Hand painting with leather dye

Dyeing shoes is one of well known transformations. That’s because you can create something incredibly custom and unique. Whether it’s a set of shoes that you want came in a particular color (and doesn’t) or shoes you possess that you will be just fed up with, use Rit to dye these to the colour of your choosing.

leather shoe dye
For best results, we recommend dyeing canvas shoes or silk bridal type shoes. We do not advocate dyeing leather shoes. The one exception would be Uggs® Sheepskin boots.

Color
In case the shoes you are dyeing are white or off white, then you ought to be in a position to achieve true color. In case the shoes have an existing color, you’ll be able to overdye them with a darker color. If you’re seeking to: (a) dye a dark footwear a lighter color or (b) completely change the colour of a set of shoes from one color to some other (such as from purple to blue), then you could try removing the colour using Rit Color Remover However, only use the sink or bucket method. We’d only suggest trying this with canvas shoes. However, we cannot guarantee you’ll be able to get rid of all of the color.

Patterns and Logos
In case the shoes you are dyeing have a pattern or logo, the colour you utilize will mix with the prevailing color(s) in the fabric and create new colors. Quite simply, the rules of color mixing apply. When choosing a color, think about how precisely it’ll mix with the colors in the pattern. For instance, if you were to employ a blue dye on the white footwear with a pink flower pattern, the pink flowers will turn purplish (blue and pink make purple) while the rest of the shoes will dye blue. Even if you were to overdye the patterned shoes with a dark color, you may find that the color can look lighter along the patterned area.

Bleach Stains and Sun Damage
Sun and bleach actually damage fabric, rendering it very hard to dye. You could attempt using Rit Color Remover on the entire shoe. If you are going to try out this, only use the sink or bucket method. We would only suggest carrying this out with canvas shoes. However, we can not guarantee successful results.

Select Your Method
For general dye projects (or even to dip dye), find the immersion method below.

If you’re dyeing delicate shoes (such as silk bridal shoes), choose the brush method below.

Immersion
Instructions
Before dyeing, remove any visibile stains on the shoes. This can help achieve uniform color results when dyeing. Pre-wash item in warm, soapy water. This can help to remove any finishes which may hinder dye absorption.
Cover work area with plastic table cover and also have paper towels helpful to protect against any possible spills.
Remove shoe insoles (if your shoes have them), laces and reserve.
To safeguard the soles of your shoes from getting dyed, brush a thin coat of Vaseline on the soles. You might cover the soles with electrical tape. Usually do not use Vaseline if dyeing anything with silk or leather, as the Vaseline could stain the fabric.
Fill a plastic container or stainless sink with three gallons of warm water. Water should ideally be 140ºF. If plain tap water is not hot enough, heat water on the stove and enhance the dyebath.
Add 1 teaspoon of dish detergent to help promote level dyeing.
Wearing rubber gloves, add 1/2 cup of well-shaken Rit All-Purpose Liquid Dye to the dyebath. If you are trying achieve an extremely dark or bold color, double the dye quantity.
Mix well.
Test color by dipping a paper towel into the dyebath. If color is too light, add more dye. If color is too dark, add more water.
Wet the shoes you will be dyeing and add those to the dyebath.
For a good dye: Leave shoes in dyebath from 10 minutes up to 1 hour. Nylon will dye rapidly and far darker than other fibers therefore the actual time needed in the dyebath is less. When desired color is achieved, remove from dyebath. Fabric will look darker when wet and can dry lighter.
For just a dip dye look: Soak the shoe in the dye for about 2 minutes, depending how dark or light you want your shoes to be. Repeat the previous step; staggering the distance of your dip over the shoes so the lightest shade starts at the tongue and the darkest shade reaches the end of the toes.
For any smooth transition from dark to light: Have a damp cloth and gently rub the colour, blurring any harsh lines to make a smooth transition from light to dark. Dip the cloth into a watered down cup of dye if needed.
To enhance the color and reduce color bleeding, use Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative soon after dyeing and before washing, following these instructions. We recommend carrying out this with the spray method.
Rinse in cool water until rinse water starts to perform clear.
Wash in tepid to warm water with a mild detergent, rinse and dry.

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