How to paint leather shoes

Written by rachel asher
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How to paint leather shoes
Paint is a great way to spruce up your old leather shoes. (shoes image by Einar Bog from

Add some personality to your wardrobe by customising your leather shoes with paint. While canvas shoes are much easier to paint, involve less prep time and adhere to the porous material better, leather shoes can also be painted on with success. If you are looking for a weekend project or simply have a design that calls for leather shoes, then this project could be for you.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Face mask
  • Gloves
  • Acetone
  • Cloth rag
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • White acrylic paint
  • Fine paintbrush
  • Clear acrylic spray
  • Acrylic paint in the colours of your choice

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  1. 1

    Put on a face mask and gloves. Apply acetone to a cloth rag and rub it on your leather shoes.

  2. 2

    Take fine sandpaper and rub off the shiny surface of the leather. This will help the paint adhere to your leather shoes.

  3. 3

    Use a pencil to draw your design. Dilute the white acrylic paint with water, enough that it will coat your brush easily, but is slightly less thick than normal. If the paint slides off your brush, you have used too much water.

  4. 4

    Dot the leather with thinned white acrylic paint where you plan to paint in colour. Leave space between the dots. Wait for the paint to dry, then fill in the spaces between the dots.

  5. 5

    Paint over the white paint with your acrylic coloured paint. Wait at least two hours for the paint to dry.

  6. 6

    Spray your leather shoes with a clear acrylic spray. Apply the spray three times, leaving 24 hours between each application.

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