Fortunately, painting leather shoes is easy, and can have excellent results. There are communities online of shoe-painters (naturally the internet has a community for everything), but most people have never seen a sweet pair of custom kicks.
For this instructable, we'll be customizing a pair of Florsheim Imperial dress shoes. I wanted them to be spectators (white/black two-tone), but they were $140. The Black version was on sale for less than $50. Paint was less than $5, so the choice was clear.
This method uses Angelus Leather Paint, which is well known as a quality Acrylic leather paint. It stays flexible, comes in a range of colors, and for once, is inexpensive! These instructions would work well on most natural leather articles, such as wallets, purses, BDSM wear, etc. It isn't designed for suede or other textured leathers.
Painting leather shoes is a 3 step process:
- Prep leather by removing existing polish and coatings with acetone.
- Paint leather with Angelus paints.
- Finish with an Acrylic Finisher for a gloss or matte finish.
You will need:
- Acetone for removing existing coatings (available at Hardware Store) - nail polish remover NOT recommended.
- Angelus Leather Paint (available at many online craft suppliers. I recommend Dharma Trading Company.
- Paper Towels
- Masking Tape (Quality matters - get a good blue tape, or premium green "Frog Tape")
- Paint brushes of various sizes
- A shoe.
- (optional) Angelus Acrylic Finisher or Angelus Duller