Painting Shoes

Let’s take a break from our regularly scheduled cosplay update, and talk about my newest project.  It all started when I noticed holes in my Zelda Vans.


It was high time to get some new slip-on Vans, amirite?  I went shopping, hit 7 different stores, and I couldn’t find anything I liked.  Star Wars Vans?  Gone.  Nintento Vans?  Gone.  I ended up with some okay but boring suede Vans that were on sale, but as I drove home, I decided I never wanted to be in a geek-less Vans world again.  I decided then and there to become a Vans painter.

I did a lot of research, and decided to start out with the cheapest method I could find, basically, gesso, acrylic paint, and seal.  If that didn’t work, I’d move on to special shoe acrylics.  I decided the best way to experiment was to find some shoes for one of my kids, and make them wear them for a month to see how the paint wore.  I also didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on experiment shoes, so we went to the discount store.  They didn’t have a clearance slip on Vans in anyone’s size, but I found a pair of cheap Toms, not as cool, but fine for an experimental purpose, in Jubilee’s size.

She requested Wind Waker shoes.

First step: tape off and gesso.  I just did a thin layer of gesso, I figured the less paint, the less cracking.  Maybe.  We’ll see.

Second Step: sketch my design.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of this step, so we’ll include step three: block in the big chunks of color, starting with the background.


And then fill it in:


And then outline:


I sealed the left one with Scotch Guard, and the right one with Polyurethane.  We’ll see which one works best, over the course of the next month.

A few things I’ve learned so far:

  1. The shoes I picked out have a bit too much texture in the canvas for this purpose.  That’s why the lines are fuzzy.  Vans are going to be much better.
  2. I need softer painting tape.  The tape I had was too stiff to properly protect the soles.
  3. I need a different yellow acrylic.  No matter how many coats I put on, I couldn’t cover up the green, it was too transparent.

Jubilee loves them.  Really, for my very first attempt, I’m pretty pleased, too.  I hope they hold up pretty well and I can start cranking them out.  If not, then it’s back to the drawing board.




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