I bought two pairs of inexpensive canvas sneakers to try to make tie dye sneakers. I used to do tie dye in the 70’s (I know I’m too young to remember the 70’s), so thought I’d try it with alcohol markers (Sharpies) and 91% alcohol and some sort of dropper to control the alcohol that you are dripping onto your shoes. You’ll want to put a large wad of paper or plastic bag shoved into the toe of your shoes so that it’s easier to color on. Make sure your paper has no writing on it, because it might bleed onto the canvas from all the alcohol you are dripping onto it..
Make sure you do this project in a well ventilated area or outside so the smells are not so strong.
For this project, you’ll need 91% alcohol, Sharpies in a rainbow of colors, a pair of white canvas tennis shoes (sneakers), and painter tape or masking tape to wrap around the plastic base of your shoes, and a pair of scissors, plus paper to jam into the toe of the shoes and a medicine dropper or some sort of way to drip the alcohol onto the shoe, vs pouring it out of the bottle.
Step 1: Cover the plastic base of your shoes with the masking/painter tape and when you come to a curve, snip the top of the tape so you can curve the tape and overlap your tape to allow it to curve. You might need to rip the tape if you can’t make it overlap enough to make the toe curve, Don’t get the tape on the canvas portion of the shoe, only on the plastic. Really press the tape onto the plastic to ensure a good seal. Remove the shoe laces and keep them somewhere where you won’t forget about them.
Step 2…I made a design that looks like the curve of an ear. You need to make sure that each shoe has an “ear” that curves in the right direction…Look at the drawing I made of the ears, to know what your shoe should look like. I draw lines to make the colors look precise. The brighter the colors you use, the more your shoes will resemble traditional tie dye. Leave some room between the colors to allow for bleeding. Yellow is especially difficult because the other colors seem to absorb into it . You’ll want to color the tongue of the shoes to match the colors around it.
Step 3 Make sure your tape is still well adhered to your shoes, then take your dropper and start at the top of the shoe and work your way down the shoe. If you have an area that still looks like individual lines, put more alcohol on it.
Step 4. Wait for the shoes to dry and then put your shoe strings back in. Your shoes are ready to wear and are lots of fun.
If you get any ink on the plastic sides of your shoes, rub a little of the alcohol on them to remove it.