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Orange crush before and after Big initial MOne of the easiest, most eye-popping painting techniques for shoes is to dab on layers of color using small pointy sea sponges. This will be a how-to blog with some still shots grabbed from the YouTube video that Destiny and I are making about how to do this. First, let me show you some examples of what you can achieve.

If you want to start off slow, get a sea sponge like this:

Sea sponge

…and just sponge on just one color. On the sandals below, I used Lumiere’s Metallic Rust on the black insoles.

Lettersfromhome But you get much more dramatic effects using three or more colors. Here is a shoe sponge-painted with Lumiere’s Metallic Silver, Pearl Blue and Metallic Olive Green:

Sponged clog top-101 @ 72 dpi

The clog below was a very worn brown Dansko, which I sponged in several colors of Lumiere.

Sponged Dansko clog @ 72 dpi

Here’s a closeup so you can see the individual colors, which (I think) were Crimson, Pearl Violet, Pearl Blue, Halo Violet Gold, and Copper.

Sponged Dansko clog closeup @ 72 dpi

The flats below, like the heel pictured at the top of this post, were done in five colors, including Bright Gold, Burnt Orange, Sunset Gold, Brass, and Old Brass. (The inside is painted in Metallic Rust.)

Debra's sponged flats pair top-099 @ 72 dpi

Here’s a closeup to show the patterns.

Debra's sponged flats side closeup @ 72 dpi

Okay, now for the how-to.  You’ll need your paints, a big palette (I use a styrofoam plate), an out-of-date credit card (to use as a paint spreader), and one small torn-off piece of sea sponge for EACH color of paint. Get the kind of sponge with lots of little points — sea wool or sea silk. You’ll also need a piece of paper for testing the sponge pattern before dabbing the shoe. Don’t forget to prep the surface of your shoes (and your insoles, if you are painting them).

The shots below from our upcoming video will illustrate how I painted these mules.In this case, I left the original color (black) show through, unlike in the other sponged shoes pictured above.

Sponged clog top-101 @ 72 dpi Start by pouring a small amount of each color on your palette. You are going to work quickly, so no need to worry about it drying up.

Sea sponging - spreading paint Using your credit card, spread the paint into a thin pool. You don’t want your sponge to soak up a lot of paint. You just want to get the tips wet.

Sea sponging - dabbing off excess paint Dab one of your sponge pieces lightly in your first color (I used the blue first), then tap it on the paper to remove any excess paint. You don’t want really thick splotches. Fainter dabs done repeatedly work better.

Sea sponging - dabbing first coat 2 Start dabbing the color onto your shoe. Don’t try to cover the whole surface, dab somewhat sparsely instead. Remember, there are other colors to come! (By the way, it’s easiest if you use masking tape to tape off the sole so you don’t get sponged color on it. Otherwise, you could touch up the sole later if it’s black and you have black paint.)

Sea sponging - dabbing second coat Here’s what the shoe looked like with the second coat (Metallic Green) applied.

Sea sponging - final touch up Here I am adding the Metallic Silver. After that was done, the Pearl Blue I’d started with didn’t show very well anymore, so I went back and did a final light dabbing with the blue. The last step? Go wash your sponges so you can use them again!

Sponged clog top-102 @ 72 dpi Here’s another shot of the final result (taken at a weird angle,but it does show off the paint job well).

I hope you’ll give sea sponging a try. I have seen women in our classes who’ve never painted shoes before get beautiful results. We’ll post the link to the video here as soon as it’s up on YouTube!

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