Condo Blues: How to Dye Fabric Shoes and Sandals

Friday, July 29, 2022

How to Dye Fabric Shoes and Sandals

I needed a pair of sandals. After a fair bit of shopping I found a pair of wedges that fit (this is harder to do since I have to shop in the kid’s department) but are the wrong color. However the price was cheap enough that I thought I’d try my hand at dying a pair of the white shoes black and other pair brown – the colors I wanted.

I’ve dyed 100% cotton fabric shoes. I’ve also dyed suede shoes using this exact suede dye with great success. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) Dying these sandals will be a bit more challenging because they are a cotton and synthetic fabric blend and all of the fabric dyes I’ve used up until now require 100% natural fiber fabric.

 Can you dye polyester fabric and synthetic fibers? Yes you can! Here’s how.


How to dye fabric shoes and sandals the easy way
Save this shoe refashion idea to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

How to Dye Cotton Blend Shoes

I have had good experience using regular Rit dye and considered their synthetic fabric dye (you can learn more about Synthetic Rit DyeMore Liquid Fabric Dye here ) but you have to use an extremely hot dye bath on the stove. Since children’s shoes aren’t made to last like adult shoes, I was pretty sure the glue holding the sole to the shoe would melt with a hot dye process.

Instead, I decided to give Tulip Spray Fabric dye a go (you can learn more about Tulip Spray Dye here ) and it worked!

You will need the following supplies for this project tutorial:


Tulip Spray Fabric Dye – I chose this dye because it is made to dye both cotton and synthetic fabrics and without dunking them into a pool of dye. How much you need will decide on the color of the shoe, the color of dye, and the size of your shoes. It used one can of brown dye to dye my white size four sandals brown and almost two cans to dye my white sandals black.

 Spray paint trigger comfort grip like this kind – this will help you get even coverage without spots or drips

Disposable glove like these

Painter’s tape

Drop cloth

Optional but recommended: Scotchguard UV Spray to keep your dye job from fading over time. You can learn more about Scotchguard UV Spray here 

Step by Step How to Dye Synthetic Cloth shoes Tutorial

1. Cover the soles, instep, eyelets, buckles, and anything you do not want to dye with painter’s tape.

how to dye cloth shoes
The shoe boxes made impromptu paint raisers. Recycling at its finest!

2. Lay down the drop cloth, put the comfort grip on the can of spray fabric dye, and put on a pair of gloves unless you want to dye your skin to match your shoes (not recommended BTW.)

Tip: I found it easier to pick up the shoe to spray dye the harder to paint parts. That’s why I recommend wearing gloves! (even so, I accidentally dyed part of my wrist with every coat of spray dye. It woudl have been worse if I weren't wearing gloves at all.)

3. Shake to mix the can of dye. Press the spray paint trigger with the nozzle pointing next to but not on the shoe and then move the spray can toward the shoe to apply one coat of spray fabric dye.


How to spray paint dye shoes
I have one spray can trigger in my craft room for projects like this kind and another trigger in the garage for spray paint projects.

Why not just press the spray paint trigger with the can pointing at the shoe?

Because that’s how you get big and unattractive paint splotches and drips on your paint surface. You can eliminate this if you press the trigger away from your surface and then move the can with the paint stream coming out to the surface and release the trigger pointing away from the object you are painting.

4. Allow the first coat of spray dye to dry for 30 minutes.

can you dye cloth shoes
Looking good!

5. Apply a second (or more) coat of spray dye as needed using the same technique as in Step 3, allowing each coat of dye to dry for at least 30 minutes.

6. To protect the dye on your shoes from fading, apply a coat of Scotchguard UV Spray to your shoes using the same technique as in Step 3 and allow them to thoroughly dry. I let mine dry overnight just to make sure.

7. Remove the painter’s tape, put on your new dyed shoes, and look cute!


how to dye shoes
I love them! I call this shoe refashion idea a win!

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed .


Meagan Trento said...

Honestly never ever have I thought to do this. Very cool. I love upcyling and repurposing home decor but not my shoes. You just inspired me.
Meagan-Decorative Inspirations

Christine said...

I would never have thought to do this, yet they look great. Thanks.

Post a Comment

I love comments and read them all! If you’re shy and don’t want your opinions made public, you can always email me at condoblues [at] gmail [dot] com.