I need some kick around summer shoes and wanted to go with Chinese Mary Janes since they were my high school go to shoe. I had a hard time finding a pair and finally found a new pair on eBay. The price is right but the color was a boring beige so I tie dyed the shoes and make them more uniquely me. You can read the full tutorial How to Make Tie Dye Drop Cloth Shoes on my blog Condo Blues.
Step 1: Materials List
Cotton Chinese Mary Jane Shoes (MUST be cotton or another 100% natural fiber)
Tulip Tie Dye Kit – Primary colors
Tulip surface cover or plastic trash bag (recommended big time!)
Rock salt and/or uniodized sea salt (In the past using iodized table salt lead to major fails. Don’t be me.)
Cotton canvas drop cloth
Star cookie cutter or template
Step 2: Wash It
Wash the sizing out of the cotton shoes and a section of the canvas drop cloth. Do not use fabric softener.
Step 3: Prepare the Blue Dye
Fill the premixed (and key to my tie dying success) bottle of blue Tulip fabric tie-dye with water and shake to mix the color per the directions in the kit. Spread a Tulip plastic surface cover or trash bag on the ground outside. I recommend you do this outside, even though the squirt bottles makes dying less messy than the big tub of dye method, it never hurts to err on the side of easier clean up. WEAR THE GLOVES THAT COME IN THE KIT. Unless you want blue hands. The dye is nontoxic so that's not the issue. Walking around with Smurf hands until the dye wears off could be though.
Step 4: Salt Resist Tie Dye the Shoes
Squirt the dye on the wet shoes. Make sure you cover the entire shoe with blue dye. Sprinkle uniodized rock salt and/or sea salt onto the dyed shoes to add texture. The dye will not penetrate where you sprinkle the salt.
Caution: I stuffed my shoes with plastic bags hoping the dye wouldn’t penetrate to the inside sole of the shoe. The dye got through anyway. I also think having a less than flat surface interfered with the salt resist technique. The salt resist didn’t come out as well on my shoes as it did on my flat test t shirt. I like the texture I got on my shoes but I wish it was a little more pronounced like on my test project.
Place the dyed shoes in a plastic bag and allow the color to cure. The directions say to leave it in the bag 4-6 hours. I left mine in the bag overnight.
Step 5: Folding Tie Dye Technique
Fold the section of canvas drop cloth like an accordion while it is wet. Wrap the rubber bands that come in the kit around the folded fabric every 1 to 2 inches.
Step 6: Dye the Drop Cloth
Fill the premixed bottle of red Tulip fabric tie dye with water and shake to mix the color per the directions in the kit. Place the banded fabric on the surface cover, put on the gloves, and squirt the red dye on the fabric. Place the dyed fabric in a plastic bag and allow the color to cure. The directions say to leave it in the bag 4-6 hours. I left mine in the bag over night.
Step 7: Rinse It
Remove the shoes and fabric from their respective plastic bags. Remove/cut the rubber bands from the folded fabric. Rinse the excess dye from the fabric and shoes with cold water.
Step 8: Wash It
Wash the shoes and fabric in a large load of water with a small amount of laundry soap. Dry the shoes and fabric in the dryer to set the dye. It's difficult to tell in the photos but the salt resist creates a nice visual texture on the shoes. It would have been more pronounced if I used more rock salt than sea salt.
Step 9: Cut It Out
Place the star cookie cutter on the tie dyed fabric. Trace around the cookie cutter with a pencil and cut it out with the scissors. Cut two stars from the fabric.
Pin the star shapes on the shoes. Trim the shape with the scissors if needed. Use the fabric glue to glue the stars to the toe of each shoe.
Step 11: Stitch It, Wear It, Love It
Once the fabric glue is dry, use the needle and thread to sew the star to the shoe. This will ensure the glue keeps the star on the shoe, is a barrier for fraying fabric, and adds interest. Then put on those shoes and wear them out on the town!