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These instructions will show you how to use acrylic paint to create one-of-a-kind designs for your canvas shoes or sneakers. In addition, there are instructions for painting leather or vinyl shoes or accents. We've researched and tried a wide range of art materials, and these are the ones we think are the best.

You can now download the full ebook, How to Paint Shoes: A Beginner's Guide to Painting Canvas Shoes with Acrylic Paint.

Make Your Own Pair of Custom-Painted Shoes

My daughter, now in her early twenties, began a business a few years ago in which she modifies premade canvas shoes. We've come a long way since then, and now we're able to paint on leather, mesh, and vinyl surfaces for shoes. Those are our recommendations for optimal performance.

If you're like us and hate having to go out and buy new materials for every project, we've provided a few alternatives in case you already have something lying around that will do the trick.

This article will be updated as new products are tested and added if they prove to be useful.

More information is available in our ebook, How to Paint Shoes, than can be included in a single blog post. It stores indefinitely and incorporates all of our suggestions. You probably only need some suggestions for specific materials to use (see below) if you have previous experience with acrylic paints on canvas.



Painting Shoes: The Basics

Step-by-step instructions for shoe painting novices.

with contributions from Melissa J. Will

Use these expert techniques to paint your own canvas, leather, or vinyl shoes.

This Book's About That

This book is available in digital (PDF) format and can be downloaded to your computer or other device. This is not a tangible good.

Options include: Apple Pay, PayPal, and Credit Cards

Reference to Location
Inaccessible in EU , UK , and Ireland, Northern owing to monetary rules

Crafting Stuff for DIY Shoe Art

Painting shoes is possible on a variety of materials, including canvas, leather, mesh, and vinyl. Different materials call for various steps before they can be used.

Choose from a wide variety of shoe brands and models, including Converse, Nike, Jordan, and more. To paint successfully, you need only identify the substrate you'll be working on.

The Converse Canvas Sneaker | Amazon

Amazon: Nike Air Force Sneakers

It makes no difference what color(s) the shoes are predominantly made of. The soles are the only non-paintable component of a shoe. As soles of shoes do not absorb paint, you can simply tape them off before beginning to paint.

If you'd like these suggestions compiled in one place, the ebook is for you.

Consider picking up a cheap pair of shoes to use as a practice run if this is your first time painting shoes.

Prior to Use, Ensure That Your Materials Pass Tests
Do so at your own risk; we can't possibly test every possible surface and finish. Before applying the treatment to a large area, try it out in a hidden spot to make sure you like the way it looks.

We'll begin with a rundown of what you'll need, then proceed to detailed instructions.

Designed for Use with Weaved Materials

Mix the paint and the 2-Soft Fabric Medium (1 part paint to 1 part medium) and use the resulting mixture.

Preparing a canvas or mesh surface doesn't require any additional materials.

Purchase Angelus Leather Paints on Amazon Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium |

Substitute Components

We made our painted canvas shoes with these materials before Angelus Leather Paints were on the market:

  • You can use an acrylic primer (to prepare the surface) or an all-purpose primer for wall painting, but it needs to be applied in very thin coats. Gesso, a canvas primer used by artists, is another option.
  • Golden (brand) acrylic paint is of exceptional quality and applies smoothly. Any acrylic paint available in craft stores, such as Decoart, Martha Stewart, Folk Art, artist's acrylics, or acrylic wall paint, can be used.
  • Acrylic Paint Thinner | Working in thin layers is essential for a smooth finish and to avoid cracking. Airbrushing also makes use of acrylic paint thinner.

Use On Leather Only

Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer is a mild acetone that must be used to prepare leather surfaces prior to painting. Step-by-step instructions are provided (below).

Leather Paint Prep & Deglaze by Angelus | Amazon

Product Detail: Angelus Leather Paints | Amazon Leather Preserver and Reconditioner

For Use On Vinyl Floors

Getting vinyl ready for painting involves three stages.

  1. Make the surface slightly rougher with sandpaper.
  2. To further prep the surface, use Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer.
  3. Then, spray on a clear Adhesion Promoter Primer (spray) developed for vinyl, rubber, and other plastic surfaces.

After that, Angelus Leather Paints can be used to color vinyl.

In Order to Preserve Footwear Soles

Shoe soles, typically made of a rubber or composite material, do not take paint well. This kind of area should be taped off before painting to prevent paint from getting on the surrounding surfaces.

Wrapping a curved surface with painter's tape or vinyl tape is possible.

Application: When Attention to Detail Is Required

The best tools for creating something exquisite may already be in your possession. A few of our favorites are listed below.

Think about the size of your tips. They can be very thin or very thick.

Colored pens and markers for coloring in Posca Paint Pens

Outlining Markers

Scotch Guard may cause metallic markers to bleed, so be careful.

Additional Materials

To Keep Fresh Paint Off Shoes

Listed below is my personal list of favorites.

Design Preparation

  • You can paint whatever you want on a pair of canvas shoes if you can paint it on a flat canvas.
  • If you're not a creative risk taker, keep it simple at first.
  • To avoid frustration, stick to simple patterns that can be colored in with crayons or markers. From afar, the elegance of these more basic designs shines through.
  • After you've gotten some practice under your belt, you can channel your inner Da Vinci with your second set of shoes.

Prior to Attempting

  • If you're not sure if your design will look good on the shoes, try it out on paper first, and then draw it on with an HB pencil.
  • Paint will show through if you press too hard, so be gentle.
  • Also, remember to cover any areas that you won't be painting, such as the bottoms and interiors.

How to Paint Shoes: The Necessary Procedures

In-Depth Video Analysis

  1. Tie your shoes loosely and give them a good cleaning to begin with.
  2. If you don't want paint anywhere, including the bottoms of your shoes, cover it with some painter's tape or vinyl tape.
  3. Is interior painting a priority? If so, make sure the surface is properly prepared.
  4. The sole of a shoe can be used as a painting surface if you stuff it with something stiff, like a cloth if it's too flimsy.

Finished Leather Areas

Surfaces Made of Canvas

In other words, the most effective approach


An Outdated Approach

  • Apply a thin coat of primer or gesso to the areas of the canvas that will be painted.
  • Just wait for it to dry naturally (it takes about an hour) or hasten the process with a hair dryer or another heating tool.
  • Priming the canvas should be done so that it is covered, but not so heavily that the texture is lost. Acrylic paints "grab" the surface better because of the texture.

Hard Plastics

Use an HB pencil to sketch your design(s) directly onto the sneakers. Use a light touch, or you risk seeing the pencil through the paint.

At last

Incorporate paint into your designs. Think about the order in which you will complete each layer.

Outline your designs and fill in the details with marking pens. Anything goes, whether it's fan art, quotes, poetry, or graffiti.

Use a rolled-up towel as a prop to keep your hand steady while you draw.

Think about masking off areas to paint later with tape.

Always wait for an area to dry completely between coats of paint or marker use.

Angelus Leather Paints can be created utilizing a heated drying tool (at 300°F | 148°C) or a hair dryer.

As soon as the paint on your shoes has dried completely, it's time to apply a protective coating.

The following items are listed in order of preference. Make sure they won't smudge by testing on a small area first.

Angelus Matte Acrylic Finisher, also offered in satin, normal, and high-gloss, is the best option for achieving a matte finish on acrylic.


The Scotch Guard is there to B protect There are various kinds, but the one we use is designed to shield patio upholstery from the elements. Please use the product as directed.


On the other hand, you could use polyurethane, Mod Podge Outdoor, or another weather-resistant outdoor sealant designed for painted surfaces.

Putting Right Errors

If you make a mistake or need to remove paint, you have a few options.

Hide Brush Strokes

Learn the Tricks to Getting That Paint Off Your Shoes!

One of these might help get rid of acrylic paint if you get any on the bottom of your shoes. I put each one to the test on a variety of footwear, and they all performed admirably.

Make sure the good parts are covered with tape before you try it!

All of these items can be found in hardware and home improvement stores:

To name a few: • Methyl Hydrate (99 Methyl hydrate (also known as methanol) (at least 99.9 percent pure) | elucidate Methyl Hydr
It's Mineral Spirits, not Mineral Oil
• WD-40 | You know, that lubricant stuff


Instructions for Creating a Shoe Paint Design

How to Paint Shoes by Hand: a Tutorial

Melissa J. Will

Some pointers on hand-painting canvas, leather, or vinyl footwear

This Book's About That

A PDF file can be downloaded and stored on your computer so you can read this ebook. This is not a tangible good.

You can pay with: Apple Pay, PayPal, or a credit card

Annotation of Location
Discontinued from sale in EU , UK , and NI - Ulster tax rules necessitated

A Project to Paint Shoes

Wow, Look What You Can Do With Paint | Easy DIY Project

May you have a long and happy life.

~Melissa the Queen of Grime

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