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How to Tie Dye Shoelaces

by Michelle Ullman

Though expressions like groovy and far out lost popularity decades ago, the colorful, retro flair of tie-dye has timeless appeal. A pair of tie-dyed shoelaces is enough to liven up a pair of sneakers without overwhelming your outfit and a whimsical way to express your individual style. Whether you want an entire rainbow on your feet, or just a couple of colors, start with 100 percent white cotton laces for the best results.

Lay plastic bags or newspapers over your work area to protect against spills.

Wet the shoelaces in clean water, then squeeze out excess moisture. This aids in color absorption.

Tie loose knots in the shoelaces every inch or so or cinch loops in the laces at 1-inch intervals with rubber bands. Set laces aside.

Put on rubber gloves to keep your skin and fingernails free of dye.

Mix each color of dye in a separate container. Start with a 50/50 mix of water and food color, dye, or fabric paint; 1 tablespoon of each should be sufficient. If the resulting color is too light, add more color; if too dark, add more water.

Lower a knotted portion or loop of your laces into one dye container and hold in place for a few seconds until desired color is achieved.

Continue to lower different sections of your shoelaces into different containers of dye until you are satisfied with the pattern.

Lay the shoelaces flat on a plastic bag to dry.

Untie the knots or remove the rubber bands only when the shoelaces are completely dry.

Items you will need
  • Cotton shoelaces
  • Rubber bands (optional)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Small bowls
  • Fabric paint, food color or fabric dye
  • Newspaper or plastic bag

Tip

  • Colors will bleed together if closely spaced. To avoid unappealing color blends, place complementary colors near each other, or space colors far enough apart to avoid mixing.

Warning

  • Some dyes can permanently stain porous surfaces, including bowls. Try mixing your dye in old yogurt containers or other disposable wares.

Photo Credits

  • Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images