Difficulty: 1/5 (very easy)
Estimated Time: 8 hours
The concept of these shoes is to do the “window pane” pattern and have it secretly spell out your initials. You will start by putting your initials on each shoe with thin strips of painter’s tape. Next, you will complete the window pane pattern by placing more strips in random places. Make it your own with not only your initials, but also your own color choices!
Buy our DIY custom shoes kit here (adult) or here (kids).
· Canvas shoes
· Primer (gesso)
· Acrylic paint
· Painter’s tape
· Cup of water*
· Paper towels*
· Crafting knife or scissors*
· Cutting mat*
· Ruler (metal edge preferred)
*not included in the kits
For a new person painting on customs the first thing you should realize is that you will need to paint in thin layers. You can’t simply paint once and be done. We recommend you do 2-4 layers, depending on how well your paint is laying down and the colors you’re using (light colors may require more layers). Using thin layers will keep your paint from clumping and cracking. Don’t be alarmed if the first layer you apply is blotchy or has tiny gaps showing. As you add more layers the colors will soak in evenly and gaps will be filled. Below is an example of what it looks like as you add more layers. Notice that after the first layer you can still see the red in the background. After the second layer you can still see red but after the third layer you can’t see red at all in those areas.
In order to use thin layers, don’t glob the paint onto your brush. Just pull up enough so you can do a few swipes. Use the brush as a spreading tool with the goal of making the paint apply thinly and evenly. You can use a hair dryer or heat gun between coats to make it dry faster. Be careful not to make it too hot or the paint may burn and change color.
I like to start out with big brushes to do large areas and then use smaller or angled brushes near edges. It’s a good idea to reserve 1-2 hours at the end of painting to clean up all of the detailed edges (after removing the masking tape).Now that you’re done painting you will need to let it dry. I wait at least 1 hour after painting to let it dry before putting on finisher.
- Thin layers are better. Thick layers can lead to the paint cracking, so put just enough paint on your brush to spread thin onto the canvas material. If it dries with tiny gaps or faded looking colors it’s ok, you can put on more thin layers until it looks uniform.
- Now is a good opportunity to get used to different brushes, angles, and brush strokes. For large areas, use the biggest brush you have, but make sure you are spreading it evenly and not too thick. Angle brushes are perfect for doing fades. Fades can be achieved by using two brushes with the paints you want to fade and blending them into each other. Make sure the paint you are trying to blend is still wet. Flat brushes are great for edges and everything else.
- It’s a good idea to paint across the toe box (in the across-the-toes direction) because that area flexes more than anywhere else on the shoe. Having the paint flex in the same direction as the shoe will reduce chances of cracking. If your pattern doesn’t lend itself to painting across-the-toes don’t worry about it, it’s a minimal effect.
- Use those detail brushes at the end. The key to a professional looking shoe is having clean edges, artwork, and images.
- Excess paint on the soles can be cleaned up with acetone (nail polish remover) or isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab or q-tip.
- Proper brush care will extend the life of your brushes. Don’t allow the paint to dry on the brush. Always put it in some water and rinse it around. If you are switching colors, repeatedly rinse until nothing comes off while drying your brush on a paper towel. After you are done working, brushes can be washed using a brush cleaner (we recommend Masterbrush Cleaner), soapy water, or shampoo. Do not store your brushes head-down or in water or solvent.