In today’s post: Learn how to tie dye shoes using Sharpies and alcohol! It’s easy enough for kids and fun for all ages. Tie Dye Shoes are an easy summer craft project you can complete in under an hour.
Tie Dye Shoes
Summer always seems like a great time to tie dye something, right? The only problem is that tie dyeing can be a HUGE hassle! Sure, it’s fun and super cool, but you have to be committed to the process (and ready to spend soooo much time rinsing 😂 ).
My daughter and I decided to take an easier approach to a fun tie dye project this summer and make Sharpie Tie Dyed Shoes. They’re so easy! You color on shoes with Sharpies, then drop on alcohol to make the colors bleed and blend. There’s no messy buckets of dye, no rinsing, and the shoes dry in about 15 minutes. We went a little crazy with a rainbow swirl and ended up with these psychedelic beauties:
To make rainbow tie dye shoes, you’ll need the following:
- White Canvas Shoes: I found mine at Walmart for under $6 (you can often find inexpensive canvas shoes at craft stores as well). I chose to use a slip on style without laces, but you can absolutely use shoes with laces – just remove them before dying.
- Sharpies: choose colors that will blend will
- Rubbing Alcohol: 91% rubbing alcohol works MUCH BETTER than 70% rubbing alcohol. You should be able to find both versions at any pharmacy or grocery store; just be sure to grab the 91% version
- Dropper: You can use any type of pipette or medicine dropper. I found the one I used in the eye/ear section of the Walmart pharmacy. If you cannot find a dropper you could use a spray bottle instead
- Masking tape: optional, if you want to tape off the soles so they don’t get colored
Tips for Success
This is an easy craft project that’s perfect for teens, adults, or older kids (younger kids could do this with some help). For the best results, keep these tips in mind:
Protect your work surface with newspapers or paper towels, and keep some paper towels handy for wiping up any drips. Your hands may pick up some color, so wear gloves if that will bother you.
The ink from the Sharpies will bleed and mix, so choose colors that will blend well. Try to avoid putting colors like pink and green right next to each other.
Avoid using very dark colors as they tend to bleed and take over the lighter colors. When using a mix of light and dark colors, use more of the light colors and less of the dark.
Be sure to leave some white space on the shoes to allow for bleeding and blending. if you want more color you can always add it, but if you put too much on at the beginning you might not be happy with your finished shoes. Here is a comparison of my shoes before and after adding alcohol:
How to Make Sharpie Tie Dye Shoes
- White Canvas Shoes
- Sharpie Markers
- Rubbing Alcohol 94%
- Dropper or Spray Bottle
- Masking Tape
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- Tape off the soles of the shoes and anywhere else you don't want to dye. If your shoes have laces, remove them.
- Use Sharpies to draw designs on your shoes. Draw a swirl design, or stripes, or anything else you'd like. Remember to put colors that will blend well next to each other.
- Finish drawing on the entire shoe, leaving some areas white. You can add more color later if needed.
- Use a dropper to drop alcohol onto the ink on the shoes, starting on the lighter colors. The colors will start to bleed and blend in the direction that the alcohol moves on the shoe.
- Continue dropping alcohol until colors are as blended as you'd like. Colors will look VERY bright while they are wet, but will soften a bit in intensity when they dry.Pay attention to the tape; as it gets wet it may get loose, so keep a paper towel handy to dab up any excess ink.If you want more color on your shoe, wait about 10 minutes until if feels dry and add more color, then drop on more alcohol.
- Remove the masking tape and wipe off the soles. Some color may bleed under the tape, but if you are careful you should be able to keep the soles mostly white. Allow shoes to dry completely (24 hours) before wearing.