How to change the color of leather shoes

Written by darren white
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Quality leather shoes can withstand years of wear and tear. Great construction combined with timeless design make them classic essentials in any wardrobe. But what happens when you want a bit of change to follow current trends? Instead of tossing out your favourite shoes, you can easily alter their colour. With some painting and dyeing products from a local craft/fabric shop or an online store like Amazon, you can give your old favourites a new life and a new modern twist. Get ready to be trendy!

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paint Made for Leathers (such as Waproo Color Change Paint, or a Spray- On Paint)
  • Leather Dye (such as Waproo Leather Dye)
  • Leather Stripper
  • Clean Cloth
  • Leather Dye Sealer
  • Synthetic Bristle Paint Brush (if your paint/dye doesn't come with one)
  • Blank Paper
  • Newspaper or Tarp
  • Masking Tape
  • Shoe polish (optional)

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    Painting Shoes

  1. 1

    Strip leather shoes of dirt and oils by applying leather stripper with a clean cloth, rubbing to remove any oil or sheen. This will help the paint stick to the leather.

  2. 2

    Protect areas of the shoes that you do not want painted by covering these spots in masking tape.

  3. 3

    Prepare your painting area by covering it in old newspapers or a tarp to prevent possible paint stains and splatter.

  4. 4

    Test the paint on a blank sheet of paper to get a feel for how the brushed paint or spray paint works. It will also give you a better idea of how much paint you will need and how to apply it.

  5. 5

    Apply thin coats of the paint with long strokes. If using spray paint, hold the can vertically about 12" away from each shoe and spray evenly using a sweeping motion. It's OK to see the original colour peeking through.

  6. 6

    Let shoes dry for about 2 hours. Apply second and third coats as needed.

  7. 7

    Polish the shoes lightly with a leather shoe polish, following the directions on the container.

    Dyeing Leather Shoes

  1. 1

    Again, prep your workspace by putting down tarp or newspaper. Strip leather shoes of dirt and oils by applying leather stripper with a clean cloth, rubbing to remove any oil or sheen. This will help the dye stick to the leather.

  2. 2

    Apply a thin first coat of dye evenly with the brush. Let this coat dry for about 30 to 45 minutes.

  3. 3

    Apply a second coat of dye. Let dry for 2 hours.

  4. 4

    Lightly buff shoe with a clean cloth to even out application. Use a polish on the cloth for a glossy finish.

  5. 5

    Seal the dye with a leather dye sealer.

Tips and warnings

  • Always paint in a clean, well-ventilated area. The paints used have strong odours that can be harmful in closed spaces.
  • Testing the colour of the dye or paint before application is crucial since the possibility for reversal is minimal.
  • This process should not be undertaken by children.

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