Tie Dye Shoes – How to Tie Dye Sneakers

finished tie dye sneakers with rainbow tie dye pattern and white laces with the title "tie dye shoes"

Learn how to tie dye shoes in just a few steps. It’s easy to make your own tie dye sneakers, Converse, or any canvas shoes.

Table of Contents

With the tie dye craze continuing, I simply had to make some tie dye shoes. I actually got a few pairs of canvas shoes so I can dye them or do different crafts with them. But to start I want to try making my own tie dye sneakers. I’ve seen tie dye Converse or tie dye Skechers or similar brands making their own tie dye versions, but they’re just using an image of tie dye. So the question is how do you tie dye shoes to make them actually look like they were tie dyed?

I therefore made these in a similar way as to how I made my tie dye Crocs. There isn’t any actual tying involved, but the effect of swirling colors and pops of white is still there. You could also use the ice tie dye method as a different technique.

Note: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn a commission.

What Types of Shoes Are Best to Tie Dye?

For this method to tie dye shoes, you want to use white shoes and make sure they’re 100% cotton or at least above 60%. Most canvas sneakers such as Converse, Toms, Keds, and canvas Skechers shoes are 100% cotton. The canvas part will be cotton, but look for other areas that aren’t (for example the toes, sides, and laces). Anything that isn’t cotton will likely not get dyed.

If you want to tie dye plastic or other synthetic shoes you’ll need to use synthetic dye. To dye plastic shoes, see my tutorial to make pastel tie dye Crocs. Then you can also use the bleach tie dye method to dye colored shoes.

For the shape of shoe, all will work as long as they’re canvas! So you can make tie dye slippers, tie dye high tops, or classic tie dye sneakers.

Be sure to pin it to come back to it later!

two photos of the finished tie dye sneakers from the side and front with the title "step by step instructions, tie dye shoes, abcrafty.com"

Materials for Tie Dye Shoes

How to Tie Dye Shoes

Prepare the Sneakers to be Tie Dyed

Start by removing the laces.

I also ended up removing the soles in mine as I wanted to make sure no dye got on them. So that’s something you could consider doing as well. (These are similar to the ones I used)

white canvas shoes or converse with the shoelaces removed and next to them

Mix together 1 gallon of warm water with 1 cup of soda ash. Stir it until the soda ash is completely dissolved.

Soak the shoes and laces in the soda ash mixture for 20 minutes. (I know my laces are off to the side, but I did remember to soak them).

sneakers without laces soaking in a bath of soda ash

Now it’s time to do the reuse part of reduce, reuse, recycle.

Take some plastic shopping bags and stuff the shoes with them. This will help prevent the tongue or sides of the shoe from falling in on itself. You want to make sure all parts of the shoes are supported or they might not get any dye on them. 

white converse filled with plastic shopping bags

Prepare the Tie Dye

Fill a bowl with shaving cream and add in a little bit of water. Stir it together and continue to add small amounts of water until you get a thick milk shake or whipped cream consistency. Basically you want to be able to work with it and spread it, but not have it be runny.

pouring water into a bowl with shaving cream

Prepare the dyes according to the instructions on the tie dye kit. This is likely by filling the bottles with warm water and shaking them until the dye is dissolved.

Pour some dye into a container and mix in some of the shaving cream mixture. Continue to add shaving cream until the dye is thick.

Repeat the process for each color of dye. For my tie dye sneakers, I used yellow, blue, and pink.

mixing shaving cream into a yogurt container containing yellow dye

Create the Tie Dye Shoes Design

Lay two sections of plastic wrap. Make sure they are big enough to fit around your shoes. Leave extra room for the shaving cream. You’ll likely need to overlap layers.

Spread the shaving cream mixture into a rectangle. Again, make sure it’s big enough to go all around your shoe.

shaping shaving cream mixture into rectangles on plastic

Place the dye and shaving mixtures all over the shaving cream. You can make whatever design you’d like. I was originally trying to go for a star look, but it didn’t turn out at all. If anything, I would just go for random drops of dye.

If you want to have your shoes completely covered in dye, make sure the shaving cream is completely covered. For a more classic tie dye look though, leave some spaces of white.

To make matching tie dye shoes try to place the dye in the same places or mirrored.

pouring blue tie dye mixed with shaving cream onto shaving cream with tie dye on it

Then use the back of a spoon and swirl the dye to help mix the colors.

using the back of a plastic spoon to swirl tie dye throughout shaving cream

Once you’re happy with your design, place your shoe face down into the dye. Lift up the sides of the plastic wrap, making sure to push the shaving cream against the shoe.

Tip: Wiggle the shoe around a bit in the shaving cream to smear the colors more. With this pair of tie dye sneakers, I wish I had smeared the dye more to get more blending.

wrapping a white sneaker with plastic wrap that is filled with shaving cream and swirled with dye

Then wrap the shoe completely in plastic wrap. I ended up putting another sheet over it to make sure it didn’t leak.

Repeat the process on the other shoe.

Tip: Flip the shoes upright to set. Press all around to make sure the shaving cream is covering all of the shoe. Now’s the time to do any last minute smearing of colors as well.

using hands to press the shaving cream and dye around the shoes

Make the Tie Dye Shoelaces

For the shoelaces, you can either leave them white or make tie dye shoelaces to match the shoes. The one challenge is whether your shoelaces are synthetic or not. Turns out, mine were so the dye washed out so I ended up with white laces anyways.

But in case yours are cotton and want to dye them, this is a method you can use to make rainbow tie dye shoelaces.

Place the shoelaces on plastic wrap and drop dye randomly on them.

placing dye onto white shoelaces

Fold over the plastic and use your fingers to smear and mix the dye.

pressing tie dye onto white shoelaces wrapped with plastic wrap

Repeat the process adding more dye until you like how the laces look.

tie dye shoelaces wrapped in plastic wrap

Set and Wash the Tie Dye Sneakers and Shoelaces

Let the dye set for at least 6 hours, but I always recommend a full 24 hours. I also suggest putting them on some plastic wrap or in a container in case they leak.

Some of the shaving cream will evaporate off the tie dye sneakers so they’ll look a bit like this.

holding two converse covered in tie dye and wrapped in plastic

Then rinse them until the water runs clear. Then throw them in the washing machine and dryer with a couple towels so they don’t damage the machine.

Now your tie dye shoes are ready to wear! If you make your own, I’d love to see them. Tag me on Instagram @ab.crafty!

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one side of finished tie dye shoes with rainbow tie dye pattern and white laces

And here’s what the other shoe looks like.

other side of finished tie dye shoes with rainbow tie dye pattern and white laces

And from the front!

front of the finished tie dye shoes with rainbow pattern and white laces

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two photos of the finished tie dye sneakers from the side and front with the title "step by step instructions, tie dye shoes, abcrafty.com"

Tie Dye Shoes

Learn how to tie dye shoes in just a few steps. It’s easy to make your own tie dye sneakers, Converse, or any canvas shoes.
Yield 1 Pair of Tie Dye Shoes
Project Time 30 mins
Set Time 1 d
Total Time 1 d 30 mins

Materials
  

  • 1 Pair White Canvas Shoe
  • Tie Dye Kit
  • Soda Ash if the kit doesn't have soda ash
  • Shaving Cream
  • Water
  • Recycled Plastic Shopping Bags
  • Plastic Wrap

Equipment

  • Empty Containers
  • Bowl
  • Plastic Spoons

Instructions
 

Prepare the Shoes

  • Remove the laces from the shoes and soak them in a soda ash mixture (1 gallon of water with 1 cup of soda ash)
    1 Pair White Canvas Shoe, Soda Ash
    sneakers without laces soaking in a bath of soda ash
  • Fill the shoes with plastic bags
    Recycled Plastic Shopping Bags
    white converse filled with plastic shopping bags

Prepare the Dyes

  • Fill a bowl with shaving cream and add in a little bit of water until it's the consistency of whipped cream
    Shaving Cream, Water
    pouring water into a bowl with shaving cream
  • Prepare the dyes according to the package instructions. This is likely by filling the bottles with warm water and shaking them until the dye is dissolved.
    Pour some dye into a container and mix in some of the shaving cream mixture. Continue to add shaving cream until the dye is thick.
    Tie Dye Kit
    mixing shaving cream into a yogurt container containing yellow dye

Create the Tie Dye Shoes Design

  • Lay two sections of plastic wrap and spread the shaving cream mixture onto it.
    Plastic Wrap
    shaping shaving cream mixture into rectangles on plastic
  • Place the dye and shaving mixtures all over the shaving cream.
    pouring blue tie dye mixed with shaving cream onto shaving cream with tie dye on it
  • Use the back of a spoon and swirl the dye to help mix the colors.
    using the back of a plastic spoon to swirl tie dye throughout shaving cream
  • Place the shoe upside down into the shaving cream. Wrap it in the plastic, smearing and pushing the dye onto the shoe.
    placing a white converse shoe face down onto shaving cream with swirled with tie dye
  • Repeat the process with the other shoe and wrap them in plastic wrap.
    wrapping a white sneaker with plastic wrap that is filled with shaving cream and swirled with dye

Make the Tie Dye Shoelaces

  • Place the shoelaces on plastic wrap and drop dye randomly on them.
    placing dye onto white shoelaces
  • Fold over the plastic and use your fingers to smear and mix the dye.
    pressing tie dye onto white shoelaces wrapped with plastic wrap
  • Repeat the process adding more dye until you like how the laces look.
    tie dye shoelaces wrapped in plastic wrap
  • Let the dye set for at least 6 hours, but I always recommend a full 24 hours. Then rinse them until they run clear and wash them in the washing machine and dryer with some towels so they don't damage the machines.
    one side of finished tie dye shoes with rainbow tie dye pattern and white laces
Keyword Accessory, Shoes, Tie Dye, Tie Dye Kit

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