Neat Dyed Sneakers – Turning Around a Craft FAIL!

July 18, 2014Allison Murray

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

So this post is totally impromptu and is actually the failing of a project I was working on. Now I could act like I totally knew that this crazy, fun pattern would occur to make some neat dyed shoes if I did something just this way, but that would be a big, fat lie. I didn’t and when I first saw my shoes I was terribly disappointed because I had forgotten about them and they went off the rails because of it.

BUT when I got over the OH, NO I’VE FAILED moment I got into the OH, MY THESE SUCKERS ARE FREAKING COOL moment. The second one felt a lot better. And you may wonder – how can you post a fail when you didn’t know what went wrong to create a post so that other scan imitate it? That’s easy enough… I kept dyeing sneakers until I recreated the effect! So now I have several pairs of green-ish shoes :) But let’s get on with it, shall we?

For this project you will need:

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  • White sneakers (mine are from WalMart, just under $6)
  • Tulip Tie Dye in your choice of color (mine is green)

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

Here are my white sneakers. I only tried this with the ones from WalMart so I know they’ll work but I don’t know if, say, you grab a pair at Target that they will. I have no reason to assume they won’t but nothing in life is black and white and since I didn’t test on other shoes I cannot recommend others.

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

This started off being an ombre sneaker tutorial and THAT obviously was a fail.

Wet your shoes down really well and cover the shoes in your dye. Be liberal with the dye. It goes super far.

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

Cover them completely and walk them to the kitchen sink…

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

and rinse them off just at the toe area. Completely ignore the heel. Some of the color will come out but focus on the toe area. Not even the middle, really, it will start to wash out just from the nearness of the water on the toe. Empty the extra water out of the shoes and set them aside to dry.

Now this is where things deviate from the normal dyed shoe project… normally you’d wrap the shoes up nice and tight so that the dye stays wet. BUT we want the dye to dry because that’s when it starts into the crazy, sharp angled lines for some reason.

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

Everything is always darker when wet and these shoes are no exception. Here they are in the mid-day sun and they’ve been sitting out for 2-3 hours. It’s crazy humid here so they’re still quite damp but on their way! See how you can already start to see the separation of the colors?

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

The thing I find most interesting, is that the dye settled in the same places on both shoes on every pair. Crazy, huh? After they’ve dried fully once, you need to rinse out the excess dye (or else risk dyeing your feet when they sweat) and let them dry again. This will lighten up the colors a bit but they’re still awesome. And if you decide to try going without rinsing them, let me know how that goes for ya!

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

When they are completely dry you can lace ’em up and rock them out!

These neat dyed sneakers may have been an accident, but they're crazy awesome looking anyway. Tutorial to make your own!!!

Now, I must say that I wore these suckers all around Houston yesterday and stomped through puddles galore as a torrential rainstorm hit early on. And they didn’t bleed or stain my feet. Pretty sweet!

What do you think of my accidentally awesome shoes? DO you want a pair or do you think they should have stayed firmly in the FAIL vault?!?

Comments (15)

  • Lauren

    July 20, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    Is the blue around the ankle lining dyed a different color from your initial ombré attempt? Or did it really bleed to thay shade? This final product is amazing, I’m so happy your “fail” turned around for you.

    1. Allison Murray

      July 20, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      Hey, Lauren! The colors.in the dry separated to make those sharp lines. Pretty crazy, huh? :)

  • Jekaren Taylor

    July 21, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    Those are gorgeous!!! No FAIL!

  • ouo

    July 22, 2014 at 3:27 AM

    وهميه

  • Liz Queenlila

    July 25, 2014 at 5:37 AM

    What luck! They came out looking great! :)

  • Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    July 30, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Wow! I love it when fails become successes! And I love that you had the eyes to see that and embrace it as such. Thanks for sharing, Allison!

  • tina

    September 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Should I recommend others should wash before wearing these?

    1. Allison Murray

      September 23, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Hey, Tina – if you rinse them really, really well you won’t need to wash them. BUT if it makes you feel better, go ahead and wash them AFTER the dye has set for a day or so and you’ll be golden! Oh, and by the way, I was wearing these puppies without socks in the Houston heat and humidity and they didn’t stain my feet or anything even though I never washed mine any more than the rinse out.

  • Sophia

    December 31, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Do they have to sit in the sun to get the proper effect? Or could they dry inside?

    1. Allison Murray

      December 31, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      They can dry anywhere!

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  • Lexia

    June 22, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    Would turquoise work as a color?

    1. Allison Murray

      June 22, 2016 at 1:18 PM

      It should work fine but since this isn’t an exact science type of a thing you never know for sure what you’ll get!

  • Amy

    October 11, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    Just ran across this post on Pinterest. Wondering if you have to put on a sealants or anything? And, I’m curious, after all these years, how did they hold up?

    1. Allison Murray

      October 11, 2018 at 10:23 AM

      I don’t recall sealing mine, but if you’d like to I’d go with Scotch Guard!

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