C Connor Beam

How to Paint & Dye Old Skool Vans

Jul 16, 2020 · Angelus Direct · Angelus Paint · Angelus Paints · blog · Canvas · custom · customs · DIY · paint · Suede · tutorial · Vans · videos

Suede can be a tricky material to customize. Keeping suede soft and smooth is extremely important, so you don't want to use the wrong products or techniques when working on it.

We typically don't recommend using paint on suede as it can cause the material to harden and lose its factory finish.

That's where Angelus Suede Dye comes in. Dye will change the color of suede by penetrating the surface without damaging it.


To show you how to do this, Enzo from @ehkcustoms stopped by to create a quick tutorial on some easy techniques to properly paint and dye a pair of Vans Old Skools.

Check out the key points below, and make sure to watch the full video for a detailed tutorial.

Prepping the Shoes

To get started, you're going to want to prep your Vans to make sure there isn't any dust, dirt, or grime left on them before you start customizing.

For the suede, simply use a cleaning brush to get rid of any excess dirt or dust sitting on the material.

Angelus Cleaning Brush

After doing that, prep the leather with Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer by applying the solution to the leather parts of your shoes with a cotton swab. This helps get rid of the factory finish so that your paint will adhere to the shoe.

Dying Suede & Painting Canvas

Now that your shoe is prepped, you can move on to customizing the Vans.

Dye Liners

To start, Enzo uses Dye Liners to cleanly dye the edges. These pens make it easy to use dye for fine detail work.

Take the foam piece out of the dye pen and dip it into the dye, then use the pen to carefully de the edges of your Vans.

Dying the shoe

After finishing the edges, use a paintbrush to apply one to two light coats of dye to the suede parts of the shoe. By using dye instead of paint, you'll be able to get your desired colorway without making the suede stiff.

Once you're done applying the dye, make sure to use a cloth and alcohol or water to wipe away any excess dye to avoid being left with an iridescent finish.


For canvas, we recommend mixing Angelus 2-Soft with paint in a 50/50 ratio. Like using dye on suede, this mixture will help make sure the canvas keeps its natural softness and flexibility.

Then, use a heat gun to heat set your paint for three to five minutes once. This step is important to ensure your paint sets correctly.

Shoe Protection

Once your customs are finished, it's important to use finishing products to protect the paint and dye from damage.

Water repellent

Water and Stain Repellent is a great way to give your customs an invisible coating that protects them from water and stains.

When your shoes are completely dry, apply two to three even coats of the spray to your shoes without about 30 minutes of drying time in between coats. Then, let them dry for at least 12 hours and your shoes will be ready to go.

To check out more customs and tutorials, make sure to follow us on Instagram, and stop by our store to grab the materials you need to customize your sneakers.

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