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