Another long absence lies behind me as well as more exhausting times of work, nerve wrecking waiting periods and lots of pencil work and paint. At last it all paid off in the end, if I may say so.
How? I finally made it through to get a place at university and starting this October I'll be a student of Integrated Design at the University of Arts Bremen! To be honest, I still find it hard to believe I made it through in the end, it's like the rough ending to a roller coaster ride that was far too long and sometimes even scary. And though this also means that I'll have to stay in my little hometown for a little longer than planned I'm still incredibly happy and relieved about this turn. Besides that, this university is actually quite sweet and I feel I'll have a good time there, I can't wait to start studying!
Another thing that paid off at last was a little personal project of mine that I finally finished yesterday, which I will show you as we read on. I prepared a little tutorial for you all on how to paint your own, lovely and unique shoes ♥
I'll show you step by step how I created this pair of sneakers, with a design based off on one of my favorite dresses from Spank! Don't be afraid, it's a piece of cake with this method and you have countless ways and possibilities to create your very own design ♪
But first things first, here are the things you will most likely need for this.
Pictured are the things that I personally used for this and products I've used and can recommend. However, you are not limited to those and not all things are a necessity or will have to be used in this form.
A pair of shoes you want to customize
I suggest to use white canvas shoes or shoes made of some sort of fabric or else you will need a different type of paint. Fabric has the benefit to absorb paint very well and thus helps it to last longer. With a white base your colours will turn out more vibrant and will be easier to apply opaque.
I found my hi-top sneakers in a little shoe store in Berlin that sold non-brand shoes but you will easily find good shoes at stores like Primark, sometimes H&M or other high street shops as well as online on eBay for example. Just search for things like "Canvas Shoes", "White Sneakers" or "Plimsoles" but make sure to arrange the listings by price to find the best bargains.
Here you can go wild and chose any colour you would like of course and also have a brand paint of your choice and trust. You don't need the most expensive ones but ones that dry well, not sticky, have good pigmentation and I also suggest to go for rather opaque colours, especially for white! Maybe pay a visit to your local craft supplies store and see what they have available and if they have some test charts for you to look at check those out as well. My brand of choice is Marabu and Javana for the black but I'm not sure if those are available world wide.
Most importantly - different paints will require different handling so make sure you buy a paint that dries through waterproof on its own and in generally follow the given instructions carefully for the best results!
My favorite kind of brushes are broad synthetic ones since the fibers are soft, yet don't bend as easily as they do with pointed brushes. They give you great control over what you do with them and work very precise. Mine are from Da Vinci and very easy to handle. In case you need some more precision for your designs it's also handy to have very, very tiny brushes, something like a 0 or even less depending on what you are going for.
A closable palette or small containers
This is something very convenient, especially when you are working longer on your project because it allows you to keep your paint wet to be used over several days or even longer. It's also nice because you can mix and store bigger amounts of a certain colour without having to mix it again and again. You won't have to worry about getting the shade spot on with something like this. It's not necessary for you to have a palette like this, though. Small bottles or jars do the same job as long as they don't leak out or allow air to get inside.
A painting palette or some cardboard to mix your colours on
Some other things that are optional buy nevertheless great to have and use:
What I have pictured here are special effect paints, glitter and clear fabric paint all again mostly from Marabu and Javana but also Knorr Prandell and Eberhardt.
With special effects I'm talking loose glitter, glitter glue, glitter pens, 3D pens and paint, velvet powder and paint, glow in the dark paint, pearl pens, decoration gems, fabric dye and in general all that helps you to create your very own, sweet design. There are so many materials you could use for your crafting and art supplies stores usually have a wide range of those things. You could also wander blindly through the alleys of your favorite store and simply get inspired by the products they offer and imagine how you could work them on your project. If you're going to work with loose things like glitter the transparent paint is very useful because you can mix many things within it and apply like normal paint. If you're going to attach things like gems on your shoes make sure you find a very strong glue or stuff that can also be sewed on so you don't lose any of your pretty decorations.
Now that you have all your materials and things ready it's time to prepare your shoes!
Make sure they have a clean surface, if necessarily throw them in the washing machine before you start on them, and remove your shoe laces if you have any. Next you want to cover the sole carefully with masking tape so you don't get any paint on it because in some cases it may be impossible to remove the paint afterwards if you mess up on some spots, so you want to take care of this beforehand. Eyelets or any metallic parts don't need to be covered because they can easily be cleaned.
Once you have your shoes all prepped you can start with all the painting! In my case I did a base colour first, covering all the visible fabric parts and I think this would work well with many designs one can create.
It's good to mix a big amount of colour for this because you have quite a big area to cover up! And remember to work in your paint very well into the fabric so you don't end up accidently having and left spots.
If your shoes are any other colour than white and you want to cover them, make sure you have a fabric paint that is for darker fabrics or your colours will hardly turn out opaque and you will have to go over it all a couple of times.
Another option would be to completely colour them using a fabric dye following all the giving instructions.
Once your paint has dried completely you will want to grab your pencil to start drawing on the design or pattern of your choice. I already had a model to copy mine from but if you don't it may be easier to draw yours out on paper first since it can be a little hard to remove the pencil lines from the surface and it's goodr to have a clear scheme or idea to follow. Also don't put too much pressure on your pencil and try to keep your lines as sheer as possible because you will have to cover them up later without them shining through.
If you finished this important step you can finally get to really start on your little piece of art so surround yourself with your paint, brushes and water once again to get all started!
Some advise for these next steps:
♥ Your fabric shouldn't be too liquid as it'll takes away it's coverage and when mixing different colours together stir them carefully so you don't have any lumps in your paint and will be able to have a smooth application.
♥ Remember that wet paint always appears lighter than paint that has dried. When in doubt - or when following a certain colour scheme - rather mix everything a shade lighter than you normally would.
♥ Start building up your paint by using the lightest colours first. Darker ones will always cover up the lighter ones better, this will give you the cleanest results.
♥ Some colours will need multiple layers in order to be completely opaque and to cover up and lines or paint below them so just be patient and built up it up.
♥ It's very important to always let your paint dry thoroughly so you don't accidently mix to layers of different shades or create unwanted fuzziness, unless you want to create gradients.
♥ If you do want to have gradients you will have to paint wet in wet, using a soft brush for the edges and possibly help it with carefully adding a couple drops of water while blending.
♥ In general, don't be afraid to play around with your paint and try out different techniques. If you are unsure about the results you will get you may want to use a piece of fabric to test everything on.
From here on you just continue to carefully paint on your patterns and creations, little by little.
When you really let each layer you've painted on dry through completely it'll also be a lot easier to clean up any mistakes that you may make. For smaller flaws it could already be enough to scratch off excess paint and spots with your fingernails or a sharp-edged tool but if that doesn't help use a clean, wet brush to rub it off and then dab the surface try with a paper towel. For the case that you do mess up worse it may be a good idea to keep small amounts of the colours you've used for any touch ups.
Then you just paint and paint and paint and paint and paint and paint...
After all that you may or may not continue by adding some glitter, sticking on some sparkling gems or adding some more funky detail to your shoes. Optionally you can also seal them off with some clear paint or Mod Podge afterwards to make them wind and waterproof if your regular fabric paint didn't already do that for you. Mine dries up waterproof on its own after a couple of days but another top layer may also be nice to have a glossy finish for example.
When all your work is done at last and your parts and pieces are all dry and neat it's your turn to take a bunch of q-tips and start cleaning up the metal parts you might have covered in paint.
This is very simple and works well - just dip them into water and attentively rub them over the metal and eventually all the excess paint will come of with barely any effort at all.
Then it's finally time to remove your masking tape if you used any - or in my case - grab a damp towel to rub off all the last spots and flaws from your sole and any other parts.
What I did lastly was to have me some fabric dye and use that on my shoelaces to make them fit the rest of the shoes. If you want to, this may be another lovely detail for yours but it's important your laces are made from cotton to soak up the dye well and that you use it all accordingly to the given instructions.
Given that you don't want to add anything else to your wearable, little artworks you are now all finished and can show the world all that you created! But just in case it gets rainy outside, you better wait until your paint has become completely waterproof - you wouldn't want to ruin your work now after all this effort, would you?
Now this is what my sneakers looked like in the end after this whole, long process. I'm much content and satisfied with their outcome! I finally have the perfect shoes to wear with my Spank! dress and even better: something pretty and unique to wear outside
I hope this tutorial was useful for you guys and that you will have as much fun as I had while customizing your plain shoes. If you need any further help or have any other questions concerning this please let me know about it and I'll do my best to solve it out with you.
And if you did end up trying this out I'd be more than curious to see your pretty results so don't be shy to show them ♥
Until next time!