Skip to main navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Instructions for making Polka Dot Canvas shoes

This is such a fun project!  In addition to being an easy last minute Valentine’s Day gift, it’s also a great way to perk up an older pair of shoes. To do it yourself, here’s how!


    • Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel
    • Cotton canvas shoes*
    • Hydrogen Peroxide
    • Cotton Swabs
    • Dropper or syringe
    • Dishwasher safe bowl
    • Dishwasher safe plate
    • Paper towels


    1. Get ready: open the hydrogen peroxide and pour a little into the bowl.  Set a few cotton swabs in the bowl so they are damp and ready when you need them.  Fill the dropper or syringe with hydrogen peroxide and leave it in the bowl so it is ready to go.
    2. Practice!  With the cap on, shake the bleach pen.  Remove the cap on the fine tip end, and gently squeeze out a few small circles of bleach onto the plate.  Begin working with the shoes when your practice dots are uniform.
    3. Work in sections.  You can’t put all the dots on at once without the gel sliding down vertical surfaces, so be patient!
    4. Apply the gel dots to the top of the shoes first.  Allow the bleach gel dots to dry before continuing.
    5. While you are waiting for the gel dots to dry, use the paper towel to clean off any gel from the tip of the pen, and put the cap back on.
    6. Turn the shoes on their sides, shake the bleach pen, and apply more dots, continuing the pattern from the top of the shoes.  Allow the dots to dry before continuing.
    7. Turn the shoes over and apply gel dots to the other side of the shoes.  Allow the dots to dry before continuing.
    8. Holding the shoes so the heel is facing up, and apply any needed gel dots to complete the pattern around the back of the shoes.  Allow the dots to dry.
    9. Using the dropper or syringe, apply hydrogen peroxide directly to each dot, refilling the dropper or syringe as necessary.  This prevents any untreated areas of the shoes from being lightened by residual bleach gel when the shoes are rinsed.
    10. Thoroughly rinse the shoes (you can do this in the clothes washer if you like) and let them air dry in a warm room.

Remember that you do need to be careful with the bleach pen.  Always make sure the cap is on before you shake the pen.  If you ever get even a tiny amount of gel where you don’t want it, dab it quickly with the hydrogen peroxide soaked cotton swab.  Want different colored polka dots?  Try using a permanent marker to change their color!  With so many creative possibilities, it’s easy to create a one-of-a-kind pair of shoes that will have everyone asking, “Where did you find those shoes?  I want a pair!”

*Do not use the gel pen on leather, wool, silk, mohair and spandex.