Sunday, 10 August 2014

Something sensible - MSD boots restyle

Back to SRS dolly matters now I've finished messing around with the boys for a bit.

I've often tried to paint plastic Barbie boots in the past - with varying degrees of success.   I also find it hard to buy MSD boots to match the outfits I've made. they don't seem to come in too many different colours in general I find.   So, I was wondering how I could combat this when I decided to give shoe dye a go.

Back in my mis-spent youth, I was a penniless art student and constantly colouring my own shoes, and there's no reason on Earth it shouldn't work for dolls shoes in faux leather.

I had two identical pairs of the pink boots below, and wanted something more beige, so I got the appropriate dye and started work.  The results are fab. I'm so pleased. It wasn't all plain sailing though.  I didn't take progress pics, so this isn't a tutorial as such, but if you want a go, I can pass on my findings in the hope it helps.

Here are my materials (besides the boots.)

I used a soft watercolour brush, size 8.  Not the brush supplied with the shoe dye. They're horrible, frankly, and a softer brush leaves less brush marks.

I used stone beige, thinking it would be more beige and less stone. The result is almost a khaki, but I love it because it will go with some of my olive greens.

1) First dye the actual shoe with the shoe dye. They enclose a rough pad in the kit saying you should sand the shoes with it before application.  I wouldn't advise it. I practised on some spare vinyl/fake leather, and the rough pad wrecked it.  Doll shoes don't get grubby, worn, or greasy like human ones, so I don't see the need to sand them first. Just make sure they're good and clean.

2) Also - the instructions tell you the shoes need 3 coats. They lie!  I had to paint on six coats in all.

3) Paint the tongues first. Do all six coats and be very patient.  Don't apply a fresh coat whilst the previous one is still tacky.  - Then tackle the outers of the boots.

4) Don't be disheartened at the first coat. It looks terrible and is very see-through.  Subsequent coats will take better.

5)  Whilst painting, the dye/paint will look a bit blobby and you will see your brush strokes. But once completely dry, the colour flattens itself out and you do get a nice finish.  The manufacturers say you can apply shoe polish as you wold to un-dyed shoes, but I see no need for that with dolls shoes. They don't get the wear and scuffing that people-shoes get.

6) The dye dries rapidly.  I left mine in front of my little electric fan for an hour between coats, and they were perfectly dry enough to apply the next coat.

7) Leave overnight for the final coat to harden off, before painting the soles.  You don't need to, and shouldn’t, varnish over the shoe dye. The dye is made not to crack on soft surfaces - the varnish isn’t.

8) I plan to try and mix a colour next. According to Dylon, it's easy to do so. For example red with yellow will make orange. Blue with yellow should make green.

For the soles, I used Tamiya acrylic model paint, (in flat brown) and Winsor & Newton Galeria matt varnish.

1) Apply the acrylic paint in thin coats.  It only took three coats for mine. It's good stuff. You might find the paint dries slightly tacky. This alarmed me at first, but after I'd applied the varnish, it was fine.

ETA:  On reflection, I'm wondering if the tacky areas were due to grease from my fingers.  I washed my hands before doing the dye, but not before doing the soles.  Just make sure everything is squeaky-clean.  I'll wipe everything down with a swab of alcohol next time.

In the past I've used artists acrylic inks instead of Tamiya paints.  They don't dry tacky, but you need loads more coats.  I've applied up to six coats in the past.

2) Leave a good hour or so for the paint to dry between coats. I used my electric fan to good advantage again.

3) Leave the acrylic to dry overnight before applying the varnish.

4) I only used two coats of varnish.   Due to tackiness, I recommend leaving the boots overnight between every coat of varnish. 

And that's it.

Like I say, the dolls boots aren't subject to the wear of human ones, so this dye should last really well without cracking over time.  It's kind of  rubbery as it dries, so you can see how it's meant to be good for supple surfaces.

I have a pot of magnolia I want to try next. I use a lot of cream and ivory in my doll outfits, and it's very hard to find cream-coloured boots. I plan to mix the magnolia with white to get a nice ivory colour.



  1. Woohoo! I do like to read all your tips and how-tos. I`m not likely to try many of them but it`s nice to know someone else has done all the leg work just in case I should :)

    1. Well, if I can save just one person from ruining a not-cheap pair of dolly boots, my work is done, lol.

  2. They look fab - I do like the colour of the original boots though - but I can see they don't go with many things! Never thought of using shoe dye on dolls shoes - thanks for the tips!

    1. I do too, I love the pink. It's a dusky tint and so nice. Hard to match up, I agree, and having two pairs I decided to be brave! I've bought some white ones to try converting to ivory. I love this style of boot. My Ell's have quite a few of them!


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