Last weekend I posted this picture on social media:
I was immediately flooded with inquiries on where I found red Birkenstock Seres. I didn’t “find” them, I colored them. For those of you in the know, Birkenstock only released the Seres in brown and black leather. Needless to say, people asked for step by step instructions on exactly how to do this.
If you have read my previous blogs, you know that I am no stranger to blinging out my Birks. For the Seres sandals, I followed the steps from my blog “Birkenstock Diva”.
I used Tarrago shoe cream to color my Birkenstocks. Color cream is inexpensive, there are tons of colors from which to choose, it is easy to apply, it dries quickly, and it has a high pigment content and it stains leather extremely well.
My hope was to stain a pair of brown leather Seres a deep burgundy. I had three different shades of red Tarrago cream in my tool box.
I applied a dollop of each color to the underside of the Seres strap and let it dry. From past coloring experience, I knew that whatever color was in the bottle would turn a shade or two darker once it dried on a brown leather base. I wanted to get a rough idea of which shade of red would be that which I was seeking. I selected the Morello Cherry color for this project.
ITEMS NEEDED FOR PROJECT
STEPS TO COLOR THE UPPERS
1. Cover the footbeds of each pair of Birkenstocks with a few layers of paper towels to catch any spillage during the application process.
2. Apply non acetone remover (I prefer Angelus' Professional Leather Preparer & Deglazer ) to a cotton swab and wipe down the uppers. This step helps to deglaze the Birkenstock by breaking down the original finish.
3. Let the leather completely dry after applying the non acetone product. This may take several minutes.
4. Apply masking tape to the back side of the leather straps. This helps prevent getting unwanted color on the back of the straps.
5. Once dry, use a thin brush (about the same size of the straps) to apply the first coat of Tarrago shoe cream to the top and the sides of your Birkenstock straps. Do NOT color the backside (the color may bleed off with wear). Let each coat completely dry, about 5-10 minutes.
6. Keep applying coats of the color cream until you get the color you desire.
7. It took about 3-4 coats of the red cream to completely stain the uppers of my Seres.
8. Don’t get freaked out when the first coat does not give you the color for which you aim. This is a process and takes time. It may take several coats.
PLEASE NOTE: you cannot color your Birkenstocks lighter. You need to use a darker shade for this to be successful. If you want to go lighter, you will need to use Angelus leather paint and follow the steps that I illustrated in the blog “Bespoke Birkenstock”.
When you are finished coloring your straps, you may find that splashes of color have dripped onto the footbed or soles, even with all the precautions that you have taken. No need to worry, the color drips are easy to remove. Simply dab a cotton ball, soaked in non acetone nail polish remover, on the areas with the unwanted color. The color cream will come right off.
I set the Seres aside to dry for 24 hours. Then I sealed the color on to the leather to prevent fading, scratching, or peeling. For this step you can use any Suede and Nubuck leather protector. I opted to use Dr. Martens wonder balsam because it would serve two purposes. First, it would help seal in the color and protect the leather. Second, it would soften the leather straps prior to my break-in process.
Here are the before and after pictures:
The entire process took less than an hour to complete. And clean up was a breeze. I am thrilled with my red Birkenstock Seres.
Now, if only Birkenstock would manufacture unique styles in colors other than just brown or black……….(hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).....☺️