How To Tie Dye White Canvas Shoes

by Lakmal
5 Materials
6 Hours

Getting Ready Your Shoes

The first step in using the wet method to tie dye your sneakers is to dampen them by running them under water (no preferred temperature here). Make sure that all of the fabric is moist to the touch since certain types of canvas shoes have a thin protective layer that helps prevent stains.

The next step, whether you're using the wet or dry approach, is to pack your shoes from toe to heel with paper towels. This will lessen colour bleed-through and stop unintentional tie-dye socks in the future.

Using Dye: Some Advice

• Depending of your chosen technique, when you get the hang of it, we advise starting at the insole or the back of your shoe!

• Be careful not to overdye; a little squeeze from your dye bottle will enough.

• When using the wet technique, leave white space in between dye applications. Give it some space since the colour will spread over time! If, after 10 to 15 minutes, the white area is still too big for your tastes, you can easily add extra color.

Using a wet method to apply dye

Less is more in this case because, as was already explained, color spreads quickly when applied to wet shoes.

The only thing you can truly control is the color scheme; you have no actual influence over how far or where the dye will spread. Your colors will be more intense where the dye is applied, and they will be lighter elsewhere.

Remember that the colors will mix together where they contact as you decide where to position them. The more "ombre" and/or blending will be produced, the more white space you should allow between each color.

Apply 1-2 drops of dye to each shoe while moving gently and letting the dye spread. Once you're satisfied with the color coverage of the whole shoe, keep applying dye!

Foam Brush as an Alternative to the Wet Method

Using a foam paintbrush is an easy and efficient technique to have more control over dyeing your wet shoe. Squeeze some dye straight onto the foam brush or onto a tray or work area covered in plastic. Dip the foam brush in the dye to absorb it, then use it to gently dab your moist shoes. For each color, you should either use a different brush or just rinse off the foam. The advantage of using a foam brush is that you can apply color much more carefully and avoid dye dripping in unwanted places.

Applying Dye - Dry method

As was already noted, working with a dry shoe gives you greater control over the placement of your dyes and makes creating designs easier.

Make sure the shoe is parallel to your surface as you dye each piece to prevent dye from dripping.

Hold your dye bottle 4-6 inches above your shoe to make dots. Release one drop of dye at a time. Before adding the next dot, let the color 10 to 15 seconds to fully absorb into the cloth and settle. Slow down! (Do you see a pattern here?

Holding the dye bottle 12–15 inches above your shoe while tapping the tip of the bottle with the other (gloved!) hand can likewise produce a spatter effect when using the dry approach.

Moving the dye bottle closer to your shoe will produce larger spatter dots; moving it farther away will produce smaller splatter dots.

Tie dye sneakers to the next level with Galaxy Effect!

When your tie dye shoes are completely dry, level them up with a simple and enjoyable galaxy design using bleach and water! Simply combine one part water to one part bleach in a spray bottle, position the container approximately a foot away from your tie-dye shoes, and softly spray them. Take your time between sprays to see how the bleach settles on the surface. Continue until bleach "stars" are all over your footwear!

A word of caution while making with bleach: Always use gloves and operate in a well-ventilated environment! Better still, put on a face mask as well!


Once all of the dye has been applied, wipe any drips of colour off the rubber soles with a moist paper towel. To prevent your dye from spreading, employ extra caution if you used the dry approach below. If any moisture from your paper towel gets on the dry cloth, it might.

The difficult portion is now waiting!

Shoes should be entirely dried out. You may expect that the dry approach will take 36 hours and the wet method 48 hours, depending on the shoe and the method you picked.

Once your shoes have dried fully, take off the paper towels and wash them in warm water to get rid of any leftover colour.

Once more, let the shoes thoroughly dry before wearing them. 


Suggested materials:
  • Canvas Shoes   (Amazon)
  • Dye bottles   (Amazon)
  • Rubber gloves   (Home centre)
See all materials

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