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DIY: Hand-Painted Summer Sneakers

May 29, 2012


Remember when you were in middle school, bored during biology class, so you started drawing on the sole of your sneaker to pass the time? Here’s a similar way to assert your creative genius as a grown-up while going along with the cool crowd a little at the same time.

printed sneakers by Suno.

Printed sneakers have been trending this season, with colorful looks popping up by everyone from designer labels to household names. And I’ve noticed a spin-off of this trend in the DIY scene, with crafters offering up one-of-a-kind, hand-painted sneakers on Etsy and at craft shows.


Painted Toms by B Street Shoes on Etsy:

Who doesn’t love a little one-of-a-kind in their wardrobe? But with prices for these designs at upwards of $100, it’s always worth trying to create the look yourself for less. My place to start: Goodwill. You can grab a pair of shoes for $3.99 ($2.99 for kids’ sizes), and the only other thing you really need is fabric paint from your local craft store. And since you’ll be painting them, it doesn’t matter if there is a scuff or two or small grass stain on the shoes.

Here’s a cute pair of vintage sneakers I recently picked up at Goodwill that would be perfect for this project.

  • To perfect your look, sketch your design onto your shoes first with pencil, or if you’re going for more of a geometrical design (like the Missoni look below), then you can make a template to guide you.
  • To paint it on, use either fabric paint with a brush or fabric paint pens, or a combo of both.
  • Remember, though, the paint may bleed a little into the fabric, so apply in one area and wait a few minutes before filling in the section right next to it.

Once your design dries, you’ll have your own custom look that will go great with a pair of shorts or a casual skirt for summer. And if you really want to stay on trend, then don’t forget those bright pops of bold color!

Get the Missoni look with Refinery 29’s tutorial:

What about you? Would you wear hand-painted shoes?

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