Funk-ify Your Shoes




These super comfortable but boring sensible brown shoes were a (second hand) gift.  I wanted to make them more interesting and decided to use paint to add some colour and interest.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

you'll need:

  • shoes
  • masking tape
  • acetone (other instructibles do not recommend nail polish remover)
  • cotton balls
  • leather paint - I used Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin in 'Pool'
  • a paint brush - I used an old eyeshadow brush
Based on the style of the shoe I decided to paint the toe and sides.  I thought that blue would be an attractive compliment to the brown.  The blue is surprisingly blue and I should have brought the shoes with me to pick the paint. 

There are specialty leather paints but they are expensive.  I just wanted a splash of colour. This small bottle of paint from a large chain craft store cost less than $5.

You need so little acetone to clean the leather in preparation for painting that I couldn't justify the $15 expense.  I borrowed a can of acetone from a friend and returned the can before taking the photo.  In a well ventilated location, wipe the area of shoe that you want to paint with a cotton ball soaked with acetone .

Step 2: Prepare to Paint

I used short pieces of tape to protect the area of shoe that I didn't want to paint.

Step 3:

Initially I thought that I could free-hand paint the shoes but I'm glad that I did use the masking tape a) because I didn't have a good paint brush and b) even with the tape, the painting is tricky!

Apply one coat.  Let the paint dry thoroughly before painting the next coat.  You may need another coat of paint. 
Carefully remove the masking tape.

Despite checking that the tape was firmly and evenly adhered, the paint did creep a little.  I anticipated that the paint might crack as a wore the and I'm okay with the 'ageing'.  If the paint was applied on a different part of the shoe i.e. at the heel or only on the toe, I expect that it would crack less.




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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    You have to use leather paint for leather, and fabric paint for fabric( and heat set the fabric paint or it washes right off) Your shoe paint would not have cracked AT ALL if you had used leather paint. I painted a small item with COVA COLOR leather paint and actually had it go through the wash, and the paint did not crack, I was amazed. All purpose paints only work for flat, unmoving surfaces. Saving a few bucks is NOT worth it. Why not remove that paint and start over with leather paint? Use the clear coating recommended over it, too. You'll be amazed at the superior results. It would be a shame if people coming here thought that the cracked look was the best they could get: it so not! I'm 55 and have years of experience trying to save money with the wrong materials, paint and glue formulas are very specific and using the wrong one can ruin a project.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    thanks keekerdee for your comments. My instructable shares what happens if non-leather paint is painted on leather. Besides, they are my shoes and I actually like the cracks.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I really like the two-tone idea! If you weren't happy with a bit of bleeding under the tape, I'm guessing that a little brown or black sharpie along the edge and then shoe polish on the brown leather areas would minimize it.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, that's a good idea. I might add some 'spectator' shoe dots too.