Handpainting Shoes for Beginners
I signed up for a Disney craft swap through a Facebook group at the beginning of the summer and the deadline was end of July. I just got it sent out at the beginning of the week. This was my first swap for this particular group but I was excited because it seemed like the level of crafters was a bit more elevated than other groups I’d participated in. Two months was plenty of time to come up with something awesome for my swap partner.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve participated in a swap so I was excited to get back into the groove. It takes a couple weeks for me to come up with ideas for my projects- reading my partner’s info, browsing Pinterest for inspiration, doodling it out, gathering supplies and figuring out how to execute it all. For this particular swap, I decided one of the gifts would be a pair of hand-painted shoes featuring my partner's favorite Disney character, Fozzie Bear. This was one of those projects where I just jumped right in. The shoes were only $5 so there wasn’t a lot of money invested if it didn’t work out. Here’s a few things that I learned along the way-
You don’t have to be an artist! I measured the shoe too see how much space I had available and then took those measurements into Photoshop and started designing the layout. I printed the design, cut it out and to my surprise, it was the perfect size right off the bat.
Stuff the shoe. Possibly an obvious step here, but make sure to stuff the shoe with paper so that you’ve got a nice, firm surface to work with.
Transfer the design. So the next challenge was getting the design from the paper to the shoe. My first attempt was to use carbon paper to apply it. That was a fail. The carbon paper left a residue on the shoe canvas in places I didn’t want it. I had to paint over it with white acrylic paint which took several coats to get coverage, and still it wasn't the best. So after fixing that mistake, I decided to just fussy cut the design from the paper to make a stencil. Then I traced the outline onto the shoe (see picture below). For the details on the inside of the bear, I hand drew most of those. I couldn’t get his eyes and nose to look right so I cut those details out of paper and traced around it onto the shoe as well.
Prep your surface. In the limited information I read online about how to paint shoes, one source said to paint the whole shoe with acrylic paint. I didn’t see the point in doing that. After all, the shoe was white, I wanted it white- why paint it? But it makes a big difference. After prepping the canvas with paint, it made the shoe stiffer and allowed me to erase pencil marks easier .
I finished up the painting and then outlined with a Sharpie. I could also tell a difference when using the Sharpie on the unpainted canvas vs the painted. The Sharpie bled a little bit on the untreated canvas. I should’ve expected this, but again this was my first attempt so there’s a learning curve. Overall it was a fun project! It turned out pretty cute and I think she’ll enjoy them. They are 100% original, and that was very important to me. Good luck with your shoes and I hope you picked up a couple tips that will make your project go smoother!