How to dye white leather shoes

Written by kimbry parker
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How to dye white leather shoes
Give your shoes a makeover by dyeing them. (Celebratory female white shoes image by terex from

Dyeing white leather shoes is a quick and easy way to give your shoes a makeover. Whether the colour on the shoes is beginning to look dingy or you simply want to give them a new look, dyeing them will do the trick. Applying dye to white leather shoes can be done in no time and for little cost. Don't throw out your old white leather shoes just yet. Spruce them up by dyeing them a new colour.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Leather stripper
  • Rags
  • Old toothbrush
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Leather dye
  • Disposable bowl
  • Soft cloth or dauber
  • Small make-up brush
  • Buffing cloth
  • Leather polish (optional)

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  1. 1

    Dampen a rag with leather stripper and rub it briskly over the shoes. Use an old toothbrush to strip hard-to-reach places on the shoes. Stripping will remove polish, oils and tanning finishes from the shoes. Removing such substances will ensure that the dye adheres properly to the leather. Wait about ten minutes after stripping to proceed with dyeing.

  2. 2

    Set up your work area. Lay plastic sheeting down on a flat surface to be used for dyeing. This will eliminate the need for extensive cleanup and protect your surface from the dye.

  3. 3

    Pour some leather dye into a disposable bowl. Some dyes are equipped with a dauber for applying the dye. If your dye does not include a dauber, use a soft cloth for application.

  4. 4

    Dip the cloth or dauber into the bowl of dye to absorb a moderate amount. Rub the dye over the shoes with long, smooth strokes. Avoid applying too much dye; brush away drips and puddles promptly. Use a small make-up brush to get the dye into hard to reach spots on the shoes. If you get dye on places of the shoes that were unintended to be dyed, wipe it off promptly with a damp rag.

  5. 5

    Allow the dye to dry completely according to the manufacturer's instructions. This generally takes about 30 minutes.

  6. 6

    Apply a second coat of dye, if necessary. Apply subsequent coats of dye to the leather, as necessary, until the desired colour has been achieved. Allow the dye to dry between each coat.

  7. 7

    Allow the shoes to dry for at least two hours after the final coat of dye has been applied. Wipe down the shoes with a soft cloth to buff. Apply a leather polish to the shoes, if desired, to provide shine.

Tips and warnings

  • Stuff the shoes with newspaper prior to dyeing. This will make the surface smooth and even during the dyeing process.
  • Follow the link in the "Resources" section for a colour chart for dyeing your white leather shoes.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the dye.

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