This evening’s spontaneous craft project!
I have these classic, well-made boots I bought well over a decade ago. Maybe even 15 years ago. They were a rich caramel brown. Nice, but when I got my colors analyzed and discovered I was a cool summer (dusty, smoky cool colors work well on me), I tried dying them with a wine color to change the color, but they were still too brown and too warm for my cool palette.
I kept putting my head in the sand on these boots, saying “They’re fine. They’ll work.” Yet each time I’d try them with an outfit, it was always a No. They were just too warm colored. Too saturated.
Dying leather and other items includes the challenge of their base color. I mean, how do you change a rich warm color to a cool smokey one when leather dye soaks in and combines with the previous color?
Well, intuition, experimenting and a willingness to eff em up all combined, and what I got was magic.
The actual process of how I got there looked more like: “let me try this” followed by “oops, that didn’t work,” followed yet again by “hey, what if I try this?” followed by “yikes” followed by “hey, that looks cool.” And then a bunch of finesse and fine detail to make them work.
Then I had to deal with the heel. It was brown. That wasn’t going to work. I tried a bunch of approaches and color combinations, none of which were working and all of which were making the boots look worse by the minute. Then I remembered my pewter leather paint, tried that and Voilà!
I think they look great! A dusty grey blue is one of the summer palette neutrals. (These boots look even prettier in person than in the photos here.)
The Angelus leather dyes I used on the leather upper were a mix of —
— light blue
— a smidge of jade
— light grey
— dark grey
In the last few years, some of my leather (and wool) dye projects have worked out great, some so so, and others meh. Sometimes the colors are very pretty but they’re not “my” colors. Other times the materials just didn’t work (like when I tried dying a horsehair purse with wool dye). But, overall, the experiments have been fun and I’ve gotten a few winners along the way.
I totally consider these boots a winner. That the boots were older, worn in and “cracked” a bit make for, what I think, is both a pretty pair of boots and, I’d wager, one that’s unique and customize just for me.