Sharpie Tie Dye Sneakers

Turn a pair of plain canvas shoes into colorful works of art with this easy tutorial for Sharpie Tie Dye sneakers!

sharpie tie dye

I am hooked on Sharpie tie dye you guys. HOOKED. I made a custom mermaid tote bag a few weeks ago and I’ve just been itching to try this fun tie dye technique again, so today I made these colorful, happy tie dye canvas sneakers!

I bought a boring pair of white sneakers on clearance at target several months ago and I’ve just been waiting for the right idea to come along to customize them.

sharpie tie dye shoes

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Materials

  • Plain White Canvas Sneakers
  • Sharpie Markers
  • 91% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
  • Medicine Dropper

You can use a lower percentage rubbing alcohol, but the ink will not spread as much, so I do recommend getting the 91%. It’s available at almost every drugstore or grocery store.

You can buy medicine droppers in the medicine section of the store too, if you don’t already have one at home.

sharpie tie dye with rubbing alcohol

Instructions

Step 1: Remove the laces from the shoes so they don’t get ink on them.

Step 2: Use the Sharpies to draw a design all over the canvas part of your sneakers.

Step 3: Fill a medicine dropper with rubbing alcohol and drip it onto the design. This will make the colors spread and run together and look like tie dye!

tie dye shoes

It’s that simple! You can customize these in so many different ways just by how you draw the design on, what colors you choose to use and how much alcohol you drip on.

I love this tie dye technique because it’s WAY less messy than traditional tie dying and is much easier to control the design and outcome.

This same technique can be used on any cotton or canvas fabric item… shoes, bags, shirts, hats, and bandanas would all be adorable!

Watch the technique in action in this short craft video:

how to paint shoesI’ve gotten a few questions about if the dye is permanent. Yes! It’s permanent once it’s dry. I haven’t had any problems with it bleeding onto my socks. If you are worried about the dye running or fading, you can try soaking the shoes in a vinegar/salt water bath to “set” the ink.

Other brands of permanent markers may work, but I haven’t personally tried them, so you’ll have to experiment at your own risk. You can always  try it on a piece of scrap  fabric.

I used the same technique to make this awesome pillowcase:

sharpie tie dye pillowcase

You can watch the video tutorial for the pillowcase over on my Facebook page.

Happy Crafting!

52 COMMENTS

  1. My daughter did this to a pair of her canvas sneakers. They looked great once they were done. However, the colors transferred to her white socks and bled when they got wet. They even stained my husband’s hands when he washed dirt off the bottoms of the shoes. If you have any suggestions on what to do since that has happened, that would be great. Side note: She used Sharpie markers and cotton canvas shoes.

  2. Do you let the marker colors dry on the shoe before you set the colors with the alcohol? Then you let the alcohol dry to set it all so it doesn’t fade on your socks correct? I think that maybe a step some are missing.

  3. Did you let the ink colors dry before you drippered the alcohol onto the shoes, or does the ink need to be wet for the colors to run together?

    • I didn’t do anything to set the dye at all and my shoes have been great. But I would just squirt them with some vinegar in a spray bottle, then let dry.

    • It’s up to you! I put waxed paper inside of my pillowcase to prevent bleeding and only did the design on one side.

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