Ways & How

How to Dye Leather Shoes

How to Dye Leather Shoes

Changing the color of old footwear can do wonders for its appearance. With a good dye job, a worn out pair can instantly look as if you just bought it off the store shelves yesterday. You also save money, as you don’t need to buy a new pair or bring it to a shoe repair shop for a much needed makeover. In addition, you get to create a unique or distinctive look for your footwear when you learn how to dye leather shoes. If you have a slightly used pair of an ugly color lying around, you can change its hue into something more versatile, like brown or black. Here’s what you need to know in order to dye your leather shoes successfully:

  1. Find out what kind of leather your shoes are made of. Is it cowhide or some other type? Check the label to find out for sure. Doing this will help you use the right type of dye and ensure success.

    Then, choose between an alcohol or water-based leather dye. The former dries faster and produces a strong color but makes the leather a bit stiffer, and the shoe color may bleed onto clothes or anything the shoe rubs against.



    he latter, the water-based type, may not give as intense of a color, but it keeps the leather soft, supple, and less flammable.

  2. After you’ve determined the most suitable type of dye, choose a color. Some stores have dyes that come with samples, which you can check to confirm the specific shade you want. If there are no samples, try testing it on a small leather swatch.

  3. Once you have the right dye, gather all other materials you’ll need: 2 sponges, a mildly abrasive cleaning pad, a wool-based dauber, rubber gloves, a mask, clear acrylic for finishing, sheets of newspaper, masking tape, and a soft cloth. Some dyes are sold as kits, which means it may come with a stripper or preparer. If not, you’ll need to buy a small bottle of this liquid.

  4. Pick a work area that is well-lit and well-ventilated but not drafty. You’ll want the dye or stain fumes to leave the room via open doors or windows, but you don’t want a breeze, which may dry out the shoes or the dye itself prematurely.

    Spread the newspapers on a work table, floor, or any surface. To be safe, see to it that you have at least two to three layers of newspaper to protect the surface from spills.

  5. With gloves on, use a clean cloth to rub your shoes with the preparer or leather stripper. This removes any residues or oils so that the dye sticks better. If there are any areas that you don’t want stained, cover them with masking tape. Leave the shoes to dry for about 15 minutes.

  6. Some dyes require a wet surface, while others need to be applied on dry leather. Check the instructions to make sure you’re doing things right. If the label on the dye says you need to wet the leather, do so evenly with one of your sponges, which should be damp but not dripping wet.

  7. Paint or wipe on the dye using a brush applicator if it comes with the product, a sponge, or a wool dauber. Do so with long, even strokes starting from the edges. Let the first layer dry, which could be anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, before applying a second coating. Keep repeating the process until you get the desired intensity of the color you chose.

  8. Let the shoes completely dry and buff them to even out the color and remove any residue.

  9. Seal in the color with a clear acrylic or some other neutral sealant so that the color does not rub off.

Learning how to dye leather shoes isn’t that difficult. So why don’t you try giving a pair of leather footwear a much needed makeover toda

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