How to Tie Dye Shoes – Step-by-Step Guide

Plain white shoes can be boring. If you want to give your shoe a touch of fun to showcase your personality, tie-dying is the way to go. So, how do you make tie-dye shoes?

The process of tie-dyeing your shoes is very simple. You may even have some of the products needed in your home. Other products you may have to purchase, but they are all affordable.

These products along with some creativity will have you creating some awesome, customized, colorful shoes in no time.

How to Tie Dye White Shoes using a Tie-Dye Kit

If you’re using a tie-dye kit, then follow these simple steps below.tie dye white shoes

1. Remove the Laces

If your white shoes include laces, then you should remove them if you want them to remain white. If not, you can leave them on so that they can be part of the tie-dye effect.

You can also place painter’s tape or masking tape on your shoe to cover any spots that you want to keep clean.

2. Soak the Shoe

Most tie-dye kits come with soda ash and detailed instructions on how to prepare the shoe before applying the dye. If not, you can find soda ash at any craft supply store. Usually, you take about ½ a cup of soda ash and add it to 1 gallon of warm water. Place your shoe in a bucket or similar container and leave your shoes to soak for about 10 minutes. This process helps the shoe absorb the dye so you can get better results.

3. Dry the Shoe

After 10 minutes, remove the shoe and wring out any excess water. Do not rinse the shoe. Once all the excess water has been squeezed out, put the shoe in the sun to dry. The shoe can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, or more, to dry completely.

4. Think Ahead

Make a plan, and ensure you have a design idea and a color story. You can choose to place random blobs of color for a funky, artistic look or place colors at specific spots for a neater look.

5. Mix the Dye

Tie-dye kits will come with three or more colors, which should give you enough to play around with. If you are buying the dye separately, be sure to follow the exact instructions on how to mix your dye.

There are various types of dye so the instructions may differ.

6. Prepare the Workspace

If you’re going to be working on a surface that you want to keep clean, lay down some old newspaper or plastic covering. You should also use a pair of gloves to keep your fingers from staining. Most tie-dye kits come with a pair of gloves, otherwise, you can use any medical-grade or kitchen gloves.

7. Fill up the Applicator Bottles

Your kit should include some applicator bottles with the dye already in them. If that’s the case, fill the bottles to the top with water. Close them up and shake well to combine the water and the dye.

8. Apply the Dye

To apply the dye, remove the caps of the bottles and use a paintbrush. Use a small paintbrush to apply the dye as this will give you more control and precision, resulting in a better tie-dye effect. Alternatively, you can use a squirt bottle or sponge to apply the dye. Start by applying the lighter colors first then add the darker ones. Applying the light colors first ensures that they are not overpowering the lighter ones.

9. Dye each Shoe Simultaneously

Rather than working on one shoe at a time, work on them both simultaneously. This helps to make sure that they are both colored evenly and are a close match. You will also be able to blend colors and fix any mistakes along the way.

10. Clean the Brush before Dipping into another Color

Remember to always wash the brush before dipping it into another color. You can also choose to have different brushes for each color. If you do not use a clean brush, then you run the risk of contaminating the dye with the previous color.

11. Leave it to Set

Place the shoe in a plastic bag or wrap with saran wrap and leave it to set for 12-24 hours. This way the dye gets fully absorbed into the fabric of the shoes.

12. Wash and Leave to Air Dry

After 24 hours, wash the shoe by hand or in the washer to remove any chemicals from the dye. Then, put your shoe in the sun to air dry.

How to Tie Dye Shoes with Sharpies

Tie-dying your shoe with Sharpies is a fun and simple way to bring some life to your white shoe. This method is way easier than using a tie-dye kit.tie dye shoes with sharpies

1. Use Masking Tape

Cover any areas that you want to keep white with masking tape.

2. Draw your Design

Take your colored Sharpies and draw your designs on the shoe. Try to copy it as similar as possible on the other shoe, but it’s okay if it isn’t a perfect match.

3. Apply Rubbing Alcohol

Add rubbing alcohol to a syringe or dropper and slowly add the alcohol to the shoe. Do one shoe at a time, go slow, and watch the magic happen.

4. Leave Shoe to Dry

After you’ve finished, leave the shoe to air dry.


Go ahead, gather up your supplies and add some life to your plain white shoes. As you can see, the process is very simple, and you do not require expensive products to make it happen. To add other fun designs to your shoe, read this how-to paint shoe guide.

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