this craft thing

This Hand-painted Canvas Shoe: DIY Tutorial

Holy crap, what just happened?!

Summer vacation, that’s what. 

Some of you may know that I work in a school, most likely because I occasionally whine about how hungry I am in class. The best part about working at a school is watching the children learn and grow into young adults, and discover their potentials as they blossom into useful human beings.

Just kidding, it’s the summer holidays. 

Now, I’m not a kid-hater or nothing, but to have summer holidays without having to deal with kids milling about the house for two months? That just knocks my socks right off. 

So what did I do with all my time off? I had plans upon plans of how I was going to work on my blog and do all that other social media stuff. Then, instead, I didn’t. 

Anyways, tldr; I didn’t die and I’m going to write more blog things now. 


Look at this picture!


These are some canvas Converses that I painted, and I’m going to take you step-by-step today. 

Step 1: acquire some canvas shoes some way somehow. I used good talking tactics to convince my husband to buy me some. New, clean ones are best, but you could also use old ones. Just make sure they’re clean and don’t have any gunk on the surface, such as dirt or waterproofing (we want that paint to sink right in and feel at home). 



Step 2: Print or draw a design you like. Using the “lead transfer method” that I was talking about last time, transfer a rough outline of your picture onto the canvas. After, mark the canvas with your pencil to make your design clearer and cleaner. 


Step 3: “Now for the fun part” is a thing many blogs say. Paint your canvas using fabric paint. I used silkscreening paint that I got at an art store. (If you’re in the Vancouver area, I’m talking about that store Opus). This kind of paint is usually used for screen printing projects like this other post I made, but worked great for this project! 

Alternatively, you could also use good, ol’ acrylic paint and add a fabric medium to it to magically transform it into … fabric paint! 

For the pair that I painted, I started by filling in the outline with the base colour, then outlined it in black and added all the details. It might take a few coats of base colour to really cover the canvas colour. 



Step 4: Now it’s 10 hours later and you’re finally done! Let’s preserve your masterpiece. First, heat set your paint with an iron. Put something like a block or a can inside the shoe, cover the design with a thin piece of fabric, and iron over the design. Your paint probably will have instructions on the bottle, but I like to do about 5 minutes on each design, because I just like to overdo things. 

Since you’re following this tutorial, I feel like I’m also obligated to bid you be careful with a hot iron? As if you didn’t know that. 

Next, we’re going to throw all our waterproofing at it. I painted clear nail polish over the design, then sprayed it with shoe waterproofing spray. While you do want a couple layers of clear lacquer over the design, you don’t want to make it so thick that it cracks the paint. It’s a fine balance, folks. 

You could also use diluted fabric glue or one of those fray stopper glues. Just something clear and waterproof. 



Step 5: Okay so the actual fun part now. It’s a little bit hard, but now you have to think of something to say when the compliments just start avalanching in when you’re wearing your new sweet kicks!




Hand Painted Canvas Shoes 



Canvas shoes 


Fabric or screen printing paint (or acrylic paint with fabric medium) 


Clear nail polish, fabric glue, or fray stopper glue 

Shoe waterproofing 



How to: 

  1. Clean surface of shoe. 
  2. Lead-transfer or pencil the design onto the canvas. 
  3. Using fabric paint, fill in the shape with your base colour, then outline the design and add detail. Let dry.
  4. Waterproof the design using clear nail polish, fray-stopping glue, fabric glue, or shoe waterproofing. 



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