DIY: to dye for

Yeah, I know… I’m crazy. But sometimes it works out.

I’ve had my Mondoni Kingston boots for a while now, and I’ve been abusing the heck out of them. They were kind of a medium brown color to start with


But as they’ve worn they’ve faded a little in some spots, and my super powerful Texas-fueled sweat had left a slightly darker coloration in other spots. They looked great right after I polished them, but with the way I abuse boots they wouldn’t look great for long. So I decided to dye them a dark brown, hoping that would a) even the color back out a bit, and b) make them a little easier to keep looking nice.


Fiebing’s leather die (I used Chocolate)
wool dauber

I have some Resolene coming that I will use as a top finish, but I haven’t done that yet and you really don’t HAVE to do it if you don’t want to. It just acts as a nice water resistant top coat.


If your boots have a top coat or thick finish, you probably want to use deglazer on them first. Mine did not, so I skipped that part. Instead i just wiped them down with a rag that had a little bit of Dawn dish soap on it, then a plain wet rag to clean off any residue. Then I let them dry thoroughly (I put mine in front a space heater because I’m impatient).

After that I went to work. There’s really no technique or science to this… you just basically paint them with dye. I did two coats just to help cover everything more evenly. Yes, I still managed to get dye all over myself despite the gloves. Luckily it washes off pretty well with soap and water if you do it immediately.

Then I let them dry again, put a light coat of polish on top, and voila! Chocolate brown boots.





chocolateboots1 chocolateboots2


This was so much easier than I imagined it to be in my head, and really gave new life to my boots. I’m super happy with the color too!

I noticed this weekend that my dressage saddle could really use a touch up… it’s got some rubs and scrapes on the front of the flaps and cantle that just aren’t really improved with conditioner. So I bought some black dye and will tackle that next. That one will probably require deglazer and will definitely require Resolene, so it’s a bit more of a project, but I’m curious (and brazen) enough to try it out.

Now I keep looking around for more things to dye. I’ve got most of a bottle of chocolate dye left!

26 thoughts on “DIY: to dye for

  1. Nice! They almost have an antique finish to them now, looks great. 🙂 I’m excited to hear about your saddle dyeing DIY…I’ve always wondered about re-dyeing the rubbed spots on saddle flaps.


    1. I did find some talk of shoe bleaching and re-dying so I think in THEORY it can be done, but I have no idea how hard it is or if being black makes it impossible. Worth researching I would suppose? There are a lot of forums out there devoted to shoes and leatherwork.


  2. I soo love the boots, Id love a pair of brown riding boots…..Id love to wear them out around town, not very masculine, but who cares I love them and id wear them…..Geoff (male long riding boots wearer-every day if I can even to office work


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