Because of my ever-stylish younger sister‘s rotating wardrobe, I am occasionally the recipient of perfectly wonderful, barely used cast-offs. Last fall, she handed me down a few pairs of shoes that she no longer used, and these floral babies were among them. I adore the fit, shape, and kitten heel, but the design just wasn’t my style.
A google search turned up all sorts of advice about painting leather, but the method I chose was with regular old acrylic, slightly watered down to enable the leather to absorb it a little. I decided on two-tone brown with a gold toe, sort of like these, bought some folk art acrylic paint from Michael’s (because it was on sale:) and began.
I started with clean and dried shoes. Some sites recommended rubbing down the leather with rubbing alcohol to better prepare it, but I just began painting. The first layer I kept really thin, like a prime coat for the other layers to stick to.
After folding a load of laundry, it was dry, and I added a second coat. Then I attended to some other household duty, and came back for a third. I think I ended up painting five thin coats in all, getting the shoes nice and opaque.
I didn’t pay too close of attention to the toes, knowing I’d be adding the gold toe cap. When the brown seemed to be finished, I used happy tape to create a straight line across the toe where I wanted to add the gold. The tape was perfect because I knew it wouldn’t stick to the painted shoe, so the brown underneath it was safe.
I followed the same process with the toes, adding thin layers of the gold and letting them dry. Because I had the brown underneath, I only completed three coats of gold before I thought they looked great.
When the paint was dry, I peeled back the tape and was happy with pretty straight lines. The brown was solid, but very matte, and both colors needed some protection.
With two layers of Mod Podge, the shoes became nice and shiny, and the paint was somewhat protected.
Then I got to wear them!
They have quite quickly become some of my favorites. I love the simple detail and little glitz of the toe-cap, and the colors are so versatile, I’ll be able to wear them often.
Pretty great for a free pair of shoes, $3 in paint, and a couple hours work, right?
You’ll start seeing old leather shoes with all new potential now, just wait!