If you think tie-dyed gear is reserved solely for your hippie aunt who lives in Tucson, think again. Tie-dyed clothing, shoes and accessories remain on trend in 2020, and the fun-loving style shows no signs of stopping. When you’re ready to turn a basic pair of white high-tops into your own custom-made kicks, here’s how.
- Choose Your Shoes
Before you channel your inner artist, you need to pick the right pair of shoes. When looking to buy mens sneakers online for tie-dyeing, choose a pair made of canvas, which will allow the shoes to soak up dye in a way that leather shoes can’t.
- Remove the Laces
If you don’t want your laces to be tie-dyed, be sure to take them out before you begin. Keeping laces white makes them stand out against the shoe’s dizzying palette when you’re all done. It also exposes the tongue of the shoe, making it easier to dye.
- Find a Mess-Friendly Place To Work
Tie-dyeing can get chaotic. Find a spot where a few wayward flecks of color won’t ruin your day. The garage, utility room, or just about anywhere outdoors and away from patio furniture are all good places to get your art on.
- Soak Your Shoes
It makes no difference if you’re using Keds, Vans or PUMA sneakers: Before you unleash the dyes, you need to soak your shoes in a bucket filled with 1 gallon of water and ½ cup of soda ash. Let them steep for at least 10 minutes, which aids the color-absorption process, then wring your sneakers out and allow them to totally dry.
- Plan Your Look
Do you want a super-stripey, multicolored look? How about a simpler, old-school, two-color tie-dye swirl? These are the decisions you should make before you crack open any bottles of dye.
- Cover Your Hands and Your Workspace
The last step before the real fun begins is to protect your skin and the surface beneath your shoes. Any simple, plastic gloves will do. In lieu of a tarp, laying out a plastic garbage beneath your sneakers will guard against spills and stains.
- Start Dyeing
Using an inexpensive paint brush, start putting dye to shoe — lightest hues first. As you work, leave a small border between colors — think ¼ of an inch — to give each color room to spread without running into its neighbor. If you want your shoes to match, work with one color at a time on both shoes before moving on to another dye.
- Let the Color Set
When your formerly boring white sneakers for women or men are sufficiently awesome, place them in a plastic bag and leave them alone to dry for 24 hours.
- Wash Your New Shoes
Finally, you need to remove any excess chemicals from your dye job. Scrub your high-tops with a soft brush and two squirts of dish soap or toss them in your washing machine and launder them on the normal setting with cold water and ¼ cup of detergent. Let them air dry one more time for three hours before replacing your laces.
Fashion doesn’t have to send your bank account into fits. If you’re looking for an affordable way to add a one-of-a-kind look to your closet, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and tie-dye some sneakers.