Dip-Dyed Shoes

I love the current dip-dyed trend, and have long been looking for an excuse to use the ‘Stained by Sharpie’ pens I picked up a little while ago. We’ve also been looking for an opportunity to try doodling and decorating our own shoes, so this project was a way of bringing all those things together.

My younger son also fancied having a go, but used a more direct approach than me, to draw directly onto the shoe (see below).



For myself, I decided to try  a more experimental ‘dip-dyed’ technique as illustrated at the top of the page, and described below:

First of all I dipped the whole shoe into a bucket of water to start with, before drawing on it, to encourage the colour to bleed and spread, giving softer edges.

I then added a band of colour around the base of the shoes,  and placed them into a shallow tray of water (the level of which just touched the fabric of the shoe above the rubber sole) to encourage the colour to spread upwards.

After that I removed the shoes from the tray and continued to add colour to the damp fabric, I also kept a spray of water to hand and a wet brush to further modify and encourage the ink to spread where necessary.

One of the biggest problems was getting each shoe to match the other – though in some ways it isn’t that important if they are not identical – these are after all hand-produced and unique, and that is part of their beauty, but I did want them to look pretty similar, and I think we both managed to achieve this.

The important thing to remember with the dip-dyed approach is that it is difficult to really control the finished effect. I thought I’d nailed it, and left the finished shoes to dry (stuffed with newspaper to speed the process up), only to find that when they had dried they looked completely different. Fortunately I still liked the effect!

I shall definitely be doing a few more at some point, as I have lots of ideas for different approaches – for example I’d like to try a more ‘traditional’ pair of doodled shoes using just a black pen, and maybe some different coloured dip-dyed shoes as well. Just 2 more projects to add to an already very long list!