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According to an ancient Greek proverb quoted in the Bible, a leopard cannot change his spots. But you can change them for him!

Animal prints of different species — especially leopard, zebra, and giraffe — were “in” for fall and winter, and they continue to be “in” for spring ’10. If leopard-skin shoes take your fancy, let me show you a couple of ways to make them your own.

In the coral jungle before at 72 dpi The first pair I altered were faux-leather d’Orsay heels. (The term “D’Orsay” refers to a heel where one or both sides of the shoe are cut away.) I wanted to tint the background of the leopard-skin print a slight pink, but not cover up the spots. Now, Lumiere normally provides opaque coverage, so I checked with Jacquard, the folks who make Lumiere to see if there was any way to thin the paint.  They told me I could dilute Lumiere with up to 25% water to create a transparent watercolor-like paint without interfering with the paint’s adhering quality.

In the coral jungle after at 72 dpi

I started with Pearl White, mixed in some Pearlescent Magenta, then added water (I just guesstimated what would constitute 25%). When I applied this thinned-down paint to the shoe, it worked perfectly. The background was tinted slightly pink, but the spots showed through just fine. I used some of the Pearlescent Magenta to paint on faux piping and added an ankle tie just for the heck of it. I named it  “In the Coral Jungle.”

Green with envy edited before at 72 dpi My next experiment with leopard-print shoes started with a pair of Steve Madden sale wedges, which were made from actual fur printed with leopard spots. I knew I couldn’t use paint on the fur or it would gum it all up. So I experimented with some alcohol-based transparent inks that Jacquard makes called Pinata Colors. They are supposed to work on fabric, glass, leather, metal, wood, paper, and plastic, so I figured they might also work on fur. They did!

I daubed Lime Green ink on the leopard part of the wedge with a cotton ball, stroking in the direction the fur was lying. I did a couple of coats, then let it dry. It worked. The leopard skin was tinted green, but the texture of the fur still showed.

Green with envy edited after at 72 dpi

Afterward, I got fancy and painted the wooden wedge Metallic Olive and added a fancy little ankle strap with a tiny jet rhinestone buckle. (I’ll explain how to do that another day. It’s not hard, but it is a little complicated.)

The last example I want to show you was done by Destiny, who decided to revamp some old clogs by painting on her own leopard spots. What’s more, she decided to do it with our glitter paint. Unfortunately, we don’t have a “before” photo of these, so you’ll just have to see the sparkly “after” picture.

Img_0943 at 72 dpi

She started by painting the clogs with Lumiere. She used Pearlescent Violet lightened with Pearl White for the background, then created the spots with Neopaque Black and Pearlescent Blue. When the paint was dry, she added sparkle with Glitter It paints in Dusty Lavender (the background), Dazzling Ebony and Midnight Sky (the blue).

She wore them last year to a craft show where we had a Sassy Feet booth and they were quite a hit. I don’t think any of the visitors to our display had ever seen glittered leopard skin before!

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