Introduction: How to Customize Kicks (Paint Shoes) the Mofoz Visualz Way

Picture of How to Customize Kicks (Paint Shoes) the Mofoz Visualz Way

This instructable will show you how to paint sneakers, customize kicks, the Mofoz Visualz Way. This instructional is applicable with all leather shoes/boots.

For more pictures of this project and more info on Mofoz Visualz custom apparel...visit

Step 1: Step 1 :Preparing a Sneaker/Shoe for Paint

Picture of Step 1 :Preparing a Sneaker/Shoe for Paint

Here's what you need: Acetate (Nail Polish Remover), Cotton Swabs, Q-tips, Fine line brush, medium line brush, Professional leather paint (mostly can only be found online), Soft Painters Tape, Acrylic finisher (Sealant), Airbrush (our preference) and about 15 hours.

Step 1:
Take off laces and clean shoe with cotton balls dipped in nail polish remover. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT step in customizing. As you rub the doused cotton balls over the shoe, you will notice that there is a clear build up that comes off the shoe-thats the idea. Essentially, this step is to remove the "clear coat" that most manufacturers spray on their shoes to protect them. It's a must to remove this so that the paint will bond directly to the leather as opposed to the clear coat.

If the clear coat is left , chances are that the paint will crack after some wear.

I like to go over the shoe at least 3 good times. If you want to go that extra step, use doused q-tips to get into the hard edges and sections.

Let dry/evaporate for at least 30 minutes before painting.

NOTE: If you are painting on colored leather, be careful and rub lighly, as you may go too far and discolor some parts of leather, you may not be planning on painting over.

Step 2: Step 2: Masking of Sneakers for Paint

Picture of Step 2: Masking of Sneakers for Paint

Step 2:
We prefer to airbrush most fills so that there are minimum brushmarks to be seen. The trouble with airbrushing is that you always have to keep in mind overspray and underspray; this can prove particularly difficult especially when colors are mixed as opposed to straight out of the bottle.

In order to keep cleanup of the over/under spray to a minimum- the masking off of the shoe should be pretty exact. Mofoz' Airica helped mask these off, as its a good idea to use fingernails to wrap tape around edges of the my early days I used a flat razor to bend the tape over the edges of the sections and tuck it under the section.

This is a tedious process, as you will need to tear and apply tape for hours sometimes, just to reapply to different sections after the first round of paint.

Use Scotch "soft" painters tape, dont buy the cheap stuff- it will save you a lot of time in the long run. The soft tape can be applied to paint 24 hrs after the first painting and will not peel the paint off when removed. The cheap stuff probably will.

NOTE: You can also use the soft painters tape for small stencils. This is really good for elaborate and detailed logos.

Step 3: Step 3: Painting the Fill/ Solid Color Sneakers

Picture of Step 3: Painting the Fill/ Solid Color Sneakers

Here are the Air Force 1's ready for paint ...note the clean surface. important.

Here is what the shoes look like after 3 light coats of airbrushing. Whether you are airbrushing or handpainting, use multiple thin coats. (allow paint to dry for at least an hour between coats)

Using thin coats will make sure the paint dries quicker, and will ensure that the paint will not crack when worn.

Step 4: Step 4 Removing Masking Tape From Sneaker

Picture of Step 4 Removing Masking Tape From Sneaker

Carefully remove the tape, as sometimes the tape will remove small spots of paint. The more careful you are at this step, the less cleanup you will have to do afterwards.

We repeat steps 2-4 to apply the following blue coat of paint, where we first masked it.Be sure to allow paint at least 24 hrs to dry before you apply painters tape over it.

Step 5: Step 5 the Details /Clean Up

Picture of Step 5 the Details /Clean Up

This is a picture of after the blue has been sprayed and dried.
At this point all is left is the details, this is what makes a custom pair of AF 1's go from "eh", to"damn!!! Take notice that there are still small parts around where the sneakers were masked that need to be painted, as well as the inside edges of the sections that need to be painted /or cleaned up from overspray.

Use the fine line brush and be very patient when doing this-you do not want to get paint on places where its not supposed to be. I used to actually use a flat razor to "paint" the edges, also, but since have gotten a lot more proficient with a fine line brush. If you happen to get paint where you dont want- quickly use a clean rag or q-tip with water or nail polish remover on it and carefully dab the paint.

Step 6: Step 6 Airbrushing Sealant to the Sneakers

Picture of Step 6 Airbrushing Sealant to the Sneakers

The sealant will help to seal your paint to the leather, as well as ad a nice gloss to your paint. I generally will airbrush at least 3 coats of sealant in 45 minute intervals. If you want your shoes glossier, you can spray/paint more coats. The Angelus brand sealant I use comes in 3 different choices: low, mid and high gloss.

Again, you can paint the clear sealant on, but we choose to airbrush to minimize brushstrokes.

After the sealant is applied to your custom kicks, the paint will be protected. If they get dirty, they are easier to clean than if they were brand new. Just take soap and water on a clean rag and give it a once over.

Allow the sealant to dry for at least 24-48 hours before wearing.

Step 7: Step 7 Stepping Out: Wear Your Custom Kicks

Picture of Step 7 Stepping Out: Wear Your Custom Kicks

Check out Phranhcyze's "Customized Kicks" song at to get some inspiration. enjoy.


dominikicks (author)2017-04-02

Color shifting hit me up for some custom work I paint sneakers boots shoe bags leather jackets headphones etc follow me on ig dominikicks or Facebook blacky Harlem thanks

ballergirl42 (author)2017-03-21

Would you be able to permanently paint the soles of the Nike roshe one running shoes? And if you were what paint would you use? I have regular Angelus paint, would that work?

AshleyD122 (author)2017-03-17

Hello, would this technique work on SuperFabric? Ive attached a picture of the shoe.

rhysg3 (author)2017-03-07

can you paint over a black shoe

Imdaplug (author)2016-02-02

How can you change the color of the fabric?

frankpanther (author)Imdaplug2016-11-30

use something called GAC-900 mix it with the paint and it will paint fabric without ruining the material

JoshuaC115 (author)2016-03-11

Can you use any type of paint to customize your shoes? I have some Nike Air Monarch IV i want to customize them. This is how they look

frankpanther (author)JoshuaC1152016-11-30

use angelus acrylic paint works great

PeteG28 (author)2016-09-02

Can you recommend a sealant (flexible clear coat) that works well over acrylic spray paint that comes in a spray can for those of us without a spray rig?

SamM194 (author)2016-07-20

Apart from angelus what other brands can I use?

nohoeessss (author)2016-07-03

i just bought a set of airbrushes and i wanted to know if you mix you paints with anything before painting huarches and also what paint you use

SamonéH (author)2016-06-13

You said you can uss the airbrush technique or the hand painting technique what type of airbrush machine would i need or does it just have to be a regular airbrush ?

NathanV24 (author)2016-04-12

What can I use so the paint will not Come off?

Papilt (author)NathanV242016-05-20

Clear coat

NathanV24 (author)2016-04-12

What can I use so the paint won't come off

EllieR3 (author)2016-01-14

I bought some Nike thea in all black leather however I want the 'tick' to be white, do you think I could just use nail polish, or would it come off in the rain?

liatuk (author)2014-08-26

do you customize other people shoes as well?

mofozvisualz (author)liatuk2015-07-15

yes, email

Ranee (author)mofozvisualz2015-09-02

Can you custom all white huaraches into all dark purple?

kassy.steele.7 (author)liatuk2014-11-23

I do custom shoes for people email me if you're interested

does the cost depend on the design?

Nwgc40 (author)2015-07-11

I have a pair of air forces that I let someone airbrush , which is the whole shoe and they cracked and I was wondering if that can be hand painted over

mofozvisualz (author)Nwgc402015-07-15

Honestly it would probably have to be cleaned down pretty good using the same prep methods as stated in the instructable. Depending on what kind of paint was used, it may clean off pretty easy with the use of acetate.

Exscuse me what are the coats?

shane.mcguinees (author)2012-05-19

Do u thin your paint before you put the paint threw the air brush?

sometimes, depending on thickness, but most of the time, right out of the jar will work.

Tygahhhh (author)mofozvisualz2015-07-19

What kind of paint do u use

BaeBae2 (author)2015-04-19

What paint you use because my paint won't stick

mofozvisualz (author)BaeBae22015-07-15

Angelus leather paint, although be sure to properly prep the sneakers for paint, that could also be part of the problem. It's explained in the instructable.

Swagg11 (author)2015-01-23

What type of airbrush kit did you get

mofozvisualz (author)Swagg112015-07-15

i first started with a cheap one, which is okay if you are masking and sprayiong larger fill areas, but if you want detail and precision i recommend Iwata Revolution series.

mypaintedshoes (author)2013-05-13

cool guy, do you have a store?

nope, but we have a website

Fancy Kickz made it! (author)2015-05-28

Thank you so much for the wonderful guide! I was able to paint these sneakers, sadly I lost the shoelaces to them. These are the resluts.

mofozvisualz (author)Fancy Kickz2015-07-15

pretty boss, nice detail. I like the gold used in the helmet, metallics are pretty tricky, as they are usually pretty thin, and need more coats/patience.

oli couts (author)2015-05-29

Who can make these

mofozvisualz (author)oli couts2015-07-15

Anyone with some time and paint.

oli couts (author)2015-05-29

Who can make my huaraches

DIYDragon (author)2015-03-16

Wow, nice job. I really want to customize some shoes now. I think I might have to buy another pair though. I don't have any that are white right now. xD Nice job dude.

DIYDragon (author)2015-03-16

Wow, nice job. I really want to customize some shoes now. I think I might have to buy another pair though. I don't have any that are white right now. xD Nice job dude.

LubnaA1 (author)2015-01-10

one of the best and full informative atricle about shoes i find some usefull suggistion in this article thanks a lot of the author....for more visit

LibaR (author)2014-12-27

hi welcome to this article and buy low price shoes and comfortable footwear i like this very much

LibaR (author)2014-12-27

hi wellcome to this article and buy low price shoes and comfortable footweare ilike thsi very much

blade.durso (author)2014-10-04

Where can I get an airbrush and can I get a metallic gold paint for these?

Dopest_KICKS (author)2014-09-24

what type of air brush did you use and, how did it cost?

gluvit (author)2014-06-20

Love it

Fresh_Pair (author)2013-09-06

How you mixed ur paint wit and do u know how to remove clear from elephant print

John345 (author)2012-08-05

Hi, I was wondering how to paint the midsole and outer sole of the sneaker, thanks!

reindeer30 (author)2012-06-05

What air force 1 shoes did you use? are they the Ari force 1 mids?

adammorin (author)2012-04-25

Do you guys have any tips for painting the sole or the swoosh? I know the swoosh is the same materials as the rest of the shoe, but the sole is rubber, and I don't know if the leather paint would bond as well (if at all).

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