Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dying Dance Shoes

How To Dye Dance Shoes

There may be times as a dance teacher or a dancer that you want to dye dance shoes to match a particular costume. You may also want to dye your dance shoes in order to make them look newer or cleaner for a performance, so that you do not have to buy a new pair of shoes. Dying dance shoes is fairly simple. Here is how:

1. First of all, you have to purchase the shoe dye. I often bought shoe dye through shoe repair stores. If they don't have the exact kind or color you want, they can usually order it for you. You can also easily search on line for shoe dye. Shoe dye can be a cool thing. It comes in a lot of neat colors. The two main kinds of shoe dye is spray or liquid. I prefer the spray, because I find it much easier, quicker to use, and it spreads evenly. With the spray dye, you apply it like you are spray painting. I recommend the brand Nu-Life Spray Dye. The liquid works ok too, but it involves brushing it on with a sponge and it is a little more work to apply it and get the color spread evenly.

2. Before starting the dye process, clean off the outside of your dance shoes as well as you can. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any dust or dirt. Make sure the shoes are dry before continuing.

3. Next, crumple up newspaper and stuff the inside of the shoes. This will prevent the inside of the shoe from being dyed and it will keep the shoe standing upright and stretched out in the right position.

4. After stuffing the inside of the shoes, you will need to protect the parts of the bottom of the shoe that do not need to be dyed. Use masking tape to cover the suede soles of ballet shoes or the taps or entire bottom of tap shoes.

5. It is best to dye shoes on a warm, sunny day when you can do it outside. The ventilation is better and they will dry faster. If you do have to dye your shows indoors, choose a well ventilated area.

6. Set your dance shoes, which are stuffed with newspaper, on top of cardboard or another disposable surface. If you are using spray dye, begin to spray paint your dance shoes. Hold the can about 6 inches away from the shoe and begin to spray a nice even layer. After it dries, you can decide if you want to spray a second layer. Remember to read and follow the directions on the box. If you are using a liquid dye, use a small sponges to apply the dye to the shoe. Some brands of liquid dye comes with an applicator sponge or comes in a bottle with an attached applicator on the top. Paint the dye on carefully in an even layer. The liquid dye can run easier, especially on tap shoes. Let the first layer dry completely before applying additional layers.

7. Once your dance shoes are dyed and fully dried, you may remove the newspaper and peel the masking tape off the bottoms of the shoes.

Another way of dying ballet shoes is using a dye like Rite Dye. I have found this to work with canvas dance shoes. Both canvas dance slippers and Rite Dye are fairly cheap. The Rite Dye you can buy at your grocery store. It is in the laundry detergent aisle. You can dye several pairs of shoes at once by soaking them in the liquid. Just follow the directions on the box. Usually with Rite Dye it involves boiling on top of the stove.


  1. If you dye ballet shoes with Rit do you dye the sole too? Thanks!

  2. Yes, if you dye canvas shoes with Rit dye, the sole sole and inside of the shoe will be dyed!