Custom dyeing faux suede shoes

For the passed few weeks I’d been on the hunt for the perfect pair of vintage inspired heels, the pairs that I have liked have either been out of my budget or discontinued.
Over the holiday break I found a pair of Chelsea Crew shoes in a Facebook group that were ALMOST perfect.
I say almost because the ones I found were pink and I was after white.
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I bought them anyway because they were cheap enough for me to experiment with in the hopes that I could dye them white.
I hit my first snag before I even got them, they weren’t leather or faux leather, they were faux suede.
I had planned on buying shoe paint that works on leather but since these are synthetic suede the shoe paint wouldn’t work, so I had to do a little research first.
After searching online I found using suede dyes won’t work either on faux suede, the material just doesn’t absorb the dye as well.

I wasn’t about to give up! I already have a few pairs of pink shoes so I didn’t need any more, I needed white. And then it hit me, my scary light bulb moment.
Why don’t I just paint them?!
So I plucked up the courage and did exactly that….and it worked!

So to breath new life into old shoes you will need:
-A pair of shoes.
It’s best to choose colours similar to what you’d like your end result to be.
You will have a heck of a hard time trying to get a black pair of shoes to go pastel blue than pink to white like I did.
*I have only done this with faux suede*
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– Acrylic pain of your choosing ( I used white paint I got from a hardware store)
-Paint brush
-Container for water
-Paper towel
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Before you begin something like this it’s always important to do a test patch first
As you can just see, I did my test patch on an area I planned on removing anyway ( I’ll get to that later on) to see if it would work.
Once I knew it would work I put some paper towel in the shoe to minimise splatter on the insole.
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Once you’ve done that you can start to paint! You want your paint to be watery.
Building up light layers works much better than using straight paint.
Your paint should look something like this.
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Using light even layers go over all the areas you want to colour.
I did two coats at a time and left to dry for a few hours in between.
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After doing this a couple times you can see the colour start to become more defined (and your fears about ruining your shoes start to drift away)
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I wish I could tell you how many coats I used but to be honest I lost/stopped/forgot to keep count.
I just kept working in thin layers until I was happy with the coverage.
I also painted the insole where the peep toe is so it wouldn’t look so out of place having the dark pink showing.
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*The next steps may not be relevant to the shoes you’re working on but I’ll include them anyway*

Once I had the colour looking about right and they were fully dried I moved onto those flap things.
I bought the shoes with the intention of colouring them white and removing the flap because it just looked weird and out of place.
So I used sharp scissors to carefully remove this piece.
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In hindsight, I should have used smaller scissors because these were too big and resulted in a not so clean cut.
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Next I just painted that seam line where I removed the flap

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And they’re done!
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Well almost.
I plan to go over the shoes with a matte top coat, I just need to find one that will dry pliable which is important, they will be worn after all so something finding something that dries hard is not advisable.

q

Now some important things to note….
Going from the dark dusty rose colour to white required a lot of layers, because of this it has changed the texture of the shoe fabric.
They no longer feel like suede but more of a patent which I actually prefer.
The shoes will require some sort of water proofing as the paint will come off if they get wet.
My advice would be to speak to a cobbler as they may be able to advise you on the best product to use.
And lastly, choose your final shoe colour according to the existing colour.
I think it would have been near impossible to get this shoe white if it started off any darker than what it was.

With that being said, you can now enjoy those old shoes in a whole new way!

xo
Miss Dottie

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