Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dying for a new lease of life - how to dye leather shoes.

I just love Dr Martens Shoes. I have done since I was about 17. Several years ago I had these tan leather Mary Jane DM shoes, which I wore all the time. You can see from the photo that they had become scuffed and rather tatty, to the point of being unsuitable to wear and they ended up relegated to the backof the shoe cupboard. 

A few weeks ago I was clearing out, and wondered if there was anything I could do to breathe new life into these that wasn't going to cost the earth. After a little bit of research I discovered that dying leather shoes wasn't that difficult and relatively inexpensive.

Step 1. Clean the layers of polish off the shoe. you can buy special deglazer to do this, but I used nail polish remover and cotton pads. deeper scuffs could be sanded with fine sand paper.

 Step 2. The dye. I bought Fiebing's leather dye from Amazon, it cost about £5, but i had some gift vouchers so I used those. I also bought neutral wax shoe polish, this was only £1. You will also need something to apply the dye with. I used a sponge dabber, but a natural fabric cloth or paintbrush would also work well. Gloves are also a good ideas to keep your hands clean.

Step 3. Cover the surface you are using with Newspsper and stuff the shoes with paper too to support them while you apply the dye.

Step 4.  Apply the dye. I worked in sections, starting from  the heel so I could check it was going on ok. This dye did run a little, but that was becasue I put too much on the sponge. apply a thin even layer and allow to dry fully. Depending on the style of your shoe, you may need to mask some areas with tape. I just wiped spills away with damp cotton wool. After the first coat of dye the shoes had a pinky tinge. In total I applied three coats of dye, allowing the shoes to dry completely in between each one. In total I used less than 1/3 of the bottle of dye.

 Step 5. Polish. I applied wax polish and buffed to a shine. I used two layers of the clear polish to achieve a good finish. The colour darkens considerably when the polish is added, so bear that in mind. I'm really pleased with the outcome and feel that these shoes have a new lease of life. can't wait to wear them.


  1. A research in leather dyeing can certainly help one enabling their DIY work with inexpensiveness. Steps displayed are well ordered and the result achieved also seems a series of hard work. Appreciate!

  2. These shoes look great - what a fabulous idea. I'd not thought about using nail polish remover, so thanks for that.


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