How to be a 'Con' Artist

Ahlan!'s style guide to customising your Converse Kickets
ByMegan Chotrani Thursday , 04 August 2016
How to be a 'Con' Artist
Dakota Johnson keeps it playful with a red pair of kicks!

Although Converse are loved world over, they can sometimes lack the individuality that trainer-obsessives crave, and while there’s an incredible range of designs, you may feel a bit flat in your kicks. Fear not, however, Ahlan! is about to take you through a guide to customising your Cons…



One of the simplest ways of creating a new look is changing how you lace up your kicks. This takes only a few minutes and has the ability to drastically alter how they look. Are you a clean-cut individual? If so, a simple ladder lace may be for you, but if you want to stand out, try diamond-lacing your Cons or better still, change the laces entirely. How about contrasting a pair of pink high-tops with dayglow green laces?


Although diamond lacing can appear quite daunting at first, it’s actually reasonably simple. It goes as follows and check out this handy video for guidance!

·         Thread one end of your lace under one of the eyelets (holes that your laces pass through) that’s closest to your toes. Take the other end of your lace and thread it under the opposite eyelet.

·         Take the lace on the right hand and cross it over to the left and thread it over through the third eyelet from the bottom. Do the same with the lace on the left hand, and third eyelet on the right hand.

·         Take the lace that is now on the left side and thread it under the second eyelet from the bottom on the left side. Do the same with the lace and eyelet on the right side.

·         Take the lace that is on the right side over to the left and thread it over through the fourth eyelet from the bottom. Do the same with the lace on the left and the fourth eyelet on the right.

·         Thread the lace that is now on the left, under the fourth eyelet from the bottom that you already threaded through. Do the same with the lace and the fourth eyelet on the right side.

·         Take the lace on the right and cross it over to the left and thread it over the fifth eyelet from the bottom. Do the same with the lace on the left, and the fifth eyelet on the right.

·         Continue the pattern using step five and six all the way to the top of the eyelets.




Now you’ve got your laces sorted, why not get your sewing kit out? You can say a lot with a band or slogan patch on your high-tops. Alternatively, try your hand at creating patterns on your canvas Converse with thread. One subtle modification is to add a double stitch around your heel cup. This simple switch-up can add a lot of character to a new pair of Cons, or bring an old pair back to life. If you find block colours boring, stitch a panel of patterned or plain fabric to your cons to give them a bold new look. Try spicing them up a little with patterns from your favourite designer for a personal touch!



Sewing may not be for you, but what about drawing? With the rubber toe caps as your canvas you can create pieces of functional art that can reflect who you are and what you want to say. By using Sharpies, or other permanent markers available, you can do pretty much anything. How about adding your favourite emoticons, or that tattoo design that you’re not ready to have permanently inked on your skin?


Of course, drawing isn’t everyone’s thing; some prefer an easier method of changing their Converse’s appearance. For those non-creative types, we have an idea. How about making some premature wear-and-tear marks on the canvas, in the style of a Noughties teen with a pair of jeans? We’ve found that a piece of sandpaper works best when ageing your Cons. Make a small slit on your sneakers, and then rub the paper against the tear to give it that rustic look with loose threads fraying around the cut!



Now for the big one, the most difficult yet rewarding way of changing up your Converse. Dip-dying can be risky, but done well it can look incredibly eye-catching as you stroll around in an explosion of colour. This method works best on white Converse. It must be stressed, that these methods can ruin a pair of shoes so it may be best to practice on an old pair first.

Here’s a video and how you do it:


·         First, you’ll need to get your materials, these are: a pair of white canvas cons, salt, a big stainless steel pot that the shoes can fit into, a stirrer, an iron and ironing board as, well as of course fabric dye. Buy it in your favourite colour!

·         Now you should prepare your shoes by cleaning them up and removing the laces.

·         Wet your shoes with clean water; fill the pot up with simmering water. Add the amount of salt instructed with the dye you’ve bought. Meanwhile, put your dye in a separate container and add some hot water to dissolve it (the exact amount of water will vary from dye to dye, look at the packet for info.

·         Once the water in the pot is simmering, mix in the dye solution.

·         Test the strength of the dye with a white cloth if you want to get an idea of what your shoes will look like. If it’s too light, add more dye, if it’s too dark, add more water. Keep in mind the final product will be lighter after it dries.

·         Submerge the part of the converse you want to dye for around 10 minutes ensuring that you circulate the shoe around the pot to get an even coat. Bob your shoe up and down if you want a smoother gradient rather than a harsher line. If you want a dramatic ombré effect, slowly retract your shoe out of the water and hold them in that position for 10 minutes, then retract them more, and then hold them again, until you’re happy with the dye.

·         Once you’re happy with the effect, remove your cons and drain the dye into a sink. Now rinse the shoes until the water coming off them begins to run clean and hang them up to dry until they are no longer dripping.

·         Now for the final step. Take your shoes and squeeze them until the water still held in the fabric comes to the surface, like ringing out a damp towel. While the converse are moist, take an iron and go over them until most excess moisture is gone. Alternatively you can put them in the dryer on high heat. Note: be careful that you don’t burn the canvas by leaving the iron in the same place for too long. Now all you need to do is leave them to fully dry naturally and you’re ready to go.


With these tips, we’re sure to see you – and your customised Converse – around!

INFO: Videos courtesy of How to lace SHOES and LaurDIY

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