A Beginner's Guide To Painting Canvas Shoes

A Beginner's Guide To Painting Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are a great way to express your personality and style. However, sometimes plain canvas shoes can feel dull. If you want a fun DIY project, consider painting your canvas shoes!

It's a simple and inexpensive way to customize your shoes and make them truly unique. In this blog post, we'll go through the step-by-step process of painting canvas shoes, including the necessary tools.

Things You'll Need

How to Paint Canvas Shoes

Now that you have the necessary tools at hand, you can start the process. If you are still trying to figure out where and how to start, don't get hard on yourself; we will walk you through every step. So, without further ado, let's get started!

Step 1: Prepare your shoes

Prepare your shoes

Before you start painting, you'll want to prepare your shoes by cleaning them thoroughly. This is important, especially if your shoes are full of dust, as it will affect the adherence of the paint.

To clean your shoes:

  • Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust from the surface of the shoes.
  • After cleaning, do not apply or spray paint immediately, as a damp cloth may have left wet portions in your shoes.
  • Let them dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Plan your design

Plan your design

If your shoes are ready for painting, you may proceed to plan your design. Planning will avoid mistakes during the process as well as messy working space. You can use a pencil to sketch out your design on the shoes or use painter's tape to create crisp lines and shapes.

Think about the colors you want and how they'll look together. You can also look for inspiration online or from other sources, such as art books or magazines.

Step 3: Mix your paint

Mix your paint

The next step is mixing your paint. Although some paints do not need to mix, you may encounter some that need to. This step will depend on your paint choice. 

If you're using acrylic paint, mix it with a fabric medium to make it more flexible and durable.

The fabric medium will also help the paint adhere better to the canvas. Before mixing the paint with the medium, read the instructions, as it will affect the whole painting process and, of course, the results. 

Step 4: Start Painting

Start Painting

Now it's time to start painting! Don't forget to lay a piece of cloth on your working surface so the painting process won't get too messy. Gather your supplies and place them somewhere you can reach easily.

Use your paintbrushes to apply the paint to your shoes carefully. Be sure to paint in very thin layers, and allow each layer to dry before adding another. This will help prevent the paint from cracking or peeling over time. If you're using painter's tape, remove it carefully after the paint has dried.

Step 5: Add details

Add details

Once you've applied the base color(s), you can add details and accents to your shoes. This is where you can get creative and make your shoes stand out! Use different paintbrushes to create different textures and effects, such as stippling or blending.

Also, consider proper color blending, as it will affect the overall finish output. You can use stencils or stamps to add patterns or shapes to your shoes.

Step 6: Let it dry

Let it dry

After you've finished painting the shoes, let them dry completely. This can take several hours, depending on the thickness of the paint and the humidity. Be patient and don't rush the drying process, as this can cause the paint to smudge or smear.

Step 7: Seal the paint

Seal the paint

If you want your painted shoes to last longer and be more wear and tear resistant, you can have acrylic sealer spray on them with a spray sealant. This will help protect the paint from fading or chipping over time. Be sure to choose a sealant appropriate for fabric or canvas materials.

And there you have it! A step-by-step guide to painting canvas shoes. You can transform your plain canvas shoes into a unique and stylish accessory with some creativity and patience. 

If you want to see how to paint canvas shoes, check out this video:

Preserving Your Painted Shoes

Factors to Consider

Painting canvas shoes can be a fun and creative way to express yourself and add personality to your footwear. However, after putting all that time and effort into creating a unique design, you want to ensure your paint shoes last as long as possible.

Here are some tips on how to preserve your painted canvas shoes:

  • Allow the paint to cure fully: Let the paint on your shoes dry and cure completely before wearing them. Depending on the paint type, this can take several days or even up to a week. Rushing this step can cause the paint to smudge or peel off.
  • Apply a sealant: Once the paint has cured, apply a sealant to protect the paint from water, dirt, and other elements. You can use a clear acrylic spray or a fabric sealant. Make sure to apply the sealant in a well-ventilated area and follow the instructions on the product.
  • Avoid excessive bending: Canvas shoes can become distorted or creased if they are bent excessively, which can cause the paint to crack or peel. Avoid folding or bending your shoes, and store them in a way that preserves their shape.
  • Hand washes gently: If your painted canvas shoes get dirty, avoid throwing them in the washing machine. Instead, handwash them gently with mild soap and cool water. Be careful not to scrub too hard, and avoid using a dryer.
  • Store them properly: When not wearing your painted canvas shoes, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in plastic bags or airtight containers, as this can cause them to become moldy.
  • Touch up as needed: The paint on your canvas shoes may fade or chip over time. To keep them looking fresh, touch up the paint as needed with the same type of paint and colors you used originally.

Painting Canvas Shoes FAQ

What type of paint is best for painting canvas shoes?

Using fabric paint or acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium for painting canvas shoes is recommended.

Can I use regular acrylic paints for painting canvas shoes?

You can use regular acrylic or fabric paint for painting canvas shoes, but mixing it with a fabric medium is recommended to improve the durability and flexibility of the paint.

How long does the paint take to dry?

The drying time for the paint depends on the paint type used and the paint layer's thickness. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying time.

How long will the paint last on the shoes?

The durability depends on paint quality, sealant type, and frequency of use. The paint can last several months to a year or longer with proper care.

Can I use leather paint for canvas shoes?

Yes, you can use leather paint on canvas shoes, but keep in mind that it may not adhere to the material as well as it would work on leather. Additionally, the canvas is more porous than leather, so you may need to apply several coats of paint to achieve the desired color and coverage.

Is the process of painting canvas shoes the same as painting leather and vinyl shoes?

While the general process of painting shoes can be similar across different materials, there may be differences in the preparation and application techniques required for canvas, leather, and vinyl shoes. 


Painting canvas shoes is a fun and creative activity at home without buying expensive and complex tools. And with proper preservation techniques, you can enjoy your painted shoes for a long time.

Following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can keep your shoes looking fresh and vibrant while protecting them from wear and tear.

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