Tuesday, 29 July 2014

You can do it: Recolour your shoes!

I'm sure we've all been there: wanting that perfect pair of shoes in a real oddball colour to really set that dream outfit off. I'd been looking for the perfect pair of green '60s style shoes for so long but it seemed impossible: either they were the wrong size, too expensive, not the right style, or there was just something off. I eventually decided enough was enough and got creative!

Initially I had planned to paint a pair of real vintage shoes but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, I have real trouble altering vintage as I get overly sentimental about it. In the end I managed to find these beautiful mod style shoes from Office second hand on eBay and snapped them straight up! The style of them is everything I wanted, but not that colour! I'm not particularly fond of suede shoes either, it's far too impractical for wet Britain so I didn't feel too bad about smothering them in paint. Please do be aware that if you paint over suede you will lose the soft texture. If you want to keep it I recommend dying them instead, a process I've never tried myself but is much less accurate due to fewer dyes available and you have to take the base colour of the shoe into account.


I read up a little about painting shoes and Angelus seemed to be the recommended brand, making acrylic based paints specially for leather (or pleather!). It's not supposed to crack or peel and is waterproof, and they also sold the exact shade of green I'd been after. Huzzah!

To begin with I rubbed the suede all over with acetone (not nail varnish remover! It is different!). This doesn't do anything to the colour of the shoes, just breaks down the protective layer that the manufacturer will have put on the shoe to protect the material. Doing this will basically make your paint stick to the shoe better and is recommended whatever fabric your shoes are. Then you want to take some masking tape and cover all of the bits you don't want to get paint on, such as the sole (and in my case the buckle). It's much easier to do this than it is to try and scrape paint off later.


Next: paint! It's better to apply in thinner coats than glob it on, it'll give a much nicer finish. I used the flat fairly small paintbrush you see above. You do want to invest in a fairly good soft bristled brush, preferably artist grade so don't go to the hardware store! Brush strokes will never be fashionable. Also make sure your brush won't shed and leave hairs in your paint job. It doesn't have to be expensive, mine is a paint brush I use for my artwork and cost about £2.50-ish. Make sure it's small enough to get in all those nooks and crannies.



If you have to apply more than one coat, let the paint dry fully in between. I did three coats, and by the time I'd finish applying paint to the second shoe the first one was dry so it won't take long. After you're done painting, you're recommended to leave them for 24 hours to ensure they're fully dry. You can buy a finisher for the paint (even a glossy one to make them patent if you wish), but I didn't bother and just rubbed them all over with this shoe cream I already had. I'd say this stage is optional though, they're good to go with just the paint.


Then you're done, and you have a totally fab pair of one off shoes! If you're feeling really groovy you could add a contrasting pattern.


Let me know if you give it a go, I'd love to see what you come up with!

6 comments

  1. it had never crossed my mind to recolour my shoes before! Interesting tutorial. The outcome looks great.

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  2. They turned out awesome! I especially love them paired with the red tights! I painted a pair of shoes once, I really wanted to wear mint green shoes for my wedding and searched for months and found nothing I liked. Finally I found the perfect style of shoe in white and decided just to go for it and paint them the color I wanted. I couldn't believe it worked, I felt like I uncovered a secret, haha.

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  3. This is an amazing tutorial - I love dying clothes all the time, but I didn't know this was possible. Your green shoes look great! :-)

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  4. Omg! I didn't even know if you could still do this! I see all the adds from the 60s all the time, but I didn't think manufacturers still made it. It's really hard to find size 42 60s shoes, but when I do their always black or brown. I wonder if I could recolour them to something like pink!
    I love the shoes you uses too - in both colours!

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  5. These are brilliant, they were such a great shape anyway but the green made them even better! Really happy to find your blog, its great! XX

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  6. Wow, that looks so great! I will have to save this tutorial in case I ever have a pair of shoes that need a facelift :)

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