Toe cap examples collage

Big initial MHere is one of the easiest ways to give your shoes a designer touch — paint the toe. This season, toe caps, as they are called, are showing up in gold and silver metallic, plain black and black patent, and snakeskin (which you could replicate by sponging). A few twinkly toes are glittered (like the dual-blue example above left) and a few are in solid colors. 

Blue painters tapeWant to to try this? Here's how. If you are using a shoe that has NOT just been freshly painted, go right ahead and apply blue painters masking tape (blue is for delicate surfaces), which you will find at the hardware store. The tape is used to mark the straight line that is the upper edge of the area you want to paint. 

Copper black toe cap in process collage-s

If you have just painted a shoe to use in this project (as I did with the Super Copper kitten heel above), wait three days until the paint has fully cured. Otherwise you risk pulling up some of your paint when you pull off the masking tape.

You can choose to just paint the very tip, or to come as far up the vamp as you want. Whichever you do, use a small ruler or measuring tape to ensure that the point where the tape meets the sole is at the same distance from the tip of the toe on both sides of the shoe. Also use that measurement to ensure that the second shoe in your pair will have an identically sized tip.

Using a pencil or ballpoint pen (that's what I chose), mark the top edge of the tape. If you want the line to curve a little as it approaches the sole (see upper right photo), draw that curve in by hand. 

Now pull off the tape and get out your paints. Why not leave the tape on? Because, in my experience, some paint usually sneaks under the tape and you end up with having to remove this stray paint from the very surface it was formulated to stick to. (Of course, if you painted your shoes to begin with, you can just paint over any unwanted smears.) 

Copper black toe after collage-s

Time to paint! (I don't need to tell you to use leather paint, right?)

Stiffer brushes from packI started with the smaller of the two straight-edge brushes that come in our packet. I positioned the straight edge on the line, then stroked away from it. I got pretty good results — definitely good enough for shoes, which people generally see from a distance of three feet or more!  Next I used the fan brush to paint the rest of the area. 

Copper black toe after

The final touch for this pair of shoes was creating the patent-leather look on the toe and heel (which I also decided to paint black). Destiny and I have been trying to replicate the look of patent leather for years now and she finally figured it out. (It is embarrassingly simple.)

I'm not going to steal her thunder by telling you. Tune in next week when she explains her stroke (pun intended) of genius.

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