Customize Your Canvas Shoes

Customize Your Canvas Shoes

How to personalize a blank pair of Vans.

Bud Bennett

If you’re looking to reinvent your wardrobe with Inkodye, why stop at shirts? For those sunny days ahead, a personalized pair of canvas shoes is the perfect accessory.

This step-by-step tutorial walks you through the simple process of using Inkodye's photosensitive properties to create a completely original and permanent design on your new pair of kicks.


Inkodye ↗
Inkowash ↗
Black paint marker
Light-colored raw canvas shoes
Cellophane wrap
Painter's tape
Foam brush
Straight pins
Gather materials

1. Gather materials

For this project we recommend a pair of Vans Classic Slip-Ons. We will be using plastic wrap and dark paint pens to freehand our design.

Stuff with paper

2. Stuff with paper

Pack the shoe tight with newspaper to give yourself a firm work surface.


3. Apply

Working indoors, apply Inkodye to the areas of the shoe you would like to print. Remember that Inkodye will works great on natural fabric, but will not print well on any rubber or plastic parts of the shoe.

Wipe excess

4. Wipe excess

Use a paper towel to clear away excess dye. Be sure to also clean up any drips that may have gotten onto the rubber.


5. Wrap

Cover the shoe in three or four layers of plastic wrap. Some brands of paint pen may dissolve the top layer of plastic, so extra layers will keep the paint from reaching the shoe.

Draw your design

6. Draw your design

Have fun and sketch to your heart’s content! Be sure to fully fill in black areas. Remember thicker lines will generally make a better print.


7. Pin

It is important that the plastic wrap makes contact with the whole shoe, otherwise your print will turn out blurry. Place straight pins wherever you see the plastic wrap raising up.


8. Repeat

You didn't forget about your second shoe, did you?


9. Expose

Bring the shoes into the sun and let the Inkodye work its magic. Be sure to turn the shoes every few minutes so the color develops evenly on all sides. Leave the shoes outside until the color is bold and vibrant. Our shoes took about 15 minutes to expose on a sunny afternoon.


10. Reveal

Bring the shoes indoors and carefully remove the pins and plastic wrap. Things are looking good!


11. Wash

Use Inkowash to fully remove any undeveloped dye. It is best to put your shoes through two full wash cycles before wearing them outside. Do not put your shoes in the drier! The heat might destroy the shoes.

You're done!

12. You're done!

Summer here we come!