day. I've done this twice in the past year and it tightened up my stretched-out sandals so I could continue to wear them.

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May 12, 20120 found this helpful

Another option is to buy Moleskin in the foot department of your local drug store. Line the vamp on the inside where it doesn't show with a piece fo moleskin which you have cut to fit. It will tighten up the space and last for the life of the shoe.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 19, 2010

Does cold water or hot water shrink leather?

By Cemerle from Memphis, TN

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February 20, 20100 found this helpful

According to some other forums, leather will reshape itself when it is wet (see forum link below). One woman mentions her husband and other people soaking in a hot bath and then walking around the rest of the day in the wet leather waiting for it to dry and reshape to their bodies.

I think it's probably a bad idea to wash in a washing machine since the leather would probably wrinkle and reshape in a bad way.

It's not clear that it would actually shrink much, but probably mostly reshape, so if it's already too big I'm not sure if it will reshape or shrink enough to fit you the way you want it to. You could try it, but it might reshape in a way that isn't good. Especially if it's too big, it might reshape in wrinkles and a droopy way.

If it's your last resort you could try it, but be aware it might not do what you want it to.

Source(s): http://communit … Good luck.

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February 20, 20100 found this helpful

Hot is the worst, but any water can shrink leather if it's dried to fast. Like for example, if you put wet leather in the sun to dry, or if you used a blow dryer, the heat could make it shrink. This is one reason why they put newly tanned leather tightly laced to board to cure. In the old days when people wanted to break in their leather boots, they'd sometimes soak them in water then wear them until they were almost dry. This way they would conform to the shape of their feet. But I wouldn't recommend this!

But the answer is, use cold to lukewarm water (never hot!) & It's best to let the leather dry slowly & at room temperature. After washing your leather use a leather conditioner to help re-soften & re-condition the leather again.

Also: You will often hear that mink-oil is bad for leather, but it's not actually bad for the leather, what happens is, the mink oil will more quickly break down the cotton thread (at the seams) that is used to sew the leather together.

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July 20, 20140 found this helpful

I just got a pair of Jack Rodgers sandals from a friend whose foot is a bit larger than mine. How can I shrink the strap and not the whole shoe?

By Mary Ellen

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July 21, 20140 found this helpful

Is it a strap that goes over the top of your foot, or around the heel?Either way, if your If the strap is fabric, could you sew across it low on the inside of the shoe to make it shorter? Try safety pinning it to check for fit before you sew the tuck in the strap. If the strap is long enough, you could make it an adjustable strap by cutting one end free, and applying stick on Velcro patches to the shoe and strap. Hope this helps.

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July 3, 20130 found this helpful

I just got my Doberman I nice thick, studded leather collar. I knew it would be too long, but there was quite a bit of length on the holed end. So I put my own hole in as far up as I could. The collar is still about an inch or 2 from a perfect fit.

I'm thinking of shrinking it, do I just soak it and let it dry? And will shrinking it make the studs or anything fall out?

Only need to shrink an inch or 2.

By Ken

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July 4, 20130 found this helpful

You might think about padding the inside of the collar, with thick quilted material or a material that would take up the slack.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 30, 2013

I bought a leather bracer at the Rennissance festival that fits my arm, but not my wrist and I don't want to cut it because the design is so beautiful. What can I do to make it fit? Please don't say padding because my wrists are already huge.

By Cassandra

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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