There are only so many ways to make a canvas shoe. Vans, Keds, K-Swiss, and TOMS all have their versions of the classic canvas sneaker – and those are just specialty brands. Nearly every brand has a take on this wardrobe staple, so it can become difficult to take part in the trend for fear of blending in.
Fortunately, with a little time and effort, you can create a custom pair that is exclusively yours. This goes for every garment. Buy something and don’t be afraid to make it your own.
I like to dye things. Clothes, curtains, tapestries, and especially shoes. Whether tie-dying, soaking, painting or dip-dying, there is nothing like changing the color of a piece of clothing to enhance it.
Things you’ll need (photo 1):
o shoes, made from natural fiber o dye, one or more colors, I like Rit best o table salt o masking tape o basin for dying, i.e., sink or bowl o towel or cloth to dry on
Dissolve about 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of warm water in the dying basin (photo 2). Dampen the areas of the shoe that will be colored and the laces of desired. Begin adding the dye to the warm solution per the instructions on the dye package.
To test the intensity of the dye solution, fold one lace in half, and starting at the center, dip it into the solution (photo 3). If a more intense hue is desired, add more dye until the desired intensity is reached. Dye the second lace in the same manner. Lay them on the towel to dry.
Use masking tape to give yourself a dipping guideline by sectioning off the desired dye area (photo 4). Remember, depending on the shoe, the fabric may cause the pigment to wick further into the fabric than expected.
Dip the desired area into the solution. Stir the dye while the fabric is soaking and continually dip the fabric in and out of the solution. When the desired intensity of color is reached, allow the excess solution to drip from the shoe, then place onto the cloth or towel to dry (photo 5).
After the laces and shoes have dried completely, mix another batch of salt water, and dampen the laces and second dying areas on each shoe (photo 6).
Repeat the steps to check the dye intensity with the laces and the second color. Folding the lace in half again, dip the laces further into the solution, creating a gradient effect (photo 7). Repeat with the second lace, and set them aside to dry.
Again, dip the desired area of the shoe in the dye bath, stirring the solution frequently and dipping the shoe in and out of the solution, until the desired color intensity is reached (photo 8).
Let the shoes drip dry over the solution before setting them aside to dry. Repeat the steps above for any additional colors, lace them up, and enjoy your one-of-a-kind tennies (photo 9).