I love anything leopard print, but especially shoes! Leopard print seems to go with everything, so it’s no surprise that bold graphic leopard print designs are the hottest new fashion trend.
I’ve been pattern clashing with leopard print for years, and I don’t intend to stop once the ‘trend’ wanes because I like it!
I like bright shoes, they always add personality to an outfit. I’ve been looking for a cute pair of colorful leopard print shoes for ages, but without luck. So when mum was clearing out her wardrobe and unearthed a pair of rust stained linen lace-up shoes, I had an idea.
Mum is a bit of a hoarder, and it turns out she has been holding onto this pair of unworn shoes (which just happened to fit me) since 1991. They’d been stored for so long that the fabric developed some unsightly staining. It was a shame because the shoes were in perfect condition otherwise.
I’d been wanting to experiment with some chalk paint that was sent to me a while ago by Annie Sloan, so I thought this would be a great project to try it out on. Since the shoes were headed for the bin anyway, it wasn’t a big drama if my shoe painting experiment failed.
I also used some Pintor Paint Markers that work great on nearly every surface and were sent to me by Pilot last year for another campaign.
What I’m trying to say is that because I used materials from my existing craft supply stash, these new pair of shoes cost me the princely sum of zero dollars!
I am truly gobsmacked at how fantastic this shoe makeover turned out. I had high hopes for this little shoe refashion project, but I truly didn’t imagine that it would turn out so great! I’m chuffed.
If you can’t get Annie Sloan chalk paint where you live, I’m sure other brands of chalk paint would work just as well.
I chose Barcelona Orange as the shoe base colour because it was closest to the colour of the stains on the shoe, so I thought it would hide them well.
It will be interesting to see how well the shoes wear over time, I’ve added a wax coating to protect the design somewhat, but honestly I think they will wear better than the original light coloured linen ever would have. Will report back with an update down the track.
DIY Leopard Print Shoe Makeover
You will need:
- Pair of canvas or fabric lace-up shoes
- Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – Barcelona Orange
- Paint Pens – Black, White, Gold
- Annie Sloan Clear Wax or Natural Shoe Polish
- Small soft paint brush or sponge brush
- Bristle brush (for applying wax)
- Masking tape
- Cloth or rag
- Empty jar
How to Makeover a Pair of Shoes with Chalk Paint
I was lucky enough to meet Annie Sloan in person earlier this year and we got chatting about how her chalk paint can also be used to paint fabric. The trick to getting good results on fabric is to dilute the paint so it’s very runny, this helps the pigment soak into the fabric rather than sitting on top like a thick coating.
Depending on the material of your shoes, you may need to experiment with different paint consistencies to achieve the best results.
Preparing Chalk Paint for use on fabric
1. Stir paint well before use to ensure it’s properly mixed.
2. Pour a small amount of paint into a jar and add equal parts water, stir well. The desired consistency in this use is runny but still opaque. The paint should soak into the fabric like a wash or stain, not coat it. If the paint is too thick you may get cracking on the fabric creases once the paint dries.
Preparing shoes for painting
3. Ensure shoes are clean, dry and free from dust. Remove laces and tape off any areas that you don’t want painted.
Leopard print shoe makeover
4. Dab on paint, starting in an inconspicuous area to test paint consistency. Use a dabbing motion applying a thin coat all over.
5. A thin coating helps ensure you can still see the texture of the fabric. Wipe off any excess paint.
6. Repeat with second shoe and allow to dry thoroughly. Annie Sloan recommends heat sealing painted fabric by ironing or putting your project in the sun. In this case I suppose you could blast your shoes with a hair dryer on a hot setting to heat seal.
7. Now comes the fun part! Google ‘leopard print design’ and search for a print that takes your fancy. You can use this as inspiration to guide you own design. I chose to use black and white with gold highlight for my colour palette. Practice on a scrap piece of paper first to work out your design.
8. Start with the white paint marker and place random white splotches over your shoes. Don’t make the shapes too even. Try to work on both shoes at the same time to keep the design consistent. Allow the paint pen ink to dry before moving onto the next colour to prevent bleeding or smudging.
9. Add the black details over the white markings. Keep referring back to your reference image to keep your design on track. I worked on the heels of both my shoes first before moving to the front.
10. Once you’ve finished with the black and white spots, add gold highlights (if desired). Don’t go overboard with the gold, just a few accents here and there is sufficient.
11. Allow paint pen ink to fully dry. You could probably give it a blast with a hairdryer if you want to really be sure.
12. Seal your shoes with clear wax (or neutral shoe polish), by dabbing the wax on with a stiff bristle brush. The dabbing motion makes sure the wax gets into the texture of the fabric. Once the wax is fully dry in a couple of days you can give the shoes a buff if you want a shinier finish.
13. Once your wax is set and no longer sticky, re-lace your shoes and you are ready to go!
How great do my new ‘old’ shoes look! I’ll remind you what they looked like before the shoe makeover, it’s quite the transformation. Hard to believe they are the same pair of shoes.
I’m so pleased at how this project turned out, I think these are now my favourite shoes ever! It’s really amazing what a little bit of imagination, a splash of paint and some markers can do.
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