My Friend, the Cobbler

June 15, 2010 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

A long time ago, in a wedding blog far away I presented the hive with a problem.  How to dye white Chuck Taylor All-Stars to match our wedding colors?  Sure, Converse has a custom Chuck design tool on their website, but the colors weren’t quite right.  Our photographer told us about a couple who had done it- so there had to be a way.  The original cobbler who did the dye job was denying that it ever happened (really dude?). But I found a sympathetic and curious cobbler and crossed my fingers. Almost 6 months later I am here to tell y’all that it CAN be done!

We started with Chucks in optical white…

… and ended up with Spa, Apple Slice, American Beauty,Clementine, & Oasis!

I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t easy.  Canvas shoes like Chucks do not take dye well. Traditional dye won’t work for a couple of reasons. #1, they soak up dye like nobody’s business.  You get it the right color, it continues to soak up the dye and dries a much lighter color.  #2 Most canvas shoes, Chucks in particular, are coated with a waterproofing type of chemical which makes it harder for the dye to absorb correctly.

Our cobbler brainstormed that what we needed was something that wouldn’t absorb at all.  He remembered seeing airbrushed sneakers being sold at Pike Place Market and set off there to do some research.  The answer was acrylic paint.  Over the next couple months he researched what type to purchase and how to apply it to  the shoes.  In the end his dye distributer also carried the right type of acrylic paint- WIN!

By thinning the paint out a little, he was able to use his airbrush to apply the paint.  I can’t imagine the amount of personal time he invested into making this work for us, and I am grateful. In the end the shoes cost about as much as having them made by Converse- but I was able to get the perfect colors to match our guys ties.

If you have dreams of custom Converse, I would suggest first seeing if the Converse website has the right colors.  If they don’t and you are hell bent on having these shoes (like I was) make friends with your local cobbler.  Be aware that its going to be more work for him and he might not want to do it.  But if he tells you it can’t be done- have him call Miss Pretzel- it can totally be done.

Has a vendor spent a lot of time researching how to execute your vision?  What was the result?

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Entry filed under: groomsmen.

It all started with “&” Being Real about the Dress

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