So…I may be completely crazy for doing this…but I painted my Swedish Hasbeens. Now, before you pull your hair out in disagreement, I feel like I ieould mention that I have literally NEVER worn these shoes out and I have had them for YEARS. No exaggeration. Which is exactly why I decided to paint them. So that I could actually wear them.
Okay, so now that I’ve over explained myself. Let’s get to the before and after photos. Here’s the side by side…
I’ve been searching for a more colorful neutral lately, so I went with a rich wine color. Which works with pretty much every outfit I own…or close to it. Mission accomplished. Now I can finally get some use out of these puppies.
To dye leather like a pro, you’ll need a good textile dye, a paint brush, and some painter’s tape. My favorite textile dye is Dye-na-Flow by Jacquarde. That’s what I used for this project and the leather bound notepads DIY. Good stuff! AND it also helps if you’re dyeing a lighter leather, like mine.
First things first – be sure to tape off the areas that you do not want the dye to go. You want to make sure the tape is nice and secure to get a crisp clean line. This really helps to make the finished shoe look like it was always the new color (as opposed to painted on, which isn’t always a cool look).
As for the dyeing, it works just like paint. The only difference is that it’s less forgiving than paint. You need to apply pretty even coats for the leather to maintain an allover color that doesn’t appear blotchy. It’s still simple to do though, even with a larger surface area to cover. You’ll just have to go over the entire area several times with a paint brush and more dye to get even coverage that builds up over a few layers.
More Tips: I also found that painting in just one direction and not overfilling your brush with dye helps with getting even coverage.
Once you’ve reached the desired color, allow the dye to dry completely before using. You can get your blow dryer out to speed up the process, if you’re impatient like me.
Photography by Linda Jednaszewski
Concept and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff
So now that you know how to dye leather shoes like a pro, think you’ll give this DIY a try? I bet there’s at least one pair of shoes in your closet that you could get some new use out of it with a quick dyeing facelift.