Tutorial: How to Paint Your Shoes

What can a person do with some acrylic paints, brushes, some nifty new paint markers, and a favorite pair of old but comfy shoes?
 Get some STYLE my friend!
Ready? Find a pair of shoes, preferably leather. My favorite comfy shoes were my first try – they couldn’t look any worse so there was nothing to lose eh? My next pair were a great pair of  NAOT’s (one of the very few brands that fit me.) I think these were as cheap as they were on Ebay because they were kind of an ugly color. Maybe you’ll have the same luck as I did there.
You’ll need: shoes, fingernail polish remover, gesso, acrylic paint, spray sealer. Optional – sharpie, paint markers.
Take the shoes and clean them up as much as you can then rub a little nail polish remover all over them . It roughs them up and removes any finishes so the paint will stick to the leather.
Prime the shoes with a layer of gesso then let them dry.
Chose one or several base paint colors and block them in. That just means put the colors where you want them. I used textile paint because those happened to be the paints I have on hand. I did choose opaque paints rather than transparent in order to get better coverage.
I like using the paint markers next to doodle in some shapes. You could also choose to start out with the sharpie and doodle designs onto your color blocks. On the blue shoes I painted blue first, purple next, used the sharpies, then filled in spots with the paint markers. For the red shoes, I knew I wanted them to be RED, RED, RED so I kept it monochromatic. I was so excited about the paint markers that I played with those first then filled in around them with the sharpies.
Loved what was happening here so I kept going and doodled more with the sharpie. Uh… didn’t like it much. Hey – not a problem! Now I know what I want. Paint back over it and decide that for this particular shoe, less is enough!
Take the shoe outside, stuff the inside with newspaper, tape off the soles if you’d like to then spray a thin coat of sealer to protect the paint.Wait patiently for the stuff to dry then wear with STYLE!
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  1. I enjoy looking through an article that can make
    people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

  2. Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love those shoes!

  4. Theresa Plas says:


  5. Okay those are officially the coolest shoes ever! How fun!

  6. TALL GIRL says:

    these are awesome! i paint a lot of converse shoes with textile paint but have limited dexterity using brushes and foam rollers. using the markers is tres brilliant!!!

  7. these are absolutely amazing – both pairs!! how inspiring!

  8. wow – they are beautiful! Can you paint mine : )

  9. SewLindaAnn says:

    I just bought a pair of the most comfortable shoes in white on clearance to try this with (trying to not wear flip flops all the time). Thanks for the amazing inspiration.

  10. upstateLisa says:



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