Quick Tip: Using Dye-Na-Flow to Color Canvas Shoes

Dyeing canvas shoes with no bath or mess!

Hello all!

It’s bright and sunny here in New York today – after almost a week straight of rain and mud – so I decided a fresh day needed a bright and colorful shoe! I’ve been looking for an easy way to dye my white Vans for awhile since they got disgusting and dirty pretty much as soon as I put them on my feet. White shoes in NYC? Not so much.

I also managed to get pale red dye spots on them after dyeing some old jackets, and those weren’t going to scrub off no matter what, so I decided to go with a hot pink to cover up all the stains. While originally I was going to dip dye the shoes like I do most things, I found a new (to me) product by Jacquard called Dye-Na-Flow that works AMAZING for this application! Read on to see how I used Dye-Na-Flow and what my tips are for dying canvas shoes with the product.

Dye-Na-Flow isn’t really a dye, but it isn’t really a paint either. You can find it at most craft stores or art stores for under $5 a jar. It acts like a dye in that it is very liquidy (similar to India ink) and only stains fabric, but it is like a paint in that it’s pre-mixed and can be brushed on. This makes it not great for large dye jobs like clothing or precise dye jobs like t-shirts, but it’s PERFECT for shoes. You can brush it on without being too careful of the rubber or leather since it won’t stain these parts of the shoe (though do exercise caution as it can leave very faint color spots). Once dry, it leaves the fabric feeling supple and soft, unlike a paint.

The dye does technically require a heat set, so make sure to either hit em with a hot hair dryer for awhile, sit them out in the hot sun for a couple hours, or throw em in a dryer if you can. If you do have some areas that rub away or are less saturated it’s so easy to go back in with a bit more of the product, something you can’t do with dip-dye. I’ve been wearing these bad boys all day and they still look gorgeous, vibrant, and brand-new.

Shoes before dyeing/painting

Here’s the before – you can see the red-ish vomit looking spots from my previous dye work and the brown yucky street stains of New York. I went ahead and scrubbed them down with a bit of baking soda, dish soap, and water before dying them to try and minimize these stains, but this is optional. If you do this, MAKE SURE THEY ARE CLEAN AND DRY BEFORE YOU PAINT! Otherwise it won’t stain evenly.

Dyeing shoe without a bath or mess

I ended up using two coats with a heat blast (from the sun) in-between. As you can see I got a little on the rubber, but in general the Dye-Na-Flow allowed an intense contrast between the white and the pink that probably would not have happened with dip-dye. They are still as comfortable as ever too, none of that crusty-ness you get with painted canvas shoes!

That’s it! Not a true DIY, but definitely a cool idea! I’m interested in seeing what other applications I can find for this product, and definitely plan on incorporating it into my embroidery. I’m going to go search my apt for more things to paint-dye now, but in the meantime . . .


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