How to Customize Your Own DC Shoes

Written by travis aitch
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How to Customize Your Own DC Shoes
Use acrylic paint to customise your DC shoes (red acrylic image by Andrew Brown from

Shoe companies are offering more features every year, and one of the most popular trends is customisable shoes (Reference 1). Some companies like Vans and Etnies allow you to customise your own shoe online and have it tailor-made for you (Reference 3,4). However, as of May 2010, DC shoes still hadn't implemented these online features, But there's always the option of customising your own DC shoes the old-fashioned way. Acrylic paint is considered one of the most durable kinds of paint (Reference 2), and by using it, you can have your own personalised pair of DC shoes designed just the way you like with artwork that will last.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Newspaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Fine-tip paintbrushes

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  1. 1

    Practice drawing your designs on a sketch pad to get a general idea of what you want your DC shoes to look like. Sketch your designs freehand or use other people's artwork as a starting point and create your own twist.

  2. 2

    Clear out a work space on a table and lay down some old newspapers to keep it from getting stained while you customise your DC shoes. Use a damp washcloth to clean off any dirt or residue from your sneakers. Dry your shoes with a clean cloth.

  3. 3

    Use an ink pen to create the outlines of your designs on the shoes. Take your time and make sure the outline looks nice and even because you won't be able to erase it very easily.

  4. 4

    Fill in your artwork and designs with acrylic paint or permanent markers. Use a small, fine-tip paintbrush and apply a little bit of paint at a time in thin layers. Hold the shoes so that the paint does not drip down or outside of your outlines, and pay close attention to making your paint is evenly distributed. Apply two to four thin layers of acrylic paint, allowing about ten minutes of dry time in between.

Tips and warnings

  • When transferring your sketch to your shoe, consider colouring the background with permanent markers and using lots of layers of acrylic paint on your actual artwork to give it an embossed look and make your designs really stand out.
  • It's best to use white or light-coloured styles if you want to customise your own DC shoes.
  • Apply a couple of thin layers of clear coat nail polish over your design when you are finished to make it look shiny and give it an extra shell of protection.
  • Use separate paintbrushes for each colour of your design to prevent the colours from mixing.
  • When drawing your designs on a piece of paper, try putting your ideas on a mock-up sketch of your pair of DC shoes to see what they would look like.
  • If you mess up on your outline, you may be able to remove the ink by dabbing a cotton ball or swab in nail polish remover and swabbing it over your mistake.
  • Even though acrylic paint and permanent markers are great for customising your DC shoes, it may not be the best idea to wear your shoes while you skateboard as the roughness of grip tape will likely cause your graphics to fade or become scratched.

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