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How (not to) Dye Leather Ballet Flats

How to dye leather ballet flats? I’m not sure. But, I am going to share my experience with the first way that I tried that didn’t turn out so hot. I’ve been in a few conversations recently about blogging and reviews and think it’s important to review supplies and books that I didn’t love as often as I write about my favorites. I’d love to hear about any ways you might have tried to dye leather shoes so I can try again!

I read a few reviews of the   Tarrago Self Shine Color Dye* kit off Amazon but couldn’t find a ton of information about them. The premise is that you simply paint it on like a nail polish, let it dry, and it’s magically dyed without any cracking, peeling, or fuss.

I used color #28 which they don’t seem to have in stock on Amazon any longer; but it comes in a tiny little box with two bottles, a sponge, and a short paintbrush.

Here is my before! You can see all the wear on the toes – for some reason this leather wore straight through after only one or two days.

The after! You can see the golden blush peeking through, especially around the elastic.

I wanted to see how the dye held up, so I wore them for a week or so as a testing run.

Yikes. Not only did the dye wear off very quickly in the same trouble spots on the heel and toe, the bare spots continued to grow along the elastic.

Even worse, it started to peel off in a few flakes!

So, suffice to say, I don’t think the Tarrago Self Shine Color Dye* kit is a good product to use on shoes like these. It was incredibly easy to use, had very little odor, and looked professional close-up on the smooth surfaces. I do think it would be great to dye accent pieces or something that didn’t get bumped around very often. There was plenty left for another small project after giving these shoes two coats.

I’d love to hear any other ways you’ve rescued leather shoes or dyed leather before! I’m thinking about maybe putting a studded accent along the back heel so it would protect that rough spot, but will probably try on a different pair of shoes. These are worn out!

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Monday 18th of August 2014

Sorry...the book was on mixing their dyes in order to get specific colors, not just orange. :)


Tuesday 12th of August 2014

I've been thinking of dyeing a beautiful cream colored purse I have that is now not so creamy (dirty!). This seems like the best method: However, by the time I buy the products needed to strip, dye, and seal my purse, and the time involved, I'm thinking maybe I just buy a new purse! Also, when I asked about getting a shade of orange, the company wrote back and said they have a book on that topic...more money...

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 17th of August 2014

I hadn't heard of that dye! That is bizarre about the book on orange. I agree that sometimes it is a push/pull on what is worth the time and effort, please let me know if you try it out though :)

heather feather

Monday 11th of August 2014

Do you think it would work on shoes that aren't flexible? Like high heels?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Monday 11th of August 2014

Potentially! I can see the crease near the toes maybe cracking. It would be perfect for leather jewelry or accent pieces on clothes; it looked so smooth and pretty before I wore them.

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