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Monday, June 11, 2012

Tie Dye Drop Cloth Shoes

I lived in black cotton Chinese Mary Jane shoes in high school because:

  • I also wore them for my color guard uniform.

  • China flats are one of the styles that always fit my weird kid sized feet and don’t give me blisters.
I need some kick around summer shoes.  I figure I’ll pick up a pair of China flats in a cute color since I don’t need black as part of a uniform anymore and I’m trying to stick to my One Small Green Change of only buying shoes that fit.

canvas drop cloth tie dye shoes
I dyed these shoes with a Tulip Tie Dye Kit
It was easier and less messy than that  fussy stuff in a bucket.  

I didn’t anticipate how hard it was going to be to find a pair of China flats! I finally bought a new pair off eBay for $2.99. The price is right but the color is a bore.


Chinese Mary Janes
I have a weird thing about buying used shoes. Cannot. Do. It. 
However, new off eBay I can do.

Husband suggested I dye the shoes and make them more uniquely me. The only problem is I am a complete Girl Scout camp tie dye failure. My tie-dye t shirt epic failed and the mean girls at camp made fun of me when we wore our shirts for the big camp talent show.

I’ve run screaming from all “hey, let’s do a tie dye craft with the kids!” activities ever since. True story.

This is a good time to face my tie dye fears, don’t you think? 

How to Tie Dye Shoes


drop cloth tie dye shoes

You will need: 

Cotton Chinese Mary Jane Shoes (MUST be cotton or another 100% natural fiber)
Tulip Tie Dye Kit – Primary colors
Tulip surface cover or plastic trash bag (recommended big time!)
Rock salt and/or uniodized sea salt (In the past using iodized table salt lead to major fails. Don’t be me.)
Cotton canvas drop cloth (I had some left over from making my gas grill cover)
Star cookie cutter or template
Pencil
Scissors
Straight pins
Fabric glue
Needle
Thread

Make it:

1. Wash the sizing out of the cotton shoes and a section of the canvas drop cloth. Do not use fabric softener.

2. Fill the premixed (and key to my tie dying success) bottle of blue Tulip fabric tie-dye with water and shake to mix the color per the directions in the kit.


3. Spread a Tulip plastic surface cover or trash bag on the ground outside. I recommend you do this outside, even though the squirt bottles makes dying less messy than that big tub of dye at Girl Scout camp, it never hurts to err on the side of easier clean up.

4. WEAR THE GLOVES THAT COME IN THE KIT. Unless you want blue hands. The dye is nontoxic so that's not the issue. Walking around with Smurf hands until the dye wears off could be though.

5. While the shoes are wet, squirt the dye on the wet shoes. Make sure you cover the entire shoe with blue dye.

6. Sprinkle uniodized rock salt and/or sea salt onto the dyed shoes to add texture. The dye will not penetrate where you sprinkle the salt.

rock salt tie dye
If you don't have rock salt leftover from winter or are a lucky duck who lives in a warm area that doesn't require rock salt, Tulip sells little packets of salt resist salt.

Caution: I stuffed my shoes with plastic bags hoping the dye wouldn’t penetrate to the inside sole of the shoe. The dye got through anyway. I also think having a less than flat surface interfered with the salt resist technique. The salt resist didn’t come out as well on my shoes as it did on my flat test t shirt. I like the texture I got on my shoes but I wish it was a little more pronounced like on my test project.

7. Place the dyed shoes in a plastic bag and allow the color to cure. The directions say to leave it in the bag 4-6 hours. I left mine in the bag overnight.

8. Fold the section of canvas drop cloth like an accordion while it is wet. Wrap the rubber bands that come in the kit around the folded fabric every 1 to 2 inches.

folding tie dye
Folding tie dye technique

9. Fill the premixed bottle of red Tulip fabric tie dye with water and shake to mix the color per the directions in the kit.

10. Place the banded fabric on the surface cover, put on the gloves, and squirt red dye on the fabric.

folding tie dye
This looks like something out of a horror movie, doesn't it?

11. Place the dyed fabric in a plastic bag and allow the color to cure. The directions say to leave it in the bag 4-6 hours. I left mine in the bag over night.

12. Remove the shoes and fabric from their respective plastic bags. Remove/cut the rubber bands from the folded fabric.

folding tie dye
The folding tie dye worked. Yay me!

13. Rinse the excess dye from the fabric and shoes with cold water.

14. Wash the shoes and fabric in a large load of water with a small amount of laundry soap. 

15. Dry the shoes and fabric in the dryer to set the dye.

salt resist tie dye
It's difficult to tell in this photo but the salt resist creates a nice visual texture on the shoes.

16. Place the star cookie cutter on the tie dyed fabric. Trace around the cookie cutter with a pencil and cut it out with the scissors. Cut two stars from the fabric.

tie dye star
Cutting time!

17. Pin the star shapes on the shoes. Trim the shape with the scissors if needed.

tie dye shoe
Almost done!

18. Use the fabric glue to glue the stars to the toe of each shoe. 

19. Once the fabric glue is dry, use the needle and thread to sew the star to the shoe. This will ensure the glue keeps the star on the shoe, is a barrier for fraying fabric, and adds interest. 

20. Wear those shoes out on the town!

drop cloth tie dye shoes
These shoes are made for walkin'

I love how my shoes came out! The salt resist adds texture to the shoe. The folded tie dye technique I used on the drop cloth adds to the rustic Americana feel I wanted. I am so working these shoes Fourth of July weekend!

drop cloth tie dye shoes
Rustic Americana Realness!

A big thank you to Tulip for sending me this easy tie dye kit and getting me over my tie dye fears. Tulip Tie Dye Kits are available at Walmart, Walmart Canada, Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, and Meijer. The tie dye kit contents and colors may vary by store. You can also connect with Tulip on twitter @ilovetocreateFacebook, and Pinterest


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