DIY - How to dye a pair of leather shoes

I love a good DIY project, and this is one I've been thinking of for a few months now. I've dyed leather shoes in the past, but this time I'm trying a different method. I've really wanted a pair of burgundy heels and my worn nude pumps were screaming out for an upcycle. It wasn't until I took a business trip to Adelaide last week when I really knew I could upcycle these heels. Down one of the gorgeous arcades in the middle of town, I found this small shoe cobbler who had a large range of leather shoe dyes. Perfect for a gal like me. I've been searching for a couple months in Melbourne.

I snapped up the dye I wanted and a bottle of leather stripper. Whenever re-dying or changing the colour on a leather good you will need to purchase leather stripper. In my case this helps the new leather dye bind to the shoe better. 

To start, you will need leather shoe dye colour of your choice, leather stripper, a clean cloth and a few hours. In America, I know you can get both of these things on Amazon for next to nothing. In Australia, we need to hunt them down a bit more (I went to another state :P). 


The dye should come with its own brush, but if not you will need to use a clean small paintbrush. I needed 3 coats. It's very similar to painting a room, you think two coats is enough but a third is always needed. The bottle says to do thin coats, and I'd agree with that. I ended up with one section too thick and it was very hard to correct it. 

The worn cream shoes before

The worn cream shoes before

In between each coat, I waited about 30 mins or so before applying the next coat. After the final coat, I let the shoes dry overnight. You may need to give them a final polish before wearing out the door! However, I found that mine were shiny enough without having to. 

After the dying process

After the dying process


At the end of it all, I did think the color came out a little too brown/burgundy than I wanted, but all in all I'm very happy with the outcome. Breathing new life into a shoe that was very worn is lots of fun. 

I've got a couple other pairs of shoes which are almost ready for an upcycle - wonder what color I should try next? The process is so simple you won't need to convince me to do it again :) 

I know you'll want to try it yourself! I used leather dye from Waproo in the color burgundy. The leather stripper was also from Waproo. 

What would you like to see dyed? A leather bag, more shoes, belts...the list is endless!

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Em xx