DIY Dyed Salt Water Sandals

The classic Salt Water sandals have been a tried and true favorite for many a years, so instead of ditching an old pair, give them a makeover. Rachel from R&R Workshop did just that to her little girl’s white Salt Water sandals and turned them coral with dye. A pair of mint green ones would look so cute too! Were you a Salt Water kid?

Get crafty with Rachel and try the Polka-Dot Tricycle Makeover. Decorate the home with a summertime Bow Garland and plan fun summer family activities with her ABC Activity Jar tutorial.

Keep reading for the full DIY Dyed Salt Water Sandals after the jump…

We were given a pair of white Salt Water sandals from a friend and I wanted to change the color just for fun.  My sister-in-law came to visit and since I have never dyed anything, she helped me do this project.  Coral is so bright and fun! And much to my surprise..It worked! Who knew you could dye leather?! I love how they turned out and now she has her very own personalized sandals! See the full tutorial below.

//Salt Water Sandals
//Rit Dye (Scarlet & Tangerine)
//Measuring cups
//Pot to boil water
//Container for soaking sandals
//gloves or tongs (optional)
//towels to dry sandals

Before we begin, here are some tips:

-Always check out before you do any project! Its best to check and see which fabrics take the dye and which do not. In our case, leather wasn’t on the list.. So, I asked myself, am I going to be upset if it doesn’t turn out? Ummm… nope! So we decided to go for it!

-Another fantastic part of is the color guide. It helps you mix their dyes to achieve a color that doesn’t come straight out of the box. The color we opted for was number 501. It makes a perfect coral color!

-We used the liquid Rit dye which I recommend as you can contain your mess a lot better and you don’t have to stress over the dye being fully dissolved.

-Some people add vinegar and salt when they dye things. We skipped this and just added it to water. The point is to help the dye take better and be more vibrant. We haven’t tried vinegar and salt, so that’s for our next project i guess.

1. Soak the leather shoes in hot water- I put a mason jar on top to keep them from floating. We soaked the sandals for about 30 minutes before tossing them in the pot of dye. When dying anything you want all fibers to be wet to help the dye take evenly.

2. Mix your dye. Create a one or two cup batch. We mixed 1 tsp scarlet, 1 tsp tangerine and 1 cup water. We doubled the recipe, and mixed our concoction in a two cup pyrex measuring cup. Make sure the water is very hot when you add the dye. It is best to make a well dissolved potent mixture like this and then add it to a larger pot of boiling water. This will be dark! Don’t stress, your shoes will not turn out this color! Unless you leave them in there for a long time!

3. Add the mixture to boiling water & toss in your shoes. Honestly, we didn’t measure this part, so you’ll have to forgive us. If we had to guess…  three to four cups of water was in the pot when we added our mixture of two.  Make sure you have a big pot for big projects like this.

**This next part is up to you and how bright you want your color. We set the timer for 5 minutes, but we actually only left them in for two or three minutes. Most times you’ll want to leave the fabric in for much longer, but the leather took the dye quickly and we wanted a softer color.

4. Once you have achieved the color you want,take out of boiling water and put in bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Run cold water over them until the water runs clear and let them sit for the remainder of the time completely submerged.

5. Towel dry the shoes. You don’t want to leave leather sopping wet so dry it as best you can with a towel and stuff a towel inside to help absorb more as they dry. Since these are salt water sandals, they are used to being in water. But if you feel your leather is dried out you can condition it with one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil.

The best part, you can dye your sandals any color you want! oh the possibilities. . .




I had no idea you could dye leather! I feel the DIY itch coming on! I love making things (or remaking things) for my friends with small children and all of them have a pair of salt Water sandals. I mean, come on, you gotta keep your kiddos hip, right? Thanks for the bright idea!


I live in Saltwaters during the summer. This is a brilliant idea, I loved the pale blue ones, but seemed to have missed out. Was wondering if the dye rubbed off on your little ones feet at all?


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