Transform your plain white shoes into stunning patriotic footwear for the 4th of July!
Let me show you how to paint canvas shoes and make a statement this Independence Day with your custom-designed shoes.
Today is the Handcrafted Society Monthly post. Amy @amysadlerdesigns took the lead this month and challenged us to paint something red, white, and blue.
If you came over from Amy’s blog, Welcome! I don’t doubt that you loved Amy’s amazing flower pot project. She is one talented gal. You will want to see all of the projects this month. Check out all the links at the end of my post.
Did you know you can rejuvenate an old pair of leather shoes or create an original design on a pair of vinyl shoes? Who knew?
But today, I am going to focus solely on how to paint canvas sneakers.
What Type of Paint to Use on Canvas Shoes?
The first thing I want to go over is what is the best paint to use on shoes made of canvas material.
There are several different types of paint you can use. However, I prefer fabric or acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium for the best results.
Despite trying to keep it simple with just three colors, I still couldn’t find exactly what I needed among the limited selection of fabric paint options.
So, I opted to mix acrylic paint with fabric medium, giving me access to a variety of different colors.
Did you know they make spray paint for fabric?
I find this product intriguing. I need to find a great way to put it to good use.
Supplies You’ll Need to Paint Canvas Shoes
- One pair of white canvas shoes
- Acrylic medium
- Acrylic paints
- Masking tape or painter’s tape
- Electrical tape that is 1/3-1/2 inch wide
- Stencil brush
- Small paint brush
- Avery star stickers
- Paper towels
- Paper to put on the table to protect your workspace
- Waterproofing spray or acrylic sealer spray
- X-acto knife or small scissors
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Step-by-Step Instructions to Paint Canvas Shoes
1. Select and prepare the shoes
If you are using your own shoes and they need to be cleaned, here are my suggestions to get them looking spiffy before you paint them.
For optimal results, it’s best to wash them by hand, instead of in the washing machine. This takes a bit more time, but the results are much better. Here are the easy steps.
- Using a 5-gallon bucket, add 1 cup of baking soda to one gallon of warm water.
- Add a small amount of laundry detergent.
- Remove your shoelaces from both shoes.
- Soak your shoelaces and shoes for 1-2 hours.
- Use a scrub brush to scrub away any stubborn stains.
- Rinse your shoes thoroughly with cold water.
- Air-dry your shoes outside.
I purchased new shoes. They are an inexpensive pair of high-top white canvas sneakers. I chose the high tops so I would have lots of space for the stripes.
Here are a few of my top picks for new white canvas sneakers.
2. Plan your design
I used a basic design for my shoes that did not require much skill. You can use my simple idea or sketch out your own unique design.
This is the perfect way you can express your creativity. I would suggest you draw it out on paper first and then use a light pencil to draw the design onto the pair of canvas shoes.
Unique hand-painted designs are amazing, but this was my first time painting shoes, so I wanted a quick and easy way to create my patriotic sneakers.
3. Taping your shoes (creating the stripes)
I used electrician tape to create the stripes on the sides of my shoes. I did this for two reasons. First, I wanted narrow stripes. you can not purchase painter’s tape in this width. Secondly, you need tape that will stick well to the canvas material. I experimented with several different types of tape and found the electrician tape was the best option.
- Run a tape line along the rubber edge at the bottom of the shoes. Rub the tape against the canvas with some pressure to make sure it adheres well.
- Cut a few one-inch pieces of tape and place them above the first line of tape several inches apart to guide your second strip of tape.
- Run the second line of tape using the one-inch pieces as your guide.
- Repeat this process until you have all of your stripes taped off.
- Be sure to remove all of the one-inch tape pieces before you paint.
- In addition, tape off any part of the shoe that you feel may be in danger of getting paint on it using masking tape or painter’s tape.
- Use paper towel to put inside of the shoe to help give the shoe some stability.
4. The painting process (the stripes)
- To create durable paint for use on fabric, it’s recommended to mix two parts of acrylic paint with one part of fabric medium in a cup or on a paper plate. Then, stir the mixture using a paintbrush. Fabric medium will help the paint to adhere to the canvas well. (always read the instructions on the bottle for full details)
- Paint thin coats of paint on the white canvas stripes using a small paintbrush. (I used a bright red for this first layer)
- I did not want my stripes to be a solid color, so I used a dry brush with very little paint on the brush.
- Apply a second layer of paint with a deeper color red using the same method.
- Allow this paint to dry for several hours.
- Remove your tape carefully.
5. Prepping and painting the tongue of the shoes
- Tape off the stripes around the top edge of the shoes and along the lacing line and the toe.
- Be sure to leave the paper towel stuffing in the shoes.
- Place a folded paper towel behind the tongue of the shoes.
- Place the Avery stars on the tongue in a random pattern.
- Using a stencil brush, dip the brush in the navy blue paint and dab the excess paint onto a paper towel first.
- Use a dabbing motion, paint the background of the stars to your liking.
- Allow this to dry for several hours.
- Remove the stars using the tip of an Exacto knife or a small pair of scissors.
6. Seal the paint
You want to protect your shoes using a waterproofing spray, Mod Podge, or an acrylic sealer.
- Read the directions on whichever sealer you choose.
- Mask off the rubber sole of the shoes.
- Apply a thin layer of your sealer with a brush or spray. Be sure to cover the entire canvas surface of the shoes.
- Allow this layer to dry overnight.
- Apply a second thin layer of sealer on your shoes and again allow them to dry for several hours or overnight.
Replacing the laces of your shoes
You can choose to use the laces that came with your shoes or use a ribbon like mine.
I used a red velvet ribbon that is 1/4″ wide to add a touch of charm to my sneakers.
You could also use grosgrain ribbon as well for a sporty look.
Some common questions asked about painting canvas shoes
How do you prevent paint from cracking on shoes?
There are two main things to remember if you don’t want your paint to crack.
How do you prevent the paint from bleeding through on canvas shoes?
What are some tips for painting canvas shoes?
- Be sure to use the right kind of paint for canvas shoes.
- To ensure the best results, it’s crucial to let the paint on your shoes dry and cure completely before wearing them. Depending on the paint type, it can take several days to a week. Rushing this step may cause the paint to smudge or peel off.
- Canvas shoes with painted designs should not be machine washed if they become soiled. Instead, spot clean with a damp rag and a mild detergent. To avoid damaging the design, avoid vigorous scrubbing. Air dry the shoes instead of using a dryer.
- It’s important to note that the paint on canvas shoes can fade or chip over time. To keep your kicks looking their best, touch up the paint as needed with the same type of paint and the original colors.
- After the paint has cured, protecting it from dirt, water, and other harmful elements is crucial. Applying a sealant is recommended at this stage to shield the paint. Use clear acrylic spray or fabric sealant, ensuring you are in a well-ventilated area. Read and adhere to the instructions of the product to ensure maximum effectiveness.
- Do not use a hair dryer or a heat gun to try and dry the paint faster.
That about wraps it up for me. I hope you enjoyed my quick tutorial on how to paint canvas shoes. This project only took me about 2 hours, so I hope you give it a try.
Now it’s time to move on to my friend Regina @savedfromsalvage You are going to really love her patriotic planter on her newly painted chair.
Be sure to stop by to visit all of these beautiful Patriotic DIY projects.