How To Paint Leather Shoes
Have you ever painted leather shoes before? Or painted any kind of leather? I had no idea how to paint leather and never even thought of it!
It’s the best option to give an pair of old shoes a new look and get rid of any signs of wear or make your own custom shoes.
A couple of weeks ago my daughter came and took a pair of my Mom’s shoes to “paint” them. I was pretty skeptical of the entire idea, but, she did a great job! She decided to take pics and write it up for me to share, so, here you go:
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The best part of painting your own shoes is all the different colors you have to choose from. You can choose whatever color palette you want. Or even make a custom color.
Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of time to do. It’s also a great way to make custom sneakers and more there are so many different brands of paint to choose from.
Another great thing about painting shoes is all the detailed work and intricate designs you can add in, such as spider webs, galaxy shoes, or a camouflage print.
You don’t even need a steady hand as long as you have a stencil. For the best results use white paint and paint a white background or light base color on your regular shoes before you start.
How To Paint Leather Shoes, Purse, etc.
What you need
- Acetone and/or Rubbing Alcohol and/or fine grit sand paper
- Cotton Balls
- Acrylic Paint in the Color of Your Choice (for the ones we did we used black paint)
- Soft Paint Brush
- A Glass Cup or Bowl and Water
- Blow dryer or fan (optional)
The key to painting leather or faux leather is in the prepping of the piece. It needs to be cleaned and thoroughly prepped.
A good idea is to use acetone and/or Rubbing Alcohol to clean it well and help take the finish off to allow the paint to soak into the leather and become permanent. If you find the acetone/alcohol is not removing the finish well enough you can also use a fine grit sand paper.
To begin, you want to clean the piece using cotton balls and Acetone or Alcohol, scrub the piece down as well as you can. You want the leather dull not slick and shiny.
If it’s real leather the Acetone and fine grit sand paper is your best bet, just clean the piece well with the Acetone then sand with the sandpaper just enough to rough it up a bit.
If it’s a faux leather usually just acetone and/or alcohol will work just fine.
The second thing or the next step you want to take is to tape off any portion of the shoe you don’t want to paint. Now we can get started with the painting.
You want to mix equal parts acrylic paint and water to paint with. I start with 1 tablespoon of each and believe it or not that’s usually enough to paint a pair of shoes, it doesn’t take that much.
Once that’s mixed in your glass cup or bowl, just start painting. Make sure you get the whole surface of the shoe. Also you want the piece to dry completely between each coat of paint.
I used a blow dryer for this on the coolest setting and it takes maybe 1 minute to dry between coats.
The first coat will not be pleasing to the eye but keep adding coats until you’re happy with the color. It took 4 coats for me to paint the white shoes black and a total of 30 minutes to do the pair of shoes. (Just under 1 hr total with prep.)
You can also follow these steps to freshen up the heels on your shoes that may have become scratched or scuffed. I have also used this process to touch up leather furniture too.
There is no need to seal the paint because once acrylic paint dries, it becomes permanent. However if you prefer a more shiny look you can also purchase a glossy acrylic paint and apply it after the pieces are dry using 1 tablespoon of the glossy coat to 1 teaspoon of water.
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I purchased all the items needed (except acetone) from JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Stores, they are my go to craft/project destination.
They are always so helpful and courteous and the best part is they have a great app you can download that always has a 40 percent off coupon. Just show your phone and you’re good to go or you can go online and print them out. The coupons on the app can be used multiple times.
At JoAnn I checked out 2 separate times and received 40 percent off each item. The paint is $1.99 – $3.99 depending on the brand, the one I purchased was $1.99.
Paint brushes start at $1.99, the brush I purchased was $2.99. I didn’t use sandpaper this time because it was a faux leather and wasn’t needed however sandpaper can also be purchased from JoAnn.
So after the supplies the total cost was about $5.00! You can’t beat that for basically a new pair of shoes!
Supplies You May Need
- Spray paint
- Masking tape
- Paint pens
- Paper towels
- Plastic bags
- Sponge brush
- Nail polish remover
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Painter’s tape
- Waterproofing spray
- Heat gun
- Aerosol sprays
- Scotch guard
- Paint markers
- Medium brush
- Acrylic finisher
- Small stencils
Types Of Paint You Can Use
- Fabric paint
- Angelus leather paints
- Acrylic craft paint
- Acrylic leather paint
- Regular acrylic paint
- Angelus paints
Next time you see a fun pair of shoes at a garage sale but hate the color, remember to come back here and follow these directions to make them new again!
Do you have any tips for upcycling other wardrobe items? Leave them in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!