How to dye/paint a pair of white satin heels?
July 2, 2011 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: She needs to dye/paint these white satin Badgley Mischka Lilly pumps a saturated canary/butter yellow for an upcoming wedding. She can't find a place to color them for her. Have you dyed satin shoes before? How did you do it? What to know?

She doesn't mind if they don't look completely even in color, but it can't look like a mistake or a bad dye job. If you have a good technique, then she's not opposed to an intentionally mottled look.

posted by iamkimiam to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My sister stuffed a pair of white pumps with newspaper, and used a blue dye from Wedding Factory Direct, and a sprayer bottle to do a similar job recently, for a prom kid. She said it took a couple of "coats" and wasn't 100% even, as the adhesive that attached the cover fabric to the heels apparently prevented the dye from absorbing as much as other areas of the shoe.
posted by paulsc at 1:57 PM on July 2, 2011

An alkaline dye like Rit Dye would be perfect for this. It's very inexpensive and easy enough to do but you do have to be careful not to make a mess. They're many different techniques she could try. I've never dyed shoes before personally, but I've seen it done well many times.
Hope this helps.
posted by xbeautychicx at 1:57 PM on July 2, 2011

After perusing a bit, I saw a great suggestion of checking at a bridal shop for dyeing services.
posted by annsunny at 1:59 PM on July 2, 2011

I read about this in this gal's blog here. Sound like a fun diy if your friend is brave.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 2:08 PM on July 2, 2011

The Dreamstress blog gives a full tutorial with photos. This part seems worth noting:
Try to determine if your shoes are silk, or synthetic (or, less likely, cotton or linen). If your shoes are a natural fibre like silk, linen, or cotton, use a natural fibre dye. If your shoes are a synthetic like polyester, you will need a synthetic dye. Remember that satin is a weave, not a fibre, and satin can be either silk or polyester.
I'd try sending Zappos an email to see if they could find this out from the manufacturer.
posted by Houstonian at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2011

"Try to determine if your shoes are silk, or synthetic (or, less likely, cotton or linen)."

The definitive test is to pull a thread or two from an inconspicuous place of the fabric, and put a match to it. Silk burns readily, and may leave fine white ash. Polyester, rayon, nylon, and most other synthetics melt before they burn, forming a tiny ball of melted plastic at the end of the filament, if left to melt away from the match.
posted by paulsc at 2:38 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't use Rit dye on your polyester satin pumps! Rit "all purpose" dye is not an alkaline dye at all, as claimed above; it is a mixture of a strong acid dye, which works on silk and wool, and a direct dye, which works, though rather poorly, on cellulosic fibers such as cotton. It cannot bond to polyester, which is the usual material with which shoes of this sort are generally covered. Even if your shoes are made of a more easily dyeable fiber, Rit dye, like all dyes, must be rinsed out thoroughly after application, or it will rub off on anything that touches it, after it dries; this means shoes that cannot stand up to washing should not be dyed with this sort of dye.

I would prefer to use a high-quality thing fabric paint, such as Dye-Na-Flow, because it is capable of bonding to both natural and synthetic fibers. A speciality shoe dye might be a good choice, too.
posted by Ery at 4:04 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

What about using a sharpie pen in the correct color?

I accidentally spilled some bleach water on a pair of black jeans. I didn't want to dye the entire pair as there was some contrasting stitching that would have been affected. I used a black sharpie marker on the spots. It worked great!
posted by JujuB at 5:18 PM on July 2, 2011

I know its not what you asked, but I found out that the locksmiths at our local Walmart actually had a shoe dying service. They do send the shoes off to be dyed, but I had my shoes done there for my wedding.
posted by wwax at 6:37 PM on July 2, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the great suggestions and info...keep 'em coming!

As for having a bridal place dye the shoes...they refuse to dye shoes that aren't from their approved shoe-lines (they don't want to be liable for messing up designer footwear). Also, the wedding is next weekend, so there's no time to send them off somewhere else.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:58 PM on July 2, 2011

You can check around to see if art supply shops might carry a good dye. This video demonstrates the technique. She suggests using an alcohol-based dye. Here someone uses rit and alcohol to dye the shoes.

Don't immerse them in the dye. It could loosen up some of the glue, and/or stain your friend's skin when she sweats.
posted by annsunny at 11:31 PM on July 2, 2011

I think the liquid rit would be less likely to streak.
posted by annsunny at 11:32 PM on July 2, 2011

Call Dharma Trading Company. They are dyeing experts, and a real person answers your call and can help you get the product you need to do a superior dye job. I hand dye frequently for craft products and always go with Dharma. Drugstore dyes (RIT, etc) are just not the same, and do not have the predicable results that you can get with (surprisingly inexpensive) Dharma dyes.
posted by LyndsayMW at 10:11 PM on July 3, 2011

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