Summers are crazy for everyone, Sassy Feet! included. Margot has been up to her ears in things to do, so I am stepping in and posting some of the questions people have emailed her, along with her answers. (If any of you have figured out how to clone yourselves, let us know! Margot and I could both benefit from the ability to be in two — or three — places at once!)
Question from T.: I want to paint some purses — they are not leather, but the regular Nine West purses of artificial material. What paint do I use? Regular acrylics? How long-lasting would the paint be? And do I coat it with something at the end?
Margot says: You can use the same paints and supplies on purses that we use on shoes. And yes, you can paint purses made of artificial material, like manmade leather (just not plastic). Here is an example of a purse like this that I painted.
If you go to http://www.sassyfeet.com/howto.htm on our website, you will learn about the brand of special acrylic paints we recommend — Lumiere — and how to seal the paint using Pledge Premium Floor Finisher with Future Shine. We sell the paint and small bottles of the sealer in our online store, and only charge the actual cost of the postage, no handling fee.
Your paint job on your purse will last for a long time! The paint doesn’t chip or run or peel, as long as you prepare the surface properly before paintings (see the how-to page or read on). Also, there are lots of examples of painted purses on this blog. Use the Search box at the top left to find posts that we have written about purses.
The sneakers I want to paint are black with dark purple highlights. I can do the upper, but don’t know how to turn all that “real estate” black. Any ideas? Or is this a no-go?
Margot says: The challenge is that acrylic paint won’t stick to rubbery plastic, like the kind used for the soles and lower sides of running shoes. It will just peel off when the shoe bends and flexes.
When the soles are white or a light color, however, you can try two things, but neither would be the perfect solution. The first is paint pens, which some folks swear by. The second is Sharpie pens, which I think will work better in terms of not peeling off, but you’ll have to touch up the color over time.
In my classes, I usually recommend that people work the color of soles like this into their shoe design instead of trying to change it. As the old proverb says, “Face the direction the horse is going!”
Question from L.: My daughter is dying for glittery orange sneakers, so I ordered Sizzling Orange Glitter It [example of this color glitter at left], and Super Copper Lumiere paint, along with the Pledge sealer. I ordered the copper paint because the directions on the website say I need to paint the shoes orange before putting on the orange Glitter It. Is that right?
If so, do I put on the sealer in between the paint and the Glitter It? And how would you suggest covering the grommets (I’m doing a pair of canvas sneakers) to keep them paint free? Are there any other tips you’d offer before I begin?
Margot says: Yes, you do need to paint the shoe first because Glitter It is really like a glaze, so the color of the shoe beneath the glitter shows through.
As to the grommets, go ahead and paint both the sneaker fabric AND grommets. One coat will probably do it, but if not, wait til they’re dry and paint on another. This is much easier than trying NOT to paint the grommets. Lumiere paint is not supposed to be able to stick to metal, but in my experience it does pretty well — and you can always touch them up later if the paint starts to wear off.
Then mix up the glitter with the white-looking glitter base. There are instructions printed on the packet and bottle. STIR WELL BEFORE AND DURING USE. Pat on the mixture with a small, soft FAN BRUSH (pictured). Don’t try to brush it on or you’ll end up just pushing the glitter paint around. Let dry completely (could take about 45 min.), then pat on a second coat to even out where the glitter is. I wouldn’t bother trying to glitter the grommets. They’ll look fine just painted. After the shoes dry, it will be another couple of days until they “cure” and your daughter can wear them.
You won’t need to use the sealer at all. The glitter paint doesn’t need sealing — and it serves as a sealer for the Super Copper. Tightly cap both the paint and glitter paint in case you ever need to do touch ups — or make another pair for when your daughter grows out of these.
Question from A.N.: I love your website and your shoes! I have had a crazy idea for the holiday season and I am planning on painting a bunch of Ugg knockoff boots for the kids in my family (all 14 of them). I just can’t spend the money that it would cost to buy them custom Uggs, so I decided to improvise!
I read that you suggest Lumiere paints for painting on leather shoes. Does this brand work for the scuffed leather that the Ugg knockoffs are made out of? Have you tried this before? I would really appreciate any help that you can impart!
Margot says: Yes, the Lumiere paint will adhere to Uggs knockoffs, but it will smooth out the surface so they are not suede-like anymore. They’ll have a smoother finish, which a lot of people like. Also, you won’t have to take the time to prep the surface or apply sealer, since that “scuffed leather” of Uggs knockoffs is really a type of fabric.
Question from S.M.: Love your book “Sassy Feet”! I am going to paint a white leather purse Metallic Rust Lumiere paint, and I wondered if the white plastic zipper could be painted as well?
Margot says: Surprisingly enough, I have had a very good results painting plastic zippers with Lumiere paint. Keep the zipper closed and paint it lightly. (You can paint the fabric part of the zipper with a heavier hand.) Then if you need it darker, give it a second coat. When the paint is dry, open and close the zipper a couple times to loosen it up again. That’s it!
Question from K.C.: My mom and I painted our shoes and had a great time, but the paint cracked and is popping off at the stress creases of the shoes. We did not apply the paint too thick; we did two thin coats to cover the original color. What do you suggest we do?
Margot says: Did you prep the surface of the shoes first? (Wipe them with a cotton ball dampened with rubbing alcohol if the shoes are leather; use plain acetone instead of alcohol if the shoes are manmade materials.)
[K.C. wrote back to say they hadn’t prepped the surface, so I wrote her back this response.]
Mystery solved! What you can do now is to gently sand down the areas where the paint cracked and then prep the surface of the shoe. Let it dry THOROUGHLY. Then apply a new coat or two of the Lumiere paint.
Question from J.: Gosh, it’s so hard to believe by prepping with alcohol it will not peel. Do you have to scrub or just lightly rub on? What if they get wet by chance? Have you had trouble with that?
Margot says: To prep genuine leather shoes with alcohol, slightly dampen a cotton ball and rub it — don’t scrub it — over the surface of the shoe. Wait until the surface is dry before painting. This really will enable the paint to stick.
Once your shoes are painted, the paint will stay on even if you walk in the rain. Of course, they can get scuffed, like any shoe, but then you just prep the scuffed area and do a little touch-up painting.
If the shoe isn’t prepped, the paint is not actually being applied to the leather — it’s being applied to the dirt or oil on the surface of the shoe, or to whatever finish the manufacturer used on it. Once you remove that stuff, the paint will stick just fine. Also, the paint will dry quickly, but it will continue to “cure” for 3-4 days, at which point it’s permanent.
Question from B.S.: I am finding that some of my painted shoes crack at the ball area. Is this normal? I do have rather long, chimp like toes. When the shoes crack, any surface decoration, paper or fabric, seems to fissure as well. On my first few pairs, I used Mod Podge as a sealer. Is it the Mod Podge or my monkey toes?
Margot says: That’s the Mod Podge creating the cracks (assuming you are using Lumiere paint and not plain craft acrylics). It isn’t flexible when it dries. If you prep the surface of your shoes properly (see explanation above), use the right paint (one formulated for use on leather or manmade leather) and the right sealer, you shouldn’t get cracks.
One exception: No matter what you use to apply paper to the surface of your shoes, the paper will tear when the shoe bends. What I do when I find a design on paper that I want to put on shoes is I scan the paper into my computer, then print out the scans on cotton that’s made to go through an inkjet printer. Then I glue down the fabric (I use Fabri-Tac if gluing directly onto leather or The Ultimate if gluing onto painted or manmade leather).
If you are creating a DIY shoe and/or purse and run into a snag, EMAIL US! We will answer! We love fielding questions, and you’ll become a living part of Sassy Feet’s blossoming development!