An awesome shoe design that's for any fan of Harley Quinn or the Joker from the DC comics.
This method is for the Harley Quinn shoes however if you choose to make the Joker one, it is the same instructions as below.
Step 1: Materials
- Red or black hi tops canvas shoes – I couldn't find any red ones so I went for black which will be slightly harder as it will be a dark colour painted to a lighter colour – another option could be white but this would mean a lot of paint to be used
- Red, black, white and blue paint - I used acrylic but fabric paint would work as well
- Medium paint brush
- Small paint brush – small enough to do fine details and edges
- Thin cardboard – a tissue box will do fine
- Varnish spray – I used a clear semi-gloss Rust-oleum
- Glue stick
- Craft Knife
Step 2: Prepare
Take off the laces of the shoes and store them somewhere for later.
Print off three to four Harley Quinn faces with roughly the measurements of 4.2 cm height, and 7 cm width – make sure the face fits the shoe end like in the above photo.
Cut out one of the faces and separate the hat from the face like in the picture above. Glue both these pieces to the cardboard, and cut around each using the craft knife to form two stencils. Using another face glued to more cardboard, cut out the eye mask and mouth of the face to make the third stencil. Finally, using another face or the left over pieces from the previous stencils, cut the eyes out of the eye mask, to make the last stencil for the face.
You will need another stencil of the three diamond pattern for the sides of the shoe. Print off the three diamond shape with roughly the measurements of 4cm height and 3cm width. Stick onto the cardboard and cut out the shape using the craft knife as before. This is the last stencil to be made.
Step 3: Painting
Now that the stencils are complete, it's time to start painting the shoes. If you're painting black shoes you will need white and red paint for this step, however if you are painting red shoes, you will only need black paint for this.
BEFORE painting, stick thin strips of tape around the edges of the shoes so any accidents with the paint can easily be removed (see first photo).
Mix a small amount of paint with plenty of water so the mixture is liquid but still paints white. Brush onto one side of the shoe (make sure when painting the second shoe you use the same side) creating a thin layer over the canvas. Make sure the full side is covered with the white paint, wait for it to dry before applying a second layer. This is make the canvas smooth enough to paint on and light enough to apply the red. If the canvas still feels rough after the second coat, don't worry the next few layers will make it smooth enough for the detailed parts. If you are painting on red shoes, use the same method above but using black paint.
Once the white coat is dry, apply a thicker (less water) coat of red/black paint and re-coat until only one colour is seen - this will take 2-3 coats so while one shoe is drying between coats, start the next shoe. If you are having difficulty getting the shoe side one complete colour, don't mix the paint with any water and use straight onto the shoe. Make sure the layers are even and switch from painting horizontal lines to vertical occasionally so not to get a streaky finish.
Don't worry about avoiding the metal lace holes, once everything is painted and sprayed, you can scratch the paint off easily.
NOTE: If your canvas shoes have white thread which go along the sides of the shoes, I suggest painting that side of the shoe like I did– a couple thin layers of paint will cover the white thread, so paint black on the black side, or paint red on the red side. This is optional but it will give the final shoe more finished and even sided look.
Step 4: Details
Once your shoe is red on one side, black on the other (and completely dry), three small diamonds will need to be painted. Starting on the red side, place the diamond stencil in the top corner of the shoe.
Choose where you want the diamonds to go, and make sure you note down approximate measurements so the detail matches evenly on each shoe.
Carefully holding it in place, fill the stencil in using the black paint and the small brush – I chose to paint a basic outline using the stencil then took it away and filled it in myself as it was easier. Once the red sides of each shoe have the black diamonds (a few layers will be needed), wipe the stencil clean and wait for the paint to dry before the next step.
For the black side of the shoe, apply at least 1-2 white layers of paint using the stencil before putting the red paint on, otherwise the red will not show very well.
Don't worry if you go over the stencil or make a mistake on the diamonds, just wipe off the mistake with a tissue or wait for it to dry before smoothing it out with paint the colour of the shoe side.
I also chose to paint around the diamonds using paint the same as the shoe side to give the edges a smoother finish.
Step 5: Painting the Face
Now that the side details have been painted, its time to do the front details, Harley Quinn's face.
Carefully place the stencil of the hat onto the shoe front, and keep in place while painting one side black and one side red - I marked the middle of the stencil so I knew where to stop painting. Take the stencil away, smooth of the edges, and apply a few more coats until the white does not show through. With white paint, paint the small circles at the end of the hat points.
Wait for the hat to dry, before placing the face stencil over the hat (lining it up so it fits correctly) and paint using white paint. Once again, take away and smooth the edges, before painting over with several coats until the under colour does not show through.
When the white paint is completely dry, line up the stencil with the details of the face onto it. Fill in the stencil carefully with black paint and remove the stencil. Smooth any edges, and add a few more layers then wait for it to dry. Using the final stencil, the eye mask, paint in the eyes and wait to dry - in the meantime, paint the white part of the mouth (I chose not to you a stencil for this but you can if you want). When the white paint is fully dry, use the blue paint to color the eyes.
Like with the diamond detail, any mistakes can be wiped off, and make sure to wipe the stencils after each use so when you do the second shoe, no excess paint gets anywhere.
Step 6: More Painting
For the inside flap of the shoe, and the strip of the heel, use the same painting technique as before - lots of water plus white paint, and two coats onto the canvas. Apply a thicker (less water) coat of white paint until none of the original colour can be seen.
As an extra for the heel strip, I decided to add words relating to Harley Quinn. If you want to do this, plan out what to write and sketch it onto the white strip using pencil, once the paint has dried completely. Using the small brush, carefully paint the words onto the heel strip using black paint – make sure whatever you write is on the correct shoe e.g: Stay Sane – Left shoe, Go Crazy – Right shoe.
Step 7: Varnish
Before spraying the shoes, peel off the tape from around the sides of the shoe, and using the craft knife scrape off any of the remaining paint.
Follow the instructions of the varnish spray you have, and fully spray the shoes including the inside flap and the Harley Quinn face. Wait the required amount of time (24 hours for the varnish I used) before continuing to the next step.
Step 8: Final
Using the craft knife once more, scratch off the paint on the metal lace holes or if you don't want to possibly damage the metal, nail polish remover will work however be careful when using it as it can take the paint off the canvas as well.
Once that is done, lace up the shoes and enjoy your Harley Quinn shoes!
NOTE: Keep the stencils for the face in case future damage to the shoe rubs the paint off and you need to repaint it.
The shoes will be stiff from the many layers of paint at first but will eventually become more flexible as you wear them in.
These shoes, while have a protective layer from the spray, should mostly be worn on dry days just in case.
For a more interesting look you can make the Joker shoes, and mix and match with one Joker shoe and one Harley Quinn shoe!