Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dyeing shoes

I have these lovely shoes from my SIL's wedding.  I bought them in white from the bridal shop, and they dyed them Marine Blue for me to match my dress.  Since I needed new shoes anyway, the plan was to have the shop dye them black for me after the wedding.  Well, that was over 6 months ago, and now I need black shoes in 2 days, so I ended up doing it myself!  Here's a mini-tutorial so you can too.

Here's the before:

Dyeable shoes (they are kind of satin-y)
Liquid RIT dye
rubbing alcohol
A sponge brush or paint brush

First, a few notes on why I chose to paint them rather than soak them in dye:

Reason #1. I didn't want to dye the suede on the inside of the heel of the shoes.  I'm afraid the dye will rub off onto my feet if they get sweaty. You can see in this pic, when the "professionals" dyed them blue, they got a few drops on the suede:

Reason #2. When experimenting like this (this was my first shoe dyeing attempt) it's best to try the least invasive meathod first.  I figured if it didn't work, I could try soaking them in dye next. But it didn't come to that.

On to the dyeing!

Step 1: Mix your dye.  I added 1/4 bottle black RIT dye (2 oz.), water (8-10 oz.), and rubbing alcohol (2 oz.)  The rubbing alcohol helps it dry faster, so if you are pressed for time, add a little more alcohol and a little less water.

I ended up using the paint brush instead of the little sponge brush, because the sponge brush fell apart :-(  I recommend the sponge, but the paint brush was ok too, just a tad messier.

PUT ON YOUR GLOVES! Or, go the rest of the day with dyed hands.  Your choice.  I made the wrong one :-)

Paint a layer on the shoes.  Use a damp paper towel to wipe dye from the non-dyeable parts, like the soles, and on this pair most of the inside. 

I let them dry for 30 minutes, then applied a second coat.  Here's my assistant, hamming it up between coats.

 There they are!  As black as the bottle.

I think after they dry overnight, they will be good to go.  To speed things up, I might put them near a fan.

Much faster than taking them to the bridal shop, and probably cheaper.  The dye was only $4, and I have a lot of it left.  This technique would be useful for dyeing shoes from a thrift shop.  After all, that's where oddly colored bridesmaid shoes usually end up after they're worn once.

I'll be posting pictures soon of the dress that is going with these shoes after I finish altering it.  It was a thrift shop find for $9, with the original price tag still on it ($110!).  That surely justifies an afternoon of alterations!


Auntie Jen said...

nothing like putting things off until the last minute. nice job on the dying though they look good.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tutorial! I found your blog on google while I was looking for tips on dyeing my white wedding shoes black (slightly more usable!). I'd been planning on getting them dyed, then realized I needed them for Saturday. I used RIT powdered dye since the store was out of liquid. I heated 1 cup of water to 140 degrees and mixed in 4 tsp of the powder and 2 tsp alcohol. I used a sponge brush from a stenciling set and some qtips for the little nooks. It took a couple of extra coats since I was going white to black, but they look awesome. Your shoes look great too and your little girl is adorable! :) -Gina

Kelly said...

Thanks for your kind words, Gina, I'm glad I could help!

Laila said...

Did they run at all?
I'm considering dying my shoes for my wedding, but with a white dress... I'm nervous about it. I live somewhere where it rains all year, so it's entirely possible that there will be damp grass. Do you think they'll be okay after a quick spray with waterproofing? When dry, did these rub off at all?

Anonymous said...

I'm wearing those exact shoes in my wedding in September! They are reaaallly white and I need to dye them ivory. Thanks for the help!

Beccalyn said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial! I had attempted to dye my soft pink satin shoes purple for my BFF's wedding and they turned out streaky. I think your recipe is working amazing as they already look purple after one coat!

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