How to dye canvas shoes with rit dye

Written by jess jones
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It's easy to get tired of the same old white canvas shoes. If you have a relatively new pair of white canvas shoes and want to jazz them up a bit, why not dye them? Rit dye has been the product of choice for many years for people who want to dye anything from clothes to draperies. As of 2009, Rit dye was available in 26 colours, which is infinitely more than your choices when you walk into a shoe store to buy canvas shoes. Whether you have a little one who is in love with the colour orange or you need pink shoes to match an outfit, follow these steps to change your shoes from boring to bold.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Washer
  • Latex gloves
  • Large bucket
  • 2 packages Rit dye in your colour choice
  • 3.5 gallons hot water
  • Old wooden spoon
  • Trash bag

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  1. 1

    If your shoes have never been worn, you do not need to wash them before dying them. If your shoes have been worn, wash them in your washer on a low agitation cycle.

  2. 2

    Put on the gloves to keep from staining your hands. Pour 3.5 gallons of hot water into the bucket. Add two packages of Rit dye to the water and stir well with the wooden spoon. Be sure to use a spoon that you don't mind tossing once your shoes are dyed because the dye will also colour the spoon.

  3. 3

    Carefully lower shoes into the dye, one shoe at a time. Do this slowly to prevent the dye from splashing on anything you don't want dyed, such as your clothing.

  4. 4

    Leave the shoes in the dye for 30 minutes. Stir the shoes in the dye every 10 minutes to keep the colour consistent.

  5. 5

    Carefully remove the shoes from the dye and rinse until the water runs clear.

  6. 6

    Place the shoes, soles down, on a trash bag. Allow them to dry for 24 hours.

  7. 7

    Empty and rinse the bucket immediately to prevent staining.

Tips and warnings

  • Coloured shoes can also be dyed another colour but the result is less predictable. Visit the Rit Dye website to determine what colour combination will get you the results you want:
  • Avoid wearing dyed shoes in wet weather as this can cause the dye to bleed onto your socks and feet.
  • Hot water can cause some shoes to shrink.

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