DIY Painted and Embellished Shoes
Here are some of the literally hundreds of DIY shoes and bags we’ve created. For information on how to prep, paint, glitter and seal your shoes and bags, and stitch or glue on embellishments, go to our How-To page.
Watch our demo for how-to tips and tricks!
Here’s an example of a simple DIY shoe. It’s painted with one color, straight out of the bottle, and embellished with little ribbon pinwheels and beads. Whenever we set out to create a DIY shoe design, we use one of two approaches. Either we start with a color of paint we LOVE, or we start with an embellishment we LOVE. When we found these gorgeous little green fans of metallic ribbon, we bought six of them.
That was the start of this design. We chose Lumiere’s Sunset Gold to paint the shoes. We arranged the fans, gluing them to each other with Fabri-Tac. We attached them off-center for extra interest, using big, faceted glass beads, a leather needle and Fireline, a heavy-duty beading thread to anchor them permanently to the shoe.
This bootie is painted using a simple DIY shoe technique called color blocking, which simply means painting different clearly marked-off sections of a shoe or bag in different colors. Here we painted over two of the once-black sections with gleaming Metallic Russet and a more muted shade of Crimson tinted with a drop or two of Neopaque Black. A double strand of copper chain hangs freely from one side, stitched on with a leather needle and Fireline using tiny self-made leather tabs. It curves below a little copper butterfly in flight, glued with E6000 onto a part of the shoe that won’t flex or bend a lot (thus making it pop off!). We replaced the original laces with an ombre ribbon shot through with copper thread.
One of our very favorite techniques — which is also a big hit in the classes we teach – is sea sponging. It involves using a pointy-tipped sea sponge to dab on layers of different colors. You can choose highly contrasting colors, like Pearl Violet, Metallic Russet, and Metallic Olive Green, or you can create a subtler effect, as we did with the Orange Crush heels, above. Margot gave this shoe successive dabbings of Bright Gold, Burnt Orange, Sunset Gold, Brass, and Old Brass. (The insole is painted in Metallic Rust., and NO, it won’t come off on your feet!)The reason sea sponging is so popular among beginners is that you get GREAT results right off the bat — no experience needed!
For those of you, like Destiny, who can actually paint things that look like things, here’s a cork wedge sandal with a color-blocked upper and a hand-painted wedge. (Yes, the paints we use WILL work on cork. And on wood, straw, fabric, and manmade leather.) The top is painted with Pearlescent Blue straps, Citrine heel, and Grape insole. The wedge itself has Pearlescent Magenta flowers, leaves and vines in Pearlescent Emerald, Sunset Gold and Citrine, Pearlescent Blue teardrops, and Grape dots as accents. All of these were enclosed with a bold Neopaque Black outline and set against a Pearlescent Turquoise background.
Post-Apocalyptic Airship Captain
We admit this boot is not for beginners, but we wanted to include some more advanced DIY shoes to show you how far you can go when you get experienced at painting and embellishing shoes. Destiny made this for a professional and amateur costumers conference by lightly rubbing on Metallic Rust with a rag and using Neopaque Black paints, with all the steampunk embellishments glued on using E6000.
For the detailed story, read her blog post about how she made them.
Gladiator Sandals: Two Versions of the Same Shoe
One of the advantages our Sassy Feet designs is that they come from two very different people with two very different aesthetics. One is in her 60’s, the other is in her 30s’. One day we decided to have fun with this duality and bought a pair of platinum-colored gladiator sandals. The idea was that each of us would do our own design on them.
Margot called hers Shades of Turquoise. It is done in a version of color blocking using Pearlescent Turquoise progressively tinted with Pearl White and progressively shaded with Neopaque Black. The strap that’s 100% Pearlescent Turquoise is the middle one. She described the process in this blog post.
Destiny took a more dramatic route, painting her Gilded Greek Goddess sandal with Neopaque Black, She also painted the insole Super Copper and the vertical piece at the back of the heel (which you can’t see in this photo) with Metallic Bronze, one of our favorite colors. She chose a Greek-style gold trim, glued it down with The Ultimate and stitched on an embellishment of three spirals topped by a single freshwater pearl. Check out her blog post about this shoe.
Kitten Heels: Two Versions of the Same Shoe
Here’s another project where we painted and embellished the same shoe two different ways. Brocade Dreams is painted Metallic Olive Green, then piped with floral upholstery piping, which we glued down with The Ultimate. A band of the same piping is glued across the toe, making it look as if the shoe were constructed in two pieces. Satin cord covers the pink edge of the piping on the outside. A brass stamping is stitched onto the side using Fireline. These shoes were featured in Central Coast Magazine.
Blue Haiku (far right) is painted a rich Pearlescent Blue and piped with satin bias tape printed with an Asian motif. The edge of the piping is highlighted by a line of black Ultrasuede trim and little Asian charms.
Animal prints never go out of style, but they’re always so realistic. We wanted to do something more interesting! We started by painting the whole shoe with Metallic Rust. Then we painted zebra stripes (except in the heel area) in Neopaque Black. Of course, we didn’t get them right the first, or even the second time. But you can always paint over your mistakes.
Taste of the Tropics
In case you haven’t noticed yet, you can — and should – paint the insoles of your shoes. You can even paint designs on them. The Lumiere paint won’t come off on your feet, even if the shoes get wet or your feet sweat (sorry for mentioning that). There’s a story behind how these sandals came to be, and we wrote about it on our blog. The paints used were Metallic Copper, Metallic Olive Green, and Metallic Rust. The embellishment is one we made ourselves by stacking a large resin donut, a smaller metal donut and a decorative metal buttons (another fun craft to try!).