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How to dye ballet shoes

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you are a ballet mum or an advanced ballet student, at some point in time you may need to dye a pair of ballet shoes. Since most dancers don't have access to wardrobe professionals, mastering the art of dyeing ballet shoes at home is essential.

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Satin ballet shoes

  1. Crumple up sheets of newspaper or paper towels and fill several small plastic bags.

  2. Use the stuffed plastic bags to tightly stuff the satin shoes. This stuffing will protect the inside of your shoe from being colored during the dyeing process.

  3. Select a liquid fabric dye and follow the manufacturer's instructions for mixing before applying to the shoe. You may wish to test the dye on a part of the shoe that is not easily visible before proceeding.

  4. Put on a pair of plastic gloves and use a cotton ball or small sponge to apply the dye to the ballet shoes. You should wring out as much of the dye as possible before applying the sponge to the shoe. Remember that if you use too much liquid, the satin may shrink and warp your ballet shoe.

  5. Allow the shoes to dry completely after the first coat and repeat until the desired color is reached. Remember that you can always go darker, but it is impossible to remove color once it has been applied.

  6. Try a permanent ink artist's marker for a quick color change. The color may not be as consistent as the traditional dyeing method.

  7. Dab on some professional stage makeup to dye your shoes. This technique will create a matte finish, and it may be possible to achieve a subtler color change by applying greasepaint to your shoes.

Leather ballet slippers

  1. Use caution when attempting to dye leather ballet slippers. Do a small test patch with aerosol paint before completely painting the shoe.

  2. Follow the same stuffing procedures as with a satin shoe before you paint a leather shoe, and be prepared to let them dry for at least 24 to 48 hours.

  3. Do not overpaint the shoes, as this will make them stiff.

  4. Achieve a more consistent look in dyeing a leather shoe by seeking the assistance of a well-trained cobbler or shoe repair shop.

  5. Warning

    Never dye damp or wet shoes. Leave worn shoes out in a warm, dry area for at least 24 to 48 hours before dyeing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic paint
  • Plastic bowl
  • Paper or plastic draping
  • Sponge or cotton ball
  • Fabric dye
  • Small plastic bags
  • Plastic gloves
  • Newspaper or paper towels

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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