I upgraded these shoes over the course of two days, and it was all pretty simple to do while watching TV, and drastically changes the style of the shoe. You could, of course, do this process with any color. I Just went with pink and purple for a statement.
Step 1: Materials
For this project, you will need:
One pair of shoes (I always go for a stiffer shoe so the material doesn't buckle when you're trying to paint it)
Two colors of paint (I used acrylic)
I also tend to buy my shoes on sale at Target, and if I spend more than $20 on a base shoe, I'm wasting my money. But that's because I'm cheap, and isn't necessary for the process.
Something that might help that I didn't do was to put primer down on the shoe to roughen up the surface. It would probably make painting such a slick surface easier.
Step 2: First Coat
I used two to three coats of the acrylic bubblegum pink paint.
Don't worry about how flat the paint is--that is fixed in the final coat. What's important with this coat is to make sure it's even and dry before you continue to the next step. I would suggest waiting a day before doing the next step.
Step 3: Tape on the Stripes
I used standard 3M painters tape. This step requires more creative expression, but is also more fun than any of the other steps.
Rip the tape into strips that cover the width of the shoe. Make sure that they fit into the creases that were already a part of the shoe to lower the chance of bleed. Another important thing to remember is that zebra stripes are not just jagged horizontal stripes. There are diagonal stripes, and occasionally isolated tips of stripes.
While painting on the stripes, I looked up an image of a zebra for reference and kept going based off of that. Also, make sure you have tape that runs onto the non-painted area if possible. This will make it easier to peel off.
Step 4: Second Color of Paint
You can be a little bit inexact with this step. Paint the parts of the shoe not covered in paint. For full coverage (so that the color underneath doesn't show through) I used two coats of purple.
The paint coat was a bit streaky, but I decided to remove the tape after this point. You may decide you want a completely solid coat before removing the tape, but I figured I would have to do some touch ups after the tape was removed anyway and decided to leave it like that.
Step 5: Touch Up
The process of pulling the tape off left some holes in the paint, and there was also bleed from where paint got under the tape. Some places were actually pretty rough, but the lines were what I wanted--a general idea of what zebra stripes looked like which allowed me to color in the parts where the paint had been stripped off.
I simply took a smaller brush and touched up the areas that were either completely stripped or bled over. This gave the lines a more clean appearance (as seen below).
I then used a spray finish coat/lacquer to finish everything off.
Step 6: Cut Shoelace Holes
Unless you managed to be very, very neat, you probably covered the holes for your shoelaces with about four layers of paint and then lacquer.
I used a steak knife and simply rotated it inside the hole from the outside. Then I inserted the shoelaces from the inside. This kept the holes very clean.
Step 7: Done!
Now you have a very unique pair of shoes, with hopefully semi-realistic zebra stripes! (maybe less realistic when you consider the colors they're in)