How to Custom Paint My Shoes

Written by evander blimpington
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How to Custom Paint My Shoes
Custom painting your shoes isn't complicated, as long as you are prepared. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Wearing bold coloured clothing is a great way to make a fashion statement. Wearing shoes that are original and vibrant coloured, not to mention custom-made, is an even more effective way of getting people to look in your direction. Luckily, you don't have to go out and spend a lot of money to have a custom painted pair of shoes. Using a combination of some on-hand supplies, a pair of white shoes or minimally coloured shoes, and some other supplies you can get at a local speciality store, you can customise a pair of shoes.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Piece of paper
  • Coloured markers
  • Card board
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Pair of shoes
  • Acetone
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Fine paint brush
  • Medium paint brush
  • Thick paint brush
  • Cup
  • Water
  • High quality paint

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  1. 1

    Begin by creating the design for your custom painted shoes. Draw a shoe on a blank sheet of paper (preferably draw a simple sketch of the shoe you will be painting). Once you have a sketch of the shoe, create your design using coloured markers to form colour schemes, patterns, a logo, or any other details to be included. If you do plan on painting a homemade logo on your shoes, you may want to cut out a stencil of your logo from a piece of poster board for later use. Using a stencil will allow for a more accurate reproduction of your logo.

  2. 2

    As some paint fumes can be toxic, pick a spot to paint in that is well ventilated, for example outside if the weather is good or inside with all your windows open. Place newspapers on the surface where you will be painting the shoes. If the shoes have laces, these need to be removed prior to beginning the painting process. Place the shoes on the newspaper. Keep your sketch handy so that you can refer to it, during the painting process.

  3. 3

    Put on rubber or latex gloves. Apply acetone to a cotton ball and scrub the outside of the shoe thoroughly with the acetone-soaked cotton ball, if the shoe is made of leather. This will remove the coating applied to the leather to preserve it. Scrubbing the outside with acetone will allow the layers of paint to stick to the shoe properly and will cause the custom paint job to last longer. If the shoe is made of canvas, skip this step.

  4. 4

    Begin by painting parts of the shoe that you have decided will be a single colour. Use the thicker paint brush to paint the open gaps and a fine-tipped brush to paint the very edges (without painting parts intended for other colours). Only apply a thin coat of paint at a time. After you complete the first layer of paint, wait thirty minutes to allow the paint to dry. Paint another layer on the previous one. Repeat the process, painting layer upon layer, until the paint is thick enough so that you cannot see through it. Only paint one colour at a time and allow the paint to dry for thirty minutes to one hour before using another colour.

  5. 5

    Repeat the painting process (thin layers until too thick to see through) with each colour until you have completed the design you have created for the shoe. If you're painting a personalised logo, paint the logo before you paint the surrounding portion of the shoe. Use a fine-tipped brush to paint around the logo when the time comes to add additional paint to the surrounding area. Paint any patterns or embellishments after you have coloured the majority of the shoe. Paint the bottoms of the shoes, based on the colour scheme of the shoe.

  6. 6

    Allow the shoes to dry for 2-4 days. If the laces were removed, after the drying period is complete the shoes can once again be laced. If the shoes give off a paint odour, you can speed up this outgassing process created by the release of paint fumes by placing the shoes outside in the sun for 1-3 days.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not like something you've painted, use a fresh acetone-soaked cotton ball to remove the paint (acetone is a paint thinner) and reapply a new coat of paint.
  • Do not get acetone on your skin or in your eyes. Acetone is a poisonous and potent, petroleum-based chemical and poses a significant hazard to your health.
  • If you come into contact with acetone, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least several minutes and call your doctor immediately.
  • Paint releases vapours that are toxic to breathe in and should only be used in very well ventilated areas or outside where there is constant fresh air circulating.
  • If you breathe in too much of the paint fumes and begin to feel lightheaded, stop immediately and go outside into the fresh air. Contact your physician, if have difficulty breathing.

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