Switch It Up With Leather Shoe Dye
Switch up your style with leather shoe dye. If you have an old pair of leather, nubuck or suede shoes lying around and want to see what they would look like in a different color, follow this guide to get you started.
Nubuck and suede are a type of leather that is known for its fuzzy quality. You’ll need to use special nubuck or suede shoe dye, which is different than the paints used to dye normal leather shoes.
1) Cleaning Leather Shoes
The first step is cleaning. Use a toothbrush or nylon brush to remove the dust and dirt trapped within the fuzzy nap of your shoes. If mud or other substances have stained the outside of your shoes use salt water and circular brushing to help you remove these stains and prep the shoe for dyeing. Make sure to clean thoroughly as any dirt on suede and nubuck shoes can cause changes in the end color you achieve. Once the area is clean, use a dry brush to make the fine nap fibers stand up. Then the area will be prepared for dyeing.
When choosing a color keep in mind that you can only go from lighter to darker, never the other way around. Dyes, unlike paints, do not completely cover the original color underneath. Therefore the final color will be a combination of the dye color and the original color of the shoe. Black is, of course, the easiest color to dye into. But with this guide you’ll also be able to create colors like tan, brown, auburn, indigo and dark navy.
2) Dyeing and Customizing Footwear
After you’ve prepared the surface and chosen a color, apply two or three light coats followed by two thick coats. Make sure that the surface fully dries for at least fifteen minutes between each coat. This will allow the dye to be fully absorbed into the shoe. Also, when you pick it up to work on it for the second coat, the first coat will already be dry, so you won’t get it on your fingers. Patience is key as you go about the leather shoe dye process.
Use a brush to apply the nubuck or suede shoe dye in long and even strokes. Start with a very little amount at first and wait a while to see how easily the it is absorbed. Make sure the color remains even and the shoe holds one consistent color as you spread it throughout the area.
Continue applying as many coats as needed until you achieve the final shoe color you desire. If you’re looking to dye your shoe an exotic color like indigo, ultramarine or cherry red you can always get multiple dyes and use them on the same shoe. Just make sure to apply each one after the other coat has fully dried.
Once you’re done dyeing the shoe should be the color you desire. However, you can always add that illustrious shine which will really make your pet project pop. A finishing coating, like Kiwi, Leather Luster or Moneysworth will add a deep natural shine. Apply this on with a rag and light drops of water.
Once you’ve completed your project, it should be like looking in a mirror.
We hope this guide helps you explore your artistic side and create a new pair of shoes. You’ll find that for the price of the dye and materials - and a few minutes of work, you can have a pair of shoes that you’ll be able to use in your regular rotation.
- Alex Pop