Ever fall in love with a pair of shoes? You dream about them, pairing them with all your favorite sewn goodies. Then, you see the pricetag. Wahwah. Tears. Dreams dashed. Thus is the story of my love affair with all shoes at the Office of Angela Scott.
Alas, Angela Scott’s Bicolor oxfords may never be mine, but never fear, these make for a super easy DIY. Perfect pair of super comfy, black (kind of boring) oxfords that I don’t wear much – you’ve met your revamp.
- cotton craft rag
- leather shoes
- leather preparer and deglazer*
- leather paint*
- leather finisher (optional)
- painters tape
- small paintbrush with medium firmness
- new laces, if applicable
*Note: I used Angelus leather painting products found at Dharma Trading Co.
Step 1: Gently clean the shoes with a mild soap and warm cloth. Be sure to remove any excess soap.
Mark off the design that you want.
Step 2: Once you have it marked, use the painters tape to protect the areas you want to leave unpainted. Since my shoes had quite a few seams, I made sure to push the tape down up against the grooves to make sure I had a crisp line when painting. I thought the blue tape actually made for cute shoes, so I may end up doing a negative paint scheme on another project. See?
Step 3: Next, take your craft rag, you know, the one you use for any project that requires a fancy cloth rag, but you just substitute whatever craft cotton or old kitchen towel you can find first. Add a liberal amount of the leather preparer and deglazer to your cloth and use it to wipe the area to be painted. This will not only clean the area once more, it will remove any finishes on the leather that prevent it from soaking in the paint. I’m pretty sure this is just pure acetone, but since it’s chemical formula isn’t listed on the bottle, I cannot make such claims safely. However, I think you could just use acetone in a pinch (or to pinch a few pennies), especially if you’re sprucing up an old pair that you don’t mind trashing if this all goes amok.
Just be sure to wipe the shoes quickly as acetone evaporates quickly. A couple quick passes over the surface should suffice. You will notice a more matte, dried out area when you’re done – perfect for which the paint to adhere.
Step 4: I used Angelus leather paint in Putty, to achieve a monochromatic feel. Dip your brush into the paint and get a fine amount on the brush. Don’t get too much. Making quick long brush strokes, apply a very thin layer of paint over the whole area. This will act as your primer for the additional coats.
**This paint dries VERY quickly, so again quick long strokes make for the best results.
Step 5: Once you have the base layer, allow to dry for 15 minutes (i.e. 3 minutes and then get impatient and move to the next step). Really, as I said above the paint dries really fast, especially if you work in light layers. On layers 2-4 (you may need more if working with a bold color), repeat the process, but with more paint on the brush. Layer of paint, dry 15 minutes, layer of paint, dry and so on. I ended up doing 3 thick layers on top of my first thin base layer. Here’s after my second coat.
Step 6: Carefully remove the tape. It helps to remove the tape while the paint lines are still slightly wet. Just make sure you are satisfied with the paint coverage before you do!
I’m super happy with how these turned out. If you lines aren’t as clean as you would like, you can easily remove the paint by gently scratching it off. And seeing as how it CAN be scratched off, I would suggest a finishing layer (also available at Dharma Trading) to truly help seal in the color.
Once I put them on, I immediately felt transported back to the 1920s. I was tempted to grab my old trumpet and really channel some jazz era vibes, but opted to pair it with some tweed shorts and a fedora. Both of which made for an itchy, hot photo shoot here in the fall Texas heat, but it sure looked cute!
Painting leather was really so easy that I don’t know why I was intimidated by it before, but now I’m already planning my next project with these paints! I hope it gives you inspiration next time you find an old leather bag or accessory when you only got 20 dollars in your pocket.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…