July 2, 2008

Paint Your Shoes!

Here's a fun rainy day project for you, try painting your shoes. Yes, really - paint your shoes. The possibilies are almost endless. Are you a flower person or does your sense of humor lean toward the dark side - like skeletons? No matter, you can use stencils, or just free hand your designs. Maybe concentric circles, squares, triangles, or amoeba shapes.
This would be good to try out on a worn pair of shoes first, before you paint your favorite sandals. This might even warrant a trip to the clearance section of your favorite shoe store to purchase that pair of sandals in the horrible color that no one wanted, but otherwise a comfortable pair of shoes. Paint them in your favorite hues. Don't stop there, you can adorn them with sparkling rhinestones, etc. Hobby Lobby www.hobbylobby.com or Michaels www.michaels.com will have lots of fun items to accessorize you new shoes.
With paint you can make a pair of shoes to go with a favorite skirt or top. Try using the same colors and design patterns for a perfect match. If you don't want to tackle this project you can mail your shoes to www.clpstudio.com and they will paint them in anyway you like. Check out their website for inspiration.
Things you will need:
Cotton Squares - cosmetic
Varnish (to give it that extra shine)
Tape (to mask the soles)
Acrylic Paint
Prepping the shoes. Cut up sponges into little squares slightly smaller than cotton pads. Place cotton on top of the sponge. Soak the cotton with acetone, until you feel the coldness on the sponge side. Fold the sponge in half and start deglazing the leather with the sponge, don't rub too hard as you will lose the texture on the leather. Use the cotton pads to wipe it off. The sponge and acetone acts like liquid sandpaper, change to a fresh set of sponges if the one you are using gets too coated with paint. You are finished when the leather feels like suede.
Now start masking the soles with masking tape.
Now get your stencils or begin drawing with a pencil your outline as a guide.
Paint your base coats first. If you want vibrant colors, use a base coat of white acrylic paint first. Now you are ready to begin painting your design, a landscape, butterfiles, skeletons, etc. You get the idea.
Use an angle brush (brush with a angled tip). Dip generously into the paint. Always start by painting the stitchings (if this is applicable). The tip of the brush should be facing the edge of the segment that you are painting. Paint back and forth, this way you will fill up those holes of the stitching very quickly creating a perfect line. Plus, it reduces the risk of getting paint over to the other segment. Paint with long strokes. Spread whatever amount of the paint you have on your brush as far as it can go, this means thin coats. The first coat will not look even, don't panic and have itchy fingers and try to fill it up. Keep coating until you see an even, finish with the leather texture still there. Paint fast, spread, even out that pigment and don't touch it. Painting/touching a semi dry area will cause brush strokes and the texture of the leather to be lost. You will also feel resistance in painting, as semi dry paint is sticky. Not good.
If your going to be using a metallic color, paint the shoe first the same hue of the metallic color as the prime coat. If you don't, you will end up painting a zillion coats to try and get it even.
The final touch is coating them with varnish. Krylon Matte Varnish works the best. Spray from a distance, in moderation.
Now you are ready to show off your new kicks.

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