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Leather Care 101


  • Things to avoid: Water, heat, cold, direct sun and petroleum jelly.
  • Please note, any leather oil or conditioner may change the color of the notebook, including the Chic Sparrow leather balm.
  • Be careful not to over-do the oil/conditioner or your leather will become soggy!



The biggest mistake would be to blot or rub the wet stain. This will lift the color and make the stain larger and more noticeable.

5 Things You Shouldn't Do to If You Have A Spill

  1. Do not panic!
  2. Do not rub the surface to try to clean up the spill. (Unless your book is from the Outlander or Pelican Collections)
  3. Do not blot the surface to try and soak up some of the liquid.
  4. Do not wet the entire surface to give an even color.
  5. Do not rub any culinary oil into the surface. Cooking oil can go rancid and make your notebook smell terrible.

What to Do if You Get Water on Your Leather

  • Resist the urge to blot or rub.
  • Set in a dry place out of the sunlight for a minimum of 24 hours.
  • If the water stains are still visible, lightly massage the surface with leather oil (neatsfoot etc.) or leather conditioner. 
  • Remember that your stain will fade with time and be hardly noticeable.

What to Do If You Spill Oil or Milky Liquid on Your Leather

  • Resist the urge to blot or rub.
  • Cover the entire area with cornstarch or talcum powder.
  • Set it in a dry place out of sunlight for a minimum of 24 hours.
  • Brush off the powder with a soft brush, being careful not to push the powder into the leather.
  • Lightly massage the surface with leather oil (neatsfoot etc.) or conditioner.
  • Remember that your stain will fade with time and be hardly noticeable.


Rolling Leather Notebook Covers

It is a common practice to roll the leather to make it more flexible. Before you do this, know that it will change the texture of your leather. It also may cause the stitching to come undone and the inscription to disappear. Rolling is something we do not recommend and is something you do at your own risk. Chic Sparrow does not exchange notebooks that have been rolled.



Vegetable-tanned leather: Tanned using tannins and other plant-based substances found in trees. Veg-tanned leather is an ancient process, historically used to bind books and make armor. However, it’s a sensitive leather. Water will have a severe effect on vegetable-tanned leather, causing it to discolor, shrink and stiffen. Hot water will cause dramatic shrinkage and can make the leather hard and brittle.

Chrome-tanned leather: Tanned using salts derived from chromium, a natural element. The chrome-tanning process only takes one day and allows the leather to be dyed vibrant colors. In water, it will not discolor or shrink as severely as veg-tanned leather and is more soft and flexible.  Most of your favorite leather pieces are probably chrome-tanned, it makes up around 80% of the global leather supply.

Oil-tanned leather: Typically chrome-tanned leather has special oils worked into its surface after the tanning process is complete. Veg-tanned leather can also be used. The added oils provide a unique texture and protect the leather. All leather can be oiled to add water resistance properties. However, the water resistance isn’t permanent: the added oils can be washed out if it’s repeatedly exposed to water.


Full-grain leather: The highest quality leather available, full-grain leather has never been sanded, buffed, or had its surface refinished to remove natural variation. The intact fibers in the grain are what makes leather breathable, and durable. Where inferior leathers might crack and wear out, full-grain leather patinas with age. Chic Sparrow uses full-grain leather for all products unless otherwise noted.

Suede: Made from leather that has been split, meaning the top grain has been cut off the hide, leaving the fibrous, fuzzy layer behind. It then undergoes special treatment to bring out the nap and texture. Chic Sparrow occasionally uses suede in limited release products.

Top-grain leather: The second highest quality leather and the most common used in leather products. It is thinner and more flexible than full-grain leather because it has been split. Then, it is sanded and a finish is applied to the surface. The finish makes top-grain leather smoother and more uniform than full-grain leather. However, it makes the leather less breathable and prevents it from developing a natural patina over time. 


Creme Collection: Because of its high oil content, conditioning this leather should be done once every 6 months, only if needed. While Creme is not known for staining, it may stain other lighter leather goods if kept on/near them for an excessive amount of time. Any leather conditioner for smooth leather will work great.

Patina Leather: This leather feels firm in the hand. If you want a softer feel, you can put a light coat of neatsfoot oil on the back side of the leather. This will soften the leather a little. You can further soften the leather by manually bending the leather back and forth gently. Be careful not to over-do the oil or your leather will become a soggy mess!

 Austen Collection: Once a year or as needed, massage leather conditioner designed for smooth leather. You'll know you need to condition when it starts to feel dry. Mr. Darcy is dipped in oils and polished to a beautiful shine.  Some customers can detect a pungent aroma with this leather.  If you are one of the few who can; simply air it out for a few days and the scent will disperse.

Outlander Collection: This leather has a high oil content. This leather is a pull-up variety, so it's deeply conditioned and will not need additional conditioning more than once a year. Wiping this book with a baby wipe (to clean) or a conditioner will show color transfer, this is because of the deep pigment and oil content. It's totally normal - just remember, if you wipe one corner of the outside, wipe the entire cover evenly so the color stays as even as possible.   

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