How To Dye Leather Shoes? Are your leather boots starting to look worn? It is easy to dye leather boots. You can dye your boots yourself, whether you want to cover up scratches or scuffs. This is a great way for boots to get a new look and give them a fresh coat of color.
The Cardinal Rules Of Dyeing
1. All dye projects are experimental
The dye can react differently to different materials and is unpredictable. It is impossible to predict exactly what will happen. You can make dyes more consistent but don’t dye anything you cannot bear to dye. Keep your eyes open and be flexible. The result might not be what you expected, but you may still love it.
2. Dye is transparent
Dye is not painted. It cannot cover up anything. Applying dye to leather is similar to applying thin layers of colored cellophane. Each coat will darken the color and blend with the colors below.
It is impossible to dye leather a lighter shade. You can’t dye a shoe that is already tan with this blue dye. Instead, think about how it will turn tan+blue. This mix might look amazing, but it may not.
3. Dye is permanent
These dyes are permanent. There is no going back. You can’t go back if you dye an area you didn’t want. This is what you should do.
The project is not recommended for children younger than 5 years old. However, children who can use paints without spilling and can not put colorful liquids or brushes in their mouths could participate with adult supervision.
Although the dyes aren’t particularly toxic, they are acetone and alcohol-based and should not even be applied to the skin.
How To Dye Leather Shoes?
1. What You Will Need
You’ll need to order a few extra supplies:
Deglaze and leather preparer. Angelus Leather Preparer is what I use. It works very well. Acetone or other Saphir products could also be used. This is done to remove the original outer finish from the shoe.
Leather dye. Angelus leather dye is an alcohol-based product. The drying time for alcohol-based dyes is quick. They are easy to apply and produce vivid colors. These dyes are superior to oil- or water-based dyes. Saphir also offers a range of alcohol-based dyes, which look amazing but aren’t available in the US.
Shoe polish. To restore the color after dyeing, you need a high-quality polish. I highly recommend Meltonian Cream Polish or Kiwi Polish. Saphir products are also excellent. Choose a neutral color over a tinted one.
You can dye your shoes! Yes. These dyes can be used on natural smooth leather. Angelus also sells a version for suede. In my case, however, the smooth-leather color produced satisfactory results on suede. These products will not dye fabric, vinyl, plastic, and leather predictably.
It’s worth investing in the best stuff right from the start. Although you may find “leather dyes” at your local craft or hardware store, it is worth investing in quality alcohol-based dyes.
These are more difficult to use but yield better results. They are not sold in many stores due to safety concerns. Angelus dyes are also very affordable – the best product for the job can rarely be found at a reasonable price.
These dyes and supplies are available from several great suppliers. Both AngelusDirect.com, as well as DharmaTrading.com, were great.
Some general-purpose supplies are also needed, which can be found locally.
You can get dirty in your workspace (remember that the dye is permanent).
You can get your hands dirty with a few rags.
A few small plastic containers or cups with lids
If you don’t want your fingers to turn the color of your project, use latex or nitrile gloves
Brush cleaner for oil- or lacquer-based paints
High-quality masking tape (blue and green)
Small paintbrushes. I prefer a 1/2” angle shader brush.
If you have scraps of leather of the same color, please send them to us.
Supply for shoe polishing – polishing cloths, buffing brushes, and horsehair brushes
2. Prepare the Leather
First, remove any existing finish. Start with a dry, clean shoe with the laces removed. Use a cotton cloth to rub the shoe’s existing finish. Keep flipping the cloth if you’re removing a lot of color or material. This will ensure that you don’t spread the finish all over the cloth.
Use Angelus Preparer and Acetone in an area that is well ventilated. No open flames, smoking, or open flames!
The leather should become duller and lighter in appearance. You can see my tests with natural CXL lighten and the final result on the complete shoe in the images.
This time should be used to cover any areas that you don’t want to dye. You cannot remove dye from any area that it touches. Use high-quality masking tape to protect areas you do not want to be dyed. In this instance, I want the outsole & felt to look natural, so I’ve masked them completely.
Tip: Wrap the cloth around a tongue-depressor or other similar wooden stick to get a thick finish. Then use the deglaze to scrape the finish.
3. Test Your Colors
Test your dyes on swatches made of the same color leather or hidden areas on the shoe if you are able. Every dye reacts differently to different leathers, so you need to test it. Do not rely on catalog swatches.
This is a case where I’m using the Angelus dye to color some suede. It is not recommended. Angelus offers a range of dyes that are specifically for suede.
These are often the best choices. After a few test swatches, I am satisfied with the results and will move forward. If I had known from the start that my project would be made from suede, I would have ordered the correct dye.
In all cases, multiple coats can darken the color. The final reconditioning or polishing will also darken it. This is something to keep in mind when planning your results.
4. Dye the Shoes!
This is the main event. These shoes can be dyed!
The sponge dauber that Angelus dye comes in is a sponge dauber. It works well on suede and large surfaces. However, it is too strong to dye soft leather shoes to use a small paintbrush. This brush was the perfect size to use for these shoes.
Here are some tips to get great results
Always read the instructions of the manufacturer before you make any changes.
Use long, consistent strokes and keep the brush moist.
Apply your first coat evenly and wait for each section to dry before applying the second.
Some brushstrokes will be left behind, especially if you are using lighter colors. These strokes can be made more artistic than ugly by following the natural lines of your shoe. When polishing shoes, follow stitch lines and use the same brush strokes as a horsehair brush.
Blending colors can make your dye deeper. I began with two coats of Oxblood. Then, I blended Oxblood 50/50 with Cordovan 50/50 in a plastic cup.
This darker blend was used to dye the cap, edges, and stitch lines of the OSB Oxfords. This gives the shoe a vintage patina and highlights the lighter colors in the stitches. For more inspiration, you can search Google Image for “Italian shoe patina”.
Angelus dye thinner is recommended for very light shoes that are being dyed with very pale colors. This will allow you to create more coats and give you greater control over the color.
Take it slow and make comparisons often. While you can make an area darker with more dye, it is impossible to make it lighter. This is particularly important when you begin your second shoe.
Although the dye will dry quickly, it is best to wait 20 minutes before removing any masking tape. Suede can hold liquid dye for longer, and it will take longer to dry.
5. Finish Work
You’re not done yet!
After the finish stripper and dye have dried the leather, it is time to protect the dyed surface. Angelus offers an acrylic finisher that gives the leather a strong shine. However, I prefer a natural waxed finish.
Although there are so many excellent tutorials on polished shoes, I won’t spend too much time. Here are the basics:
Make sure to test your conditioners and polishes on scraps. Some will significantly darken the color, while others may only slightly.
Use neutral polishes and not colored. This will give your color more depth and act as a clear coat.
You want to use something that will condition and protect the leather. This could be a cream polish or a straight-up conditioner. You can also use Lexol conditioner or Meltonian Cream Polish.
You may see some dye in the first layer of polish. To avoid this, use a clean cloth and rotate it often.
Allow the polish to dry and then buff it with a horsehair brush.
You can read also: How To Dry Shoes Recommended For You
You can repeat the process as often as you need or use a paste wax such as Kiwi for a deeper shine.
Allow the shoe to dry completely for 24 hours before brushing again. You can maintain your shoes by periodically polishing or conditioning them (but don’t do it too often) and cleaning them after every wear. Shoes will last longer if you clean them properly.
Enjoy your new shoes.
Is it possible to dye leather shoes?
To dye leather like a pro, you’ll need a good textile dye, a paintbrush, and some painter’s tape. … As for the dyeing, it works just like paint. The only difference is that it’s less forgiving than paint. You need to apply pretty even coats for the leather to maintain an all-over color that doesn’t appear blotchy.
Does black shoe polish dye leather?
Yes and no. Shoe polish is mostly a petroleum-based wax with a staining agent added (for lack of better wording). It helps disguise minor scuffs and permits putting a high gloss onto the leather.