Hello! I’m sorry I have been away from the blog for the past month. Things were super busy in October, so thank you for coming back and checking in. As you can see, I have a different type of post today…a DIY!
I scored some pre-owned cherry red 8-eye Doc Martens boots for $13, and decided to dye them because they were pretty beat up. I actually think Docs look awesome when they are scuffed up and look like they’ve had their share of run-ins in the mosh pit, but I was a little bothered by the fact that none of these scratches was made by me. So I decided to dye them oxblood, and in this post I’ll show you how to dye leather boots.
I thought I’d walk you through the dyeing process in case you get the itch to dye a pair of your own leather shoes. Dyeing anything used to sound so intimidating to me, but it’s actually really easy, inexpensive, and fun. First, you need to gather everything you’ll need.
What You’ll Need:
-Leather dye (I used Angelus in Oxblood; they have a lot of nice colors)
-Shoe polishing brush
-Painter’s tape or masking tape
-Rubbing alcohol or acetone
-Newspaper to protect your workspace
-Gloves are recommended
-Leather polish (I used Dr. Martens Cherry polish)
Step 1. Clean the Boots
Remove the laces and use the brush to scrub off any dirt and dust. Make sure to clean the tongue and around the soles because lots of dirt gets trapped in there. Next, dip the brush in warm water and give the boots a gentle cleanse to loosen up and remove dried-on dirt particles. If the leather feels wet, allow the boots to dry completely.
Step 2. Deglaze the Boots
Using a cloth, wipe down the boots with rubbing alcohol, acetone, or leather deglazer. This step breaks down the original finish on the leather and prepares the surface for the dye to “stick.” This is an important step, so take your time and be thorough. It’s normal to see some of the original dye come off on your cloth.
Step 3. Tape the Boots
Apply painter’s tape around the soles and any other areas where you want to avoid dyeing.
Step 4. Apply the Dye
Now the fun part! Make sure you have newspaper or some other type of covering spread out over your work area. This stuff can get super messy. You might want to put on some gloves too.
Shake the bottle of dye before opening. I carefully dipped the wool wand that came with the dye into the bottle and applied it to the boots. At first I was alarmed by how dark the color was, but too late to turn back. I also found that it went on very streaky, but that’s because I didn’t know you’re supposed to apply it in a circular or swirling motion. I eventually ditched the wand and just used a cloth and got more even coverage.
Step 5. Polish the Boots
Once the shoes have dried overnight or for 24 hours, it’s time to polish them. I used the Dr. Martens Cherry polish to restore some of that original pretty red into the leather. Apply the polish with a cloth, wipe off the excess, and use a brush to get the leather to shine.
Step 6. Add Finishing Touches
This is optional of course. I inserted brand new soles (so comfy!) and added new laces.
Step 7. Show Off Your “New” Boots
That’s it! Super easy.
Okay, so I have to say that these boots came out a lot darker than I had wanted. The oxblood is dark and rich, especially on leather that is already pretty heavily pigmented. It’s a beautiful color, but now I think I want red boots again…
Which is why I’m going to paint these gray Docs with red paint:
Painting leather is slightly different from dyeing leather…I’ll let you know how it goes, so stay tuned!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope this gave you a little bit of an idea on how to dye leather boots. What color would you want to dye or paint any of your shoes?