How to dye your Chuck Taylors

I’ve been wanting dark green Converse for quite some time now, but the only green they offer is a kelly green. At Converse.com you can now order custom shoes from a selection of colors and prints. It is a pretty neat option, but costs $17 more plus shipping. I decided to go a cheaper route and bought white canvas shoes with plans to dye them green.

I picked up a package of dark green RIT dye (powder) from Walmart for $1.65 and gathered supplies. You will need:
– RIT dye (powder or liquid)
– bucket or sink
– old towel
– mixing bowl or old plastic container
– 1 cup salt
– 1 tablespoon laundry detergent

First you want to fill a mixing bowl or plastic container with hot water. I used an old Harkins cup. Mix in your powder dye until completely dissolved. If you choose liquid dye, you can skip this step. Next, fill your bucket or sink with hot water and add the salt and laundry detergent. I used a small bucket and an entire package of RIT dye.

Next, mix your dye into your water bath. Be careful with splattering and be sure to wipe up any spills immediately. Remove the laces and place your shoes in the bucket. The shoes will float to the surface, so to avoid this I used two bamboo skewers to hold them down. I left them in the dye for about 20 minutes. When your shoes look good and done, carefully empty your bucket. Rinse the shoes first with warm water and then cold. You will want the water to run clear.

I let the shoes sit for 5 minutes, rinsed again, and then set them on a towel to dry for the night. The next morning I threw them into the dryer and ran it for 10 minutes. Then I added black laces and voila: dark green.

EDIT: Frequently Asked Question

Will the rubber soles absorb the dye?
I’ve never had a problem with the rubber absorbing the dye, but I have heard of some people having issues. If your soles do stain, try scrubbing them with a magic eraser or with a paste made of equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar.

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160 thoughts on “How to dye your Chuck Taylors

  1. Just lovely, looks like fun! I’m sure you’ve been wearing them for awhile now so how are your shoes holding up after the dye treatment? did the durability and comfort of the insole seem to be affected at all once the shoes were done? I’m having trouble finding a size 12 pair of these for my husband in the colour he wants so we may end up trying the dye technique – any other helpful tips? πŸ™‚ Thanks! ~Jill~

  2. The shoes are holding up great! It seems like the soak in the dye bath actually made them more comfortable. The canvas feels a lot softer. With wear, the color has faded slightly, but I think I like them even more now. They still feel very custom!

    I’d say go for it! If you are skeptical, you can always pick up some canvas or muslin from the fabric store and do a test run with the color dye you choose. It’s sometimes hard to predict how the color will turn out, and this can give you a better idea. Good luck!

  3. Hey,

    Thanks so much for this! I followed your guide and I dyed my chucks black. It worked well, and I think too well, in fact.

    Because now the rubber parts (the ones which are supposed to be white), have been blackened a bit. Would you know of a way to fix that so they’d be white just like the result of your work?

    • To clean the rubber soles of my Converse, I use a mixture of equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar. It should create kind of a paste. Just scrub it into the soles with a toothbrush and then rinse with warm water.

      I’ve never had to remove dye from the soles, but I’d try this and see if it helps. Hope it all comes out!

      • Thanks!

        I actually tried scrubbing those parts with detergent REALLY hard and most of it has come off.

        But maybe if I try your advice I can make the soles look brand new. πŸ™‚

  4. hi i love that you posted this i own 40 plus pairs of chucks and i want to dye my boots red i was wondering how you keep the soles from getting dyed?

    • Nice! That should be a fun project. I’ve dyed a handful of my Converse and I’ve actually never had an issue with the rubber soles soaking up any of the color. If they do absorb some of the color, giving them a good scrub with a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar should do the trick.

  5. I have some old dark green high top shoes that I found at a vintage clothing store here in Seattle. Because of their age, they wore out pretty quickly, but these are my favourite shoes!
    But they either need to be replaced or repaired.

    I notice that your shoes are a very different shade of green than mine. My shoes are a rich colour, do you think I can achieve a colour less muted than the one yours did? Would the remedy be leaving them in longer, or would this end up warping the rubber soles/otherwise damaging the shoe?

    • Leaving the shoes in the dye longer does increase the richness of color and I’ve never noticed any issues with warping or damage. You may want to explore other colors of dye or even mixing dyes. Perhaps mixing dark green with kelly green could give you the result you’re looking for. I’d recommend doing a test run with canvas or muslin to try and find the right combination. Good luck!

  6. Wow, they look really good! Did the stitching stay White by itself or did you do anything to it to prevent them also going green?

  7. hey. Do u think i can use hairdye? Im in South Africa..dont really know where 2 get powder dye 😦

    • You know, I really have no idea. Since I’m sure fabric and hair have different absorbency issues, I’d try doing some sort of test first. If I were to make a guess, I’d think hair dye would stain the rubber.

      Sorry to not be of more help. Let me know what you decide to do!

    • I’m not really sure if hair dye or food coloring would work. In the previous comment, I mentioned I think the hair dye might stain the rubber. The problem with food color is that the color will most likely run if the shoes get wet again.

      I’d recommend doing a test first before you commit to your Converse. Let me know what you decide to do!

  8. sorry for commenting on a year old topic. Maybe the picture doesn’t do the color job justice…but it doesn’t look much like dark green. It looked dark green wet, but much lighter dry.

    But that’s not point. What I really want to know are the inside soles. Did they dye as well and does the dye tint your white socks?

    I like how what is suppose to be white stayed white.(stiching, logo, outside rubber) I can’t quite see inside the shoe to see if soles got dyed. I just don’t want to tint all my white socks. If the inside soles got dyed, it would really stain your socks if you got your kicks wet.

    Thanks for any follow up.

    • The color is more of a forrest green, as opposed to the kelly green color RIT dye also offers.

      To answer your question: Yes, the inside soles absorb the color also and no, I have never had the color tint white socks. As long as you are using a real fabric dye and don’t skimp on the rinsing step, you shouldn’t have any issues. I use RIT dye whenever possible as color running has never been a problem. I’ve used it to dye shoes, clothes, and canvas.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Thanks for replying.

    I tried to dye my maroon chucks to black. Didn’t come out half bad, but my whites didn’t stay white.
    Even with a good scrubbing of toothpaste, its kinda gray now.

    Anyway, thanks for the writeup and reply!

  10. So I bought a pair of orange-ish Jack Terrell’s and over time the’ve turned a little pink from wear. I bought some blue RIT dye to color them…
    My real question though is, will the dye dye the white rubber? I see you’re shoes’ the rubber is still nice and white, and the stitching and All Star logo are still pristine… Did you do anything to keep them that way or did they just not get dyed?

    Thanks a ton

    • I didn’t do anything special to keep the rubber and logo from absorbing the dye. I’ve dyed about 4 pairs of Converse over the last few years and I’ve never had an issue with that. Hope yours goes just as well!

    • You probably won’t have very good results trying to turn black Chucks white.

      You’d have to bleach them which can leave uneven coloring and may yield a yellowish or beige color.

      If you’re looking for bright white, I’d recommend buying them that way.

    • do you know how much bleaching you would have to do to make black chucks white? so much that the actual bleach would probably destroy the fabric itself making your shoes incredibly brittle, causing them to tear very easy. like she said, you best bet is to just buy a white pair…

  11. Hi i have pink chucks and i want to dye it blue,

    but im afraid it would come out as purple.

    any suggestions on how i can achieve the color blue?

    Thanks!!!!

    • You’d probably have to bleach your shoes first. This will take a lot of the pink out and leave the canvas a yellowish off-white. I’ve never dyed canvas after it’s been bleached, so I can’t promise great results with the blue. Good luck!

    • You might want to check out Rit’s website. They have a lot of info on various colors and how to achieve them. To get really dark blue, you may want to mix blue and black dye.

  12. Hello πŸ™‚ Well While i Was Scrubbing The White Rubber With Bleach On My Green Chucks It Ended Up Getting On The Shoe . & i Wanted To Know If The Green You Did On Your Converse Turned Out The Same Color As Any Other Green Converse In A Store ?

    • Bummer! No, the green that resulted from dying my Chucks did not match any Chucks I’ve seen in stores. I’m not certain how many shades of green Chucks can be purchased in, but I’ve mostly seen ones that are a brighter, kelly green. It will be pretty hard to spot dye your shoes and if you dye them using the method I did, you’ll still result in uneven coloring where the bleach was. But at least it’ll be closer in color than bleach spots.

      If you don’t want any spots of uneven coloring, you could try bleaching the entire shoe and re-dying another color. Good luck!

    • If you want to dye your Chucks red, just follow the instructions on the package. Pink to red shouldn’t be much of an issue.

      I wouldn’t recommend painting them. If all you want is a solid color change, definitely dye them.

  13. Hello all,
    I figured I would give my Red converse low tops a dye job after reading this blog. I went and bought Wine and Navy Blue as I wanted the color to be a dark maroon. I followed the directions and the shoes came out fantastic for the canvas color. However, the entire rubber parts were stained pretty badly on both shoes with a pinkish tone. I took a scotch brite pad and also a heavy duty scrub brush and scrubbed them for about 35 minutes. I tried Goo Gone, Greased Lightning and Gel strip paint remover and finally got the rubber back close to white. There are spots that are not going to come clean at this point, but they are wearable now. Be aware that if you use this method, you may end up with Stained Rubber! By the way to the original poster… They make a color called ” Greener Pastures” for Chucks and It is a much better Green than the Kelly Green. Here is a link to a pair at Zappos. http://www.zappos.com/converse-chuck-taylor-all-star-specialty-seasonal-ox-greener-pastures
    CHeers Everyone.
    KidFresh

    • Thanks for the info! I’ve been trying to figure out why some people’s soles pick up the dye and others’ don’t.

      I tend to think it depends on how new your Converse are. I’ve always dyed my shoes when they are relatively new and the rubber hasn’t had a chance to wear down. I may try dying some older ones to see if I encounter the same problem.

      • Tks for the comments. I just wanted to add that my Red Converse were practically new also. The soles and rubber parts were brand new white and hardly any wear was on them. I will say that the stitching did stay white and that was a relief. I do believe that you can get the White rubber parts looking 90 percent good again with some serious extra scrubbing effort.

        Lynn, tks again for sharing the How To. Cheers,
        Kid

      • I also have a pack of the rit color remover…what do you think?should I use that first then dye them black?the shoes are about a year old but only been worn a handful of times . O ya befor I forget what can be used in place of laundry soap? Do you think shampoo would be ok? Thanks. Ima a converse lover. I don’t wear anything else lol.

  14. My 14yo daughter left her brand new navy Vans out in the sun for over a week (to dry after she stepped in manure during our trip to a farm…yuck!) Well, she was devastated when she realized they were ‘ruined’. I did a little research immediately (last night) and bought the dye today. THANK YOU for posting such terrific instructions and saving my teenager’s most prized (this week) possession πŸ™‚ They’re drying now…EVERYTHING turned blue but we (I, mostly) scrubbed the heck out of the sidewalls (?) and eyelit holes to get them as white as I could (used a combo of your suggestion with some salt, dishwasher and dish detergent & solumel stain remover on a magic eraser, for good measure.) If you don’t hear anything from me after they’re dried, then it worked like a charm!

    Thanks again for your instructions πŸ™‚

  15. Hello im thinking of buying some white converses and turning them teal colour. I think this is a great idea, how doesnt the all star sign turn a different colour and what shade is this dye? thankyou – nicole:-)

    • The All Star logo shouldn’t absorb any of the dye. I’ve never had that problem and, so far, no one has mentioned that problem to me. So I think you can be confident it won’t.

      Go to the RIT dye website to look at all the colors they have available. They also have a guide on how to mix colors together to get pretty much any color you’d want. Good luck!

  16. i want to dye my hot pink chucks black would this work? iv had them for years though and dont want the soles to change colour would rubbing vaseline on the soles keep the dye from effecting them?

    • I’ve never tried putting anything on the soles to keep them from absorbing the dye. Some people have been having that problem. Because your shoes are older and probably worn out, I’d guess you will too.

      All I can offer is what I use to clean the soles of my shoes. This may help clean up any dye. Mix equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar. Scrub the rubber with this paste then rinse with warm water. Good luck!

    • I have not seen the soles or logos absorb any of the dye. Some previous commenters have seen it happen.

      If the soles do end up absorbing dye, try cleaning it with a paste consisting of equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar. Good luck!

  17. And one more question. Will maroon chucks to black be a problem? Thanks for replying to my previous one too πŸ™‚

  18. Hi ! First of all, Thanks a lot for the post ! I was thinking to dye my White Converse Crowd ox printed Chucks to the same color that you have ended up in the picture. Condition of the shoes is they’re a week old with quite a bit of dirt and worn rubber(very less). So, if I dye them with the same procedure, will I end up staining the rubber ? (Ofcourse, you can’t guarantee that. No issues.). Based on your experience, how to end up the dye not getting absorbed to the rubber material.

    I’m leaving the link of how they look like.

    I’m wearing them with Black laces. πŸ˜€ xD

    • Awesome shoes! I don’t know of any preventative methods for keeping the soles dye-free. I personally haven’t had any issues with that, but some people have. All I can recommend, if they do absorb some of the dye, is to scrub them with a paste made up of equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar. Hope they turn out!

      • Thanks for such a quick reply and the compliment :”) !
        By the way, I love the color of your custom shoe ( Jealous, though. xD ).
        I have to check with the kind of material they’re made of. I’m sure they are nt made of natural fibers. Have to check online for the Rit dyes as I live in India. I’m not sure i can find them here. 😐

      • Can you guess the material they’re made out of by looking at the picture from the link ? Thanks.

  19. I have a light pink pair of all star converse that are badly faded and i want to dye them bright pink. so im going to tape the white rubber, soak them in warm water and then apply the dye by han using a paint brush, that way nothing i dont want to dye will end up pink. then leave them to dry for a day or 2 then soak in water to remove any excess dye then leave to dry again and add new white laces. Theyre pretty old but i want to keep using them and hopefully it goes well. p.s i have another pair of converse that are oil stained on the rubber and are now and orange colour, any idea how to make them white again? or are they dead?

    • I’ve never tried paining with the dye. Hope that works for you. As for your other pair, you could try to bleach them, but I don’t know if they’ll ever get back to white white. Good luck!

    • Hey, how did the painting on work? Is there an even colour? Did the rubber stain? I wanna dye my chucks but I really don’t want the rubber to stain :/

      • I just dyed my shoes, no painting. The rubber shouldn’t stain, but if it does, you can use a magic eraser or a paste made of hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar. Good luck!

    • I need to dye mine back white they have turned pink in the wash because I left purple boxers in there did the bleach work? Thanks

  20. hi, i have some high top white chuck taylors and i was wondering if the circular logo on the side of the shoe would change colour when dyed?

  21. Hello,

    I just dyed a pair of white high top converse purple and now my soles are light purple. I have tried scrubbing with water/baking soda/vinegar mixture, soft scrub, a magic eraser and even clorox but can’t seem to whiten the soles. Anyone have any ideas of what I can use to clean the soles? Thanx!!!

  22. hi lynn i have some black chuck taylors and they have like brown stains on the sides…i was wondering if i dye my shoes black again would i still see the stains after i dye it…please reply

    • Hey Malcolm,

      I don’t know about how the stained areas will absorb the dye. It will probably depend on what kind of stains they are. Before trying to dye them, I would definitely wash them as thoroughly as you can. Good luck!

  23. For instance I want to dye it black just listen to the following but wouldn’t the white part turn black and does it worm to make blfaded black darker please answer!

    • It’s possible the white rubber could absorb some of the dye, especially if they are very worn. I’ve never had it as an issue, but others certainly have.

      You’d need to scrub the soles if they do take some of the dye. A magic eraser works or a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar.

  24. I like faded out colors , do I use less dye or less soak time ?
    And where would be a good place to find a wide selection of dyes .

  25. Hey lynn, I just tried your technique in dying shoes and all my concerns were just first-timers’ anxieties. The rubber stayed white. The dye really did its job and the great thing about it is its now a good yellow color from its original brown. My vans shoes were pre-owned so its quite old but still it got results just like yours. Your shoes were totally good looking since it was brand new but I felt as if I bought another brand new pair. thanks

  26. Pingback: Dye your Shoes |

  27. I have some dark blue chucks that are kind of faded and have bleach on it. If i dye it with black dye will it make it darker?

  28. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little research on
    this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that
    I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this..

    .. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your web
    page.

  29. Hi I want to die my converse from pink to black would this work or would I have to bleach them first ?

    • You’d probably be fine without bleaching, but I can’t say for sure. You could always try just dye first and if it doesn’t work out, try again with bleach. Good luck!

  30. How did u not dye the “all star” tag on the tongue or the stitching? And they don’t look dark green at all

  31. Do they need to be white first?
    I have a pair of old blue ones that I really want. Black
    Do you think it would color right?

  32. My daughter is dying (no pun intended) for purple Chucks. She has black, but she’s outgrowing them. I can’t find purple in her size, if I bought her pink, would it be easy to make those purple?

    • If you’re buying new ones, I’d recommend getting white. It will be easier. If you do get pink, you can either dye them directly or try bleaching them first. Good luck!

  33. Hey πŸ™‚ Your converse came out awesome ! I have 2 questions, I have red vans and they’re Kind of faded. Can I dye them red ? And how do I prevent the inside of the shoe from getting dyed red ? Also the same question for my all black converse. Thanks ^.^

  34. I had a question for you. I have just dyed some canvas shoes dark brown and have you had any issue with shoes bleeding through to your socks when they get wet, or even sweat from your feet which make your socks wet. Thanks!

  35. I wonder if a thin layer of vasoline on the rubber toe piece and the sides would protect the sole and toe while dying? then it should wipe off with soap and
    water.after you rinse dye.

    • I have neon orange Chucks and hate them. I want to dye another color and was thinking of trying the vaseline on mine. Have you tried it yet? If yes, did it work well?

  36. hi πŸ™‚ I tried dying my pink high tops black & it worked perfectly! except the white part of the shoes got a bit blackish but i don’t care about that. but what i do care about is that the white stitching in the back & on the tongue is purple. do you have any ideas or tips to get them white again?

  37. When you die them, does the rubber die to? do you have to put anything on the rubber to prevent it being colored?

  38. Hey, I know this is ages ago, but I have a question.
    I have hot pink chucks but my sister drew on them with permanent marker, so I want to change it to red. Will the permanent marker be removed when I dye my hot pink chucks red? Also, do I need to bleach it first? Thanks!

  39. People should really read the comments before asking questions…you’re a really patient person.

    Anywho…I just ordered 2 pair of white that I’m going to dye. Just an FYI. I was researching how to do this and I saw another how-to that took black electrical tape and taped the soles. So I’ll try that. I was thinking that most masking tapes would come off during the soaking, but electrical should work.

  40. I Have a Chuck taylor Color navy Blue can I dye I’t because I accidentally put a bleach
    Can be this method will work in my Shoe?
    I’m From th Philippines.

  41. How come the stiching and the “all star” logo didn’t absorb the color? Did u do something with the logo?

  42. Pingback: Top 10 DIY Makeovers For Your Old Converse

  43. Ive never seen anyone so patiently answer the same two questions every three comments. Extra props go to where you evolved the Rit color answer and included the dye chart link.
    All this on top of an already stellar Taylor DIY tutorial? Wow. Thanks for being a good example to humankind.
    You are my hero.

    “How did you keep the stitching and logo white?”
    “How do I turn my Chucks _____ color?”
    “How do I clean the soles?”

    Aaaaaauuggghhhhhhh

  44. Sorry for commenting an old post!
    Wow, great job. I have a mint colour converse and I want to dye it black or navy blue. Do you think I can succeed?
    Sorry for my english, but I came from Poland ;x

  45. hi. i have a pair of hot pink hi cut chuckies. i hate the colour. do you have any ideas on how i could get them to be white? or at;least that they become lighter than they actually are. thank you.

  46. Wow- yes you are patient!! Thanks!! I tried to scroll through and read all the comments before posting a new question, I think.
    So I’ve tried some swatches to ensure getting the right shade. And one (out of three) of my swatches was a little splotchy. Have you heard of that? I’m thinking it has something to do with the salt, but I’m a little apprehensive about sticking my shoes in now (they are for a wedding).

    Thanks!

    • Hi Sherita,

      I have seen some splotchiness with dying loose fabric, but never with shoes. This can be caused by a few things: the water isn’t hot enough, there isn’t enough salt or detergent added, folds in the fabric during the dying process, or the fabric used has already been treated somehow. Raw canvas and natural materials will absorb the dye better and more evenly.

      Hope that helps! Good luck. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks – one last question before I take the plunge. I was going to use the dye water that I prepared yesterday. Should I reheat it? – Obvi it’s room temp now.

  47. I’ve been planning on doing this to some old grey converse I had. I wanted to dye them black. I was thinking to make them unique, since I could just go out and buy black ones, I could rub some black wax on them to give them that waxed look and I would imagine that would also make them a little resistant to stains. Have you ever tried this? Do you think it would work for the look I am going for or would I just be ruining them?

      • I ruined them. Didn’t get to the wax part. The dye turned the white rubber part black and I couldn’t get them back to white. I think that either happened because they were old or because the water was too hot. So my advice would to be start off with cooler water first.

  48. Soooo glad I found your site!!! Firstly well done at not screaming whist answering the same questions over and over!! I’m about to do my bright orange converse tomorrow, gonna chuck em in a bucket of bleach/water mix see what they come out like I figure nothing to lose as I can’t stand the colour anyway and if they come out horrible after the bleach I can just dye them thanks to you! Nothing to lose all to gain πŸ‘Ÿ

  49. One came out darker than the other

    What would you recommend?
    They were knock off shoes so i think they are a different fabric

  50. My friended has a lot of all stars and she wants to dye her white ones like a galaxy so she is going to mix blue purple and glitter together I told her about your website and she said thank you so much for making this sight πŸ™‚

  51. Hi…I’ve been thinking of dying my faded navy-blue chuck’s to black,do you think this will work?Do I have to put tape on the stitches just to make sure they don’t change to black too?

  52. Hi! Oh man I can’t believe you’re still replying to comments after 5 years!! I’ve read every comment and I have a question I didn’t see answered. Does dying shoes fade the color?? I can’t seem to find red converse ANYWHERE but I did find some pink ones. I’m wondering if I dye them red will they be as red as the ones I could buy? Or would they be a slightly faded red?

  53. I have pink high tops that I hate I want to dye them black but I’m afraid the white soles will go black too or the stitching, is there any exact method that none of that will even be a bit black?

  54. I dyed my white high top converse black and ughhhb aghhh the rubber soles are purple and the converse label is blue!! I tried but it wont remove….any ideaasss??

  55. For anyone trying this, be warned. Coat the rubber with Vaseline or you will get dyed soles. Period. Ive tried this with new Converse and Mossimo and as careful as I was I still got dyed spots on the rubber. Just go buy the color that you want and save yourself a headache. Dying shoes is a very messy business.

  56. Pingback: How To Dye Your Soles Blue | Order Goods

  57. Hi, I just wanted ask if you can give me an advice about my chuck. It is printed and I was meaning to wash it but my mom beat me to it and washed it first, it was horrible; now the print has almost faded to white. I’m thinking of dying it black, will that work?

    I know this is quite late of me to ask, but I will appreciate it very much if you can suggest anything ^^

  58. I know that this post is from 2012 buuuuuut I have all black converse that I got bleach on so they have ugly peach color splotches and I was going to try to dye them black again. would it be uneven?

  59. Hi- just wanted to say thanks for this post! I just successfully dyed my new white slip on Jack Purcell converses a lovely shade of blue. I didn’t soak for very long, then rinsed and rinsed and rinsed some more. It worked very well and I didn’t have any discoloration on the rubber. Thanks very much!!

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