September 18, 2011

How To Paint Leather Boots


It's time to pull your boots out of the bottom of your closet, dust them off and get your paint out and breathe some soul into them.  It's quick, fun and you get a new pair of kicks for about a one hour investment and $15 in materials.

Start by selecting the "it" pair of boots from your collection.  I know that you own at least three pair of cowboy style boots.  I would suggest choosing your least interesting pair that you hardly wear anymore but can't bring yourself to give away.

Gather your supplies

You will need the following:

Sandpaper - 160 grit
Two soft cotton cloths (old t-shirts work great)
Alcohol - rubbing alcohol works great for this application
Acrylic paints - your favorite color of the moment and a mahogany, deep plum, or walnut shade to add depth and distress
Oil - Linseed (any conditioning oil) to condition and protect the color
Boot polish in a clear or transparent color

What I used for mine...Sage Green and Dark Plum acrylic paints.

I started with a pair of white boots so if you want the lighter shade coming through like mine you will need to paint the boots white first and allow to dry completely.

Got it all together?  Then let's go.

Start by sanding all surfaces of the boots which will remove the sealer and rough the surface so that the paint will soak into the leather.  Do not sand to the point that you have removed all of the base paint color.  Sand with a light touch.  

I  did sand some areas of my boots down to the natural brown leather beneath the painted surface to reveal a nice brown area which also distresses the leather and will add depth of color.  DO NOT SAND your stitching as your boots will come apart at the seams literally.  Excuse the pun.

Once the two boots are similar in distressing and you have sanded all areas it's time to paint them in your favorite base color.  Squeeze your acrylic paint into a cup and add a 1 part alcohol to 4 parts paint ratio and mix thoroughly.


Now paint your boots.  I used a wool swab, but a sponge applicator would work as well.

Now before the paint is completely dry, take the soft cotton cloth and wipe away some of the paint to reveal the color beneath.  Let dry for about 5-6 minutes while you paint the other boot and rub away some of the paint so that the two boots match.

Remember you can apply the paint, sand and reapply the paint as needed.

Now, back to the first boot.  Add your darker acrylic paint to a cup adding alcohol again in a 1 to 4 ratio, mix thoroughly.  Begin lightly applying the darker paint over the base color a section at a time like a wash.  Before the paint dries take your soft cotton cloth and gently wipe some or most of the darker paint off revealing the base color underneath.  Repeat for the rest of the boot and then continue the process on the second boot.

Allow to dry for 10-15 minutes.  Then sand again if you like until you achieve the amount of distressing that appeals to you making the boots your own or adding your soul to them.

Now rub the linseed oil or any conditioning oil made for leather into the leather slowly so that it has time to soak in with a clean soft cotton cloth.  DO NOT USE the same cloth you used that has paint all over it.  C'mon!

Now apply the boot polish per label instructions.

There you have it, a great new pair of new kicks for Fall for about $15 investment.

These are the boots I purchased from a seller on etsy that I distressed and painted.  I love.love.love my new one of a kind, unique to me boots in my favorite shade of mossy green.

I'd love to hear about your boots once they are finished.

Blessings my Friends - Julie

3 comments:

Miss Wirth said...

so awesome!!! i am going on a thrift-store mission for boots to paint now :) thanks for sharing!!

Larissa Goddess said...

You are awesome!!!!

Deborah Jean at Dandelion House said...

So darned clever! Love those boots!
I'm your newest follower!
Love your blog and your creativity!
Deb