How to Make Tie-Dyed Shoes With Permanent Markers

Learn how to turn plain white shoes into colorful, wearable works of art.

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Tie-dyed clothing never seems to go out of style. Blasting onto the scene in the sixties, it seems that we can never get enough of these colorful designs. Over the years, tie-dyed items have come a long way from the traditional T-shirt. I’ve seen so many tie-dyed items including tote bags, scarves, bedding, paper goods and shoes. This summer, my daughter and I decided to jazz up some $5 white tennis shoes (or sneakers, depending on where you live) that we found at the local craft store. It was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. The following morning, we went outside to complete these masterpieces. I’m thinking that we are definitely going to have to do this craft again with friends. These shoes are my daughter’s own wearable piece of art. 

Tie dye sneakers

Summer Fun: Make Tie Dye Shoes

Learn how to create tie dye shoes that are wearable works of art.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Materials Needed

  • white shoes
  • permanent markers
  • rubbing alcohol 90%
  • straw
  • painter's tape
Painter's tape is added to the rubber soles of the shoes.

Prepare Shoes for Tie Dye

Protect the rubber surface of the shoes with painter's tape.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Begin by taping off the rubber soles on the shoes with painter's tape to prevent the markers from bleeding onto the rubber.

Colorful firework designs are added to the shoes with markers.

Color the Shoes for Tie Dye

Add a design to the shoes with permanent markers. Here we made summer fireworks.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Using the markers, add colorful designs to the shoes. We used fireworks as our inspiration. 

Rubbing alcohol is dripped onto the marker to cause it to spread.

Blend the Colors on the Tie Dye Shoes

Using a straw add drops to rubbing alcohol to the shoes to create the tie dye effect.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Dip the straw into the top inch or so of the bottle of rubbing alcohol. Hold your finger over the top of the straw. Once above the marker design, release your finger and let the alcohol begin to blend the colors. You may need to apply the alcohol more than once to the design to achieve the blending look you desire.

The shoes are laced up.

Once dry, restring the tie dye shoes with their laces.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Set the shoes aside to dry. Once dry, remove the painter's tape and relace the shoes.

Wearing the tie dye shoes.

Take Your Tie Dye Shoes for a Spin

Delight your friend with your artfully designed tie dye shoes.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Once laced up, take your latest works of art for a spin. You might even be tempted to make another pair before summer is over!

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