Learn how to customize your shoes in a fun way with this video and tutorial teaching you how to hydro dip vans. Hydro dipping is a cool way to customize a pair of vans or other shoes.
My youngest kids graduated high school last year (I have twins. That’s why that’s plural :). They had most of the summer at home before they left for college and a church mission.
About halfway through the summer, they started to find themselves a bit “bored” and started looking for some fun things to do to pass the time until they left home (they both had full-time jobs at the time).
They tried tie-dying shirts, making videos, and creating “cool” stuff for their future dorm rooms. It seemed every night I came home to a different craft project on the kitchen table.
About our Hydro Dipped Vans Tutorial
One night my son had his friends over, and I noticed a lot of “commotion.” I followed them outside to see what they were up to and discovered they were dipping vans shoes in spray paint. I thought it seemed like a cool idea and decided to film it for Instagram. I shared it on my stories, and my DM’s blew up! So many questions.
A few months later, my son agreed to let me film him dipping another pair of vans. Today I’m going to share with you how he did it.
The blue and yellow shoes in the photo above are my son’s shoes. This photo was taken after he wore them for 6 months. You can see that they held up very well.
I can’t take too much credit for this. He “organized” it all. Hydro-dipping shoes is not a “new” thing; I know that. This is how he did it. We’ve dipped almost 10 pairs of shoes at this point and have a lot of tips and tricks to share with you.
There is also a video of this whole process! You can find it on YouTube or in the instructions for this post.
I know many of you guys here are moms with older kids and teens; I also know it can be a challenge to think of projects to do with them. I hope this helps you out a bit in that department!
DIY Hydro Dipped Vans
- Old Plastic Tub
- Face Mask
- 1 pair Vans Can use other fabric shoes; white are recommeneded
- 3 cans Rustoleum Spray Paint choose colors that are quite different from each other
- Painters Tape
- Plastic Shopping Bags can also use newsprint paper, but this is a great way to reuse old shopping bags
- Stir Stick Use a metal or silicone stir stick. Do not use a wood stir stick, the paint will stick to it and ruin the swirl.
- Before you begin, remove the laces from your shoes. Stuff the shoes with old plastic bags or newsprint.
- Using painter's tape, tape off the tongue of the shoe and all of the exposed plastic parts of the shoe. We did not tape off the sole; if you don't want the soles discolored, tape them off as well.
- First, make sure you read all of the instructions and precautions on the spray paint bottle. Make sure you are working outside in a well-ventilated area. Follow the directions on the spray paint bottle for safety.
- We found that when it was too cold outside that the paint "congealed" too quickly and did not yield a great dip. I would not recommend this project if it is under 50 degrees outside.
- Fill a tub halfway up with water.
- Spray the paint into the tub. It will "float" on top of the water.
- We found it best to spray each color of paint in a separate area of the tub rather than on top of each other.
- We also found that 3 colors of spray paint worked better than 2. If you want 2 color shoes, I'd recommend adding white paint to your color scheme.
- Using a stir stick, swirl the paint in the water until a cool pattern forms.
- Holding the shoe by the sole, dip it into the water, and then pull it out.
- You want to dip slowly and smoothly and remove the shoe slowly as well to allow the paint time to adhere. Do not leave the shoe in the water. Put it straight in, then straight out.
- Lay the shoe on a shoe box or other box and allow to dry overnight. Do not remove the paint until the outside of the shoe is dry.
- The inside of the shoe will take a day or two to dry out all the way. You can stuff the shoes with plain newsprint to facilitate the drying process.
Top Tips:Use a craft knife to cut the painter’s tape so that it covers only the plastic parts of the shoe. Make sure it is not too cold outside; the paint will not adhere if the water is cold, it will just harden the paint. You may need to leave the water outside in the sun a bit to let it warm up if it is too cold. We did not seal the shoes with anything afterward. My son wore his all summer, and they held up great. Choose colors that are very different from each other for the best result. Don’t be afraid of bright colors.
Hydro Dip Vans; Tips & FAQ’s
A few things to note. My kids are over 18 and bought the spray paint themselves. They were also able to manage most of the project themselves for that reason. If your kids are younger, use common sense and don’t let them do it by themselves. Also, make sure you read all of the directions on the can of spray paint and use all necessary safety precautions.
How well did the shoes hold up? Did you have to seal them afterward?
We did not seal them afterward. They held up very well. My son wore his almost daily all summer and looked great by the end of the summer. The photo of him in the hammock is after wearing them for several months.
Do you have to use Vans?
No. You can use any other white shoes. However, we have not tested it on other brands. If the shoes are fabric and white, I guess that it would work.
What Spray Paint Did you Use?
We used Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel. We bought it at Lowes. I have not tried other brands, but I would guess they would work as well; you’d have to try it!
If you miss a spot can you double dip?
Yes, and no. On one pair of shoes that my son made with his friends, they dipped again. It didn’t look great. On the pink and orange shoes, we made for this video; we had to dip the heel twice because it was still white. It worked great, and you’d never know it was dipped twice. I would try to dip only once.
How much paint should you spray in the tub?
We found out that you need a lot of paint! More than you think you do. Make sure the water is covered. Also, work fast since the paint starts to stick to the sides of the tub if you wait too long.
Do you have to change the water between dips?
No, use your swirl stick and let the paint stick to the sides of the tub. It will start to build up. When the water is clear, you can spray and dip again. Your tub will always have paint in it. Use an old tub.