Big initial M New SF Home PageBefore we get to questions and answers, I want to tell you that Destiny and I have completely updated the Sassy Feet website — new and bigger before-and-after photos of shoes and bags, plus links to our two YouTube videos, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest photo boards. Whew! Go enjoy this stuff so we’ll know it was worth doing!

Now to the Q&A. We get several emails a week with questions about painting, glittering and embellishing shoes, and we answer each one of them personally. I am going to try posting these more frequently since some of you may have the same questions. Let’s get started.

Ronnie p shoe

QUESTION: I finally had some time to sit down with your paints and give this a shot. Took a pair of old cap-toe shoes that have been collecting dust for a while, and decided to gild them up, a la Martin Margiela (whose biggest size is three sizes too small for my colossal feet). I used three shades of Lumiere.  Your Glitter It Glaze is on the middle section.

They turned out fantastic — hopefully the first of very many. One question — if I wanted to do more of a distressed look, do you think it would work to rub on some Neopaque Black and then quickly rub it off?

I’m indebted to your site for its exceptional clarity and ease of presentation.


Martin margeila paint spattered sneakers - 525 For just $525, you can have these lovelies….

ANSWER: Thanks for your kind words — and your shoes look great!  Yes, you can give them a distressed look by rubbing on Neopaque Black, just remember that distressing doesn’t happen evenly, so rub in on lightly and unevenly. And keep a damp rag nearby to immediately remove any black that goes on too heavy or you otherwise don’t like the look of.

By the way, have you seen Martin Margiela’s new paint splattered sneakers? $525 for something you could SO do yourself! And they would look better, too….

QUESTION: I really, really like your shoes and I thank you for being so generous with your knowledge. My name is Jill and I live in Perth, Western Australia. I am a textile artist who paints, dyes and sews wearable art. I have been looking for Pledge Premium Floor Finisher with Future Shine but it is not available in Australia.

Pledge for wood floorsWe do have Pledge Wood Floor Finish with  Future ® Shine and Pledge Tile & Vinyl Floor Finish with Future® Shine. Are either of these suitable to finishing the painted shoes?

ANSWER: Oh, good question! The marketing meisters at Pledge changed the name — you can use the Wood Floor Finish with  Future ® Shine for sealing your shoes.

QUESTION: Can you use Lumiere paint on fabric such as suede? If so, how would you seal in the paint? Also, can you use Lumiere  on Nike Air Force Ones? Their shoes are made of genuine leather.

Anastasia after at 72 dpi Manmade suede boots painted with Lumiere — if you click to see this image full size, you’ll see the nap is no longer soft


ANSWER: You can use Lumiere on genuine or manmade suede. (Genuine suede is made from leather, manmade suede is actually fabric.) The only downside is, it will no longer retain its soft nap. The paint adheres well, but it makes the suede or manmade suede hard to the touch. If you are working with genuine suede, you could use suede dye instead. We wrote about this in an earlier blog. 

As to the Nike Air Force Ones, they should take the paint well, as long as they are leather, manmade leather or fabric. But  paint won’t stick for long to the plastic Nikes swooshes and soles. (If the Nikes’ soles are rubber instead of plastic, however, read on.)

QUESTION: Hi! I love your book and can’t wait till next weekend when I’ll have time to try my first pair of shoes. Here’s my question. I have a few pairs of sandals that have rubber soles.  Can I use the same paint to decorate the sides of the soles, or do I need to use something else?  Also, is a different kind of prep required for the rubber parts?


Solitude both

Before and after sneakers, painted and glittered, and with the toes and soles tinted with StazOn ink

ANSWER: The Lumiere paints we use and recommend are not made to stick to rubber, though one artist I spoke to says she always uses them for the soles of her sneakers. For me, they’ve always peeled off whenever I applied them to rubber!

What I use for coloring the rubber soles of shoes is alcohol-based stamp-pad ink. To do this, you’ll need:

  • Rubbing alcohol and a couple of cotton balls
  • 1 bottle of re-inker for StazOn or Adirondack stamp pads (not the pads themselves), which come in LOTS of colors
  • Something to squeeze the ink into
  • A little paint brush you can throw away

Before you apply the ink, rub the soles with a cotton ball dampened with rubbing alcohol to be sure they are clean and ready to absorb the ink.

Squeeze some of the ink into a cup and use a cheap brush to brush it onto the soles and toes. One coat should do it. The ink will penetrate the rubber and stain it. Hang onto the little bottle in case you need to do touch ups later.

QUESTION: Do you guys have much experience in painting canvas shoes? That’s what I usually do. I normally use fabric paint (since canvas is fabric, and the paint is washable/waterproof.) But I need an emerald green color for a specific project I’m doing, and I haven’t found any fabric paint that color.
So I used a regular craft acrylic paint and mixed it with robin’s egg blue and white to create the turquoise look I wanted. But I am worried about how the craft acrylic will last — is it going to chip off? So I’m thinking about using a paint sealer. But does that give it a rigid finish, or can the finished product bend and move?
ANSWER:  When you use craft or artists acrylic paint on shoes of any kind, you end up with the problem that this paint isn’t formulated to be flexible. It can crack and peel, especially if applied thickly. You can get around that in the future by adding a little of what’s called fabric medium.As to the fabric shoes you’ve already painted, adding a sealer isn’t the answer. Sealers protect from the outside, where as cracking or peeling is something that happens on the inside — between the canvas and the paint. (FYI, if you use our sealer to seal painted shoes, it will flex and bend. You won’t get a rigid finish.)
So your craft-acrylic-painted shoes may crack and peel, but If it were us, we’d just wear them and enjoy them and see what happens. Good luck! QUESTION: I made several pairs of shoes using comic strip papers and Mod Podge. Problem is, the comics keep cracking and pulling away at stress points on each side. The shoes are of manmade materials and I did not prep them in any way.


ANSWER: Lots of bloggers and even some supposedly reputable magazines say you can use Mod Podge or glue to attach comic strips to shoes, but they simply don’t last! They WILL crack and peel off because paper is neither sturdy nor flexible — it tears when it bends. And Mod Podge is not flexible when it dries, so it will crack. Even if you use a glue that will be flexible when it dries, any paper that’s attached to the surface of your shoes will crack when the shoe bends.

What I do with cool paper designs that I want to put on shoes is I scan them into my computer, then print out the scans on cotton fabric that’s made to go through an inkjet printer. Then I glue down the fabric using a glue like Fabri-Tac (if the shoes are leather or fabric) or The Ultimate (if the shoes are manmade leather). You can buy sheets of inkjet fabric in many craft and fabric stores. I wrote a blog post about this awhile back — check it out!
QUESTION: I have seen lots of blogs that have instructions on how to glitter your own shoes. I know you have the special paint and sealer to do it, but if I just wanted to use glue and loose glitter what glue would work the best? I have tried Mod Podge and it cracks. Some people have used rubber cement, fabric glue, tack glue, gemstone glue. I am using it on pumps that are faux leather. They tend to crack where your toes bend. Also I know you use acetone to clean your shoes before painting them. Will wiping them with acetone also cause the glue to adhere better?
Katrina Glitter it baseANSWER: Yup, all the glues we’ve tried for applying glitter do crack eventually (plus the glitter comes off all over your house, car, etc.), which is why we use a clear glaze made for leather and manmade leather as the base for our glitter. You can buy a bottle of it without the glitter in it, and add your own if you want. It’s $5.99 and if that’s all you buy, it is light enough that we can ship it first-class, which is pretty cheap. One bottle will cover at least two pairs of shoes. By the way, wiping manmade leather (GENTLY) with acetone will make glue adhere better, but it won’t do anything to keep it from cracking where the shoe bends. Nor will a sealer (see Eliana’s question above.)

And that’s it for this week! Go forth, use your new knowledge and PAINT SHOES!!

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