Have a nice pair of shoes that have gone through some wear and tear, or just want to make a statement? This simple and cheap method is for you!
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- T-Shirt Transfers for Dark Fabric (Staples brand) http://www.staples.ca/en/Staples-T-Shirt-Transfers...
- Heat gun (or iron)
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Step 1: Chose Your Shoes
Although the transfers state they are meant for cotton, they will stick well to pleather also. As long as your shoes can handle some heat, they should work fine. You will need a smooth surface to work on. Trying to overlay the transfer on a seam will make the image bumpy. These transfers should also work with canvas shoes, although some texture might show through. Dark scuffs should not show up through the transfer, especially if your image has colour. These transfers will work on any colour of shoe.
Clean your shoes so your working surface is free of dirt.
Step 2: Choose Your Design
Measure the space you have to work with on your shoes. Find images you like (you can use Google or draw your own) and size them using a program of your choice (Word works well). If you want to fix shoes for a professional environment, a crest or simple design/pattern in a muted colour can work well. Print them out on an inkjet printer and cut them out carefully.
If you want to cover a large area of your shoe, you can easily make a pattern to print the perfect transfer. Simply cover the area you want to design with plastic wrap, making sure it hugs all the areas you need well. Cover the wrap with cellophane tape. Use a pen to outline the area you want to cover. Remove the wrap and cut out the shape. Trace your design onto white paper with a black pen and scan it. In Photoshop, you can use the black outline you've just made to check if your pattern will fit. You can cover a large scuffed area of shoe for a professional environment by making the space look like leather or give it a patterned surface.
Note that if your pattern doesn't lay flat onto your paper, you will need to cut darts into the transfer to make it fit on your shoe, which might alter your design.
Step 3: Apply the Transfer
Peel off the backing of the transfer carefully. Place your design where you want it and press down.
Using a heat gun on low heat (450F), hold it over the transfer for a few seconds and press it down with your fingers. You only need to heat it a little to initially get it stuck down. If you have to go over any curves, this is a good point to work the design around. When you have your design secured where you want it, turn your heat gun up a notch (650F) and give it 5-10 seconds of heat. Press it down hard with your fingers (make sure not to burn yourself). I found it was hot, but not too hot to touch - but touch with caution. Repeat a few times to make sure the transfer is really good and stuck down. If your edges don't peel back after trying to pull them back, they're secure. If you don't have a heat gun, heat your iron to its hottest cotton setting without water in it and hold it over the shoe without touching it, using your iron like a heat gun (and just follow the same steps). If you are certain your shoes can withstand the direct heat of the iron, use the paper that comes in the package to lay over the transfer.
After that, then you are finished! If you wish to cover the transfer with some kind of spray or gloss, make sure to do a test sample first to see how the transfer reacts to whatever product you're using.