Big initial M Shoe blogs, fashion magazines and online shoe stores are FULL of inspiration and ideas for DIY shoe design. When I see something that interests me, I right-click on the photo and “save image as.” Then I use the picture, which I name with the designer and shoe model, as food for thought in the weeks and months to come. Here are some of the shoes I’ve “saved” and my ideas on how to create them for yourself.

taryn rose bonny @ 72 dpiThis is Taryn Rose’s “Bonny” flat.  Painting just the toe of a shoe, particularly a pump or a flat, has been quite popular in the past year. This design adds something extra with its little gold studs.  To create a shoe like this, either start with a black flat, or paint one with Neopaque Black.

Then mark a straight line across the toe with chalk and paint the toe with Lumiere’s Metallic Gold. Now find something (like plastic canvas for needlepoint, available at craft stores) to help you mark a grid for use as a guide to put the gold dots on the shoe. Afer you’ve marked the places to put dots, paint them using the Metallic Gold paint. When the paint is dry, add a tiny dab of Antique Gold Glitter It! paint to each dot to give it the shine of a gold stud. Last, seal the whole thing with Future.

stuart weizman

I spotted these Stuart Weizman heels in October and knew they would be comparatively easy to copy. The secret to doing color-transitional painting like this is a cosmetic wedge and patience.

You can paint the separate areas first, then pour a little paint on a palette or plastic plate. Dab the rectangular end of the wedge lightly in the paint, then blot some of it off. Now you’re ready to start dabbing lightly to make your transition areas. You usually need to go back and dab the original color and the second color several times to get a decent transition, but the paint will dry quickly and this doesn’t take all that long.

To see a pair of color-transition flats I painted way early on in my shoe-painting career, go to this blog post and scroll down until you see the violet-transitioning-to-orange flats. Nine West TimepieceThese Nine West suede heels are called Timepiece. They feature a black beaded and sequinned applique glued onto the heel so it extends up above the top of the shoe. (I couldn’t find a side view of this shoe in red, so the photo below is of a purple one.) purple Nine West timepiece side viewAll you need to do to create this shoe is to 1) Find the applique (try M&J Trim for starters; 2) Figure out how much you want sticking up above the shoe; 3) Glue a soft backing onto that part of the applique (to protect your heel from the scratchy back to the applique); and 4) Glue the whole thing down. If are gluing directly onto genuine leather or suede, use Fabri-Tac. If you are gluing onto faux leather or suede, use The Ultimate.

louboutin glitter @ 72 dpiThese glittered laceup shoes are by Christian Louboutin — and come with a $595 price tag! You can get the same effect by getting your hands on a pair of laceup shoes, painting them Neopaque Black, glittering them with Starlet Glitter It! paint, then gluing down some black trim to create a trompe l’oeil piped seam.

REPORT Otego bootie from backHere’s my last offering of cool design ideas to copy — booties swathed in chain.

REPORT Otego bootie with chains



There are two tricks to adding chain embellishments to boots. The first is finding the chain in the size and finish you want — the stuff used in these boots has a gunmetal finish.

The second is to create some sort of anchor to hold the chain at the back or on the inner face of the boot. REPORT, the company that made these “Ortego” booties, made a sort of belt loop out of the same fabric as the boots. You can make your own belt loop our of fabric or leather and paint it to match. If you use leather, I recommend stitching it on with a leather needle and FireLine, rather than gluing it.

I hope this post gives you lots of INSPIRATION for the New Year! Do something amazing with shoes and send me the photos!

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