Polyacrylate nanocapsules loaded with lilial (PNLs) were prepared via miniemulsion polymerization. Then, the PNLs were applied directly to leather. The influence of the contents of the surfactant and lilial and the stirring speed on the mean size and fragrance loading capacity of the PNLs was investigated in detail. The microstructure of the PNLs was determined by dynamic light scattering (DLS), transmission electron nicroscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometry, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The sustained release properties of the leather finished by PNLs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector (GC-FID). DLS showed that the mean size of the PNLs was 67.78 nm, and the polydispersity index was 0.076. TEM illustrated that the size of the spherical PNL varied in the range 30–80 nm. FTIR spectroscopy showed that lilial was encapsulated into the polyacrylate nanocapsules. TGA illustrated that the fragrance loading ratio of the nanocapsules reached 36.83%. SEM and GC-FID indicated that the leather finished by the PNLs had better flexing endurance than that finished by lilial emulsion. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40182.