How to decorate canvas tennis shoes

Written by kate carpenter
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How to decorate canvas tennis shoes
Jazz up your outfits by decorating your canvas shoes. (Edmond Van Hoorick/Valueline/Getty Images)

Decorated canvas shoes individualises everyday, common footwear into one of a kind masterpieces. Kids enjoy the decorating process as well as wearing their creations; but adults, young and old, also are drawn to colourful, attractively decorated canvas shoes as a unique fashion statement. Make your own, or have a shoe decorating party. Canvas shoes can be inexpensively purchased, so experiment, get creative and jazz up your footwear wardrobe.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White, or light coloured canvas shoes
  • Fabric markers
  • Fabric paint pens
  • Ribbon or lace (optional)
  • Beads, jewels (optional)
  • Glue gun and glue stick

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  1. 1

    Verify that the shoes you plan to decorate are made of canvas, not vinyl or synthetic materials. Fabric pen ink and fabric paints will not adhere correctly to surfaces that are not made of natural fibres, such as cotton canvas.

  2. 2

    Clean your canvas shoes in a washing machine with warm water and laundry soap. Dry them either in the clothes dryer, on low heat, or simply allow your canvas shoes to air dry. Be sure your clean canvas shoes are completely dry before you start to decorate them.

  3. 3

    Remove the shoelaces from your canvas shoes, if the shoes have them. The shoelaces can be painted and coloured separately, or substitute ribbon or lace for shoelaces when you have finished decorating your canvas shoes.

  4. 4

    Draw lines, flowers, words and other images onto your shoes with fabric pens and/or fabric paint pens. If you need to, you can first use a lead pencil to draw your design on your shoes.This way, if you decide you don't like the design, you can either erase or rewash your shoes to remove the pencil marks before you put permanent ink or paint on the shoes.

  5. 5

    Follow the instructions that come with the fabric pens or fabric paint pens for drying your painted, decorated shoes. Be sure your canvas shoes are completely dry and the inks and paints are set before you wear your new creations.

  6. 6

    Use a glue gun to add embellishment to your shoes with fabric glitter pens and hot gluing jewels, beads, ribbon bows, or small appliques.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear old clothes and put plastic or newspaper under your shoes before you begin to paint and decorate.

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