Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Punk My Chucks

Winter brings a lot of challenges. Shoveling snow, scraping windshields... and figuring out how to do fun projects when my porch is knee-deep in snow.

Since I can't go outside and sand a hutch or paint a table, I'm forced to turn to smaller projects to release all this pent-up creative energy. And that is why I decided to paint my shoes.

The project started when my daughter asked for Converse shoes for Christmas. I started looking online for good deals. In the midst of searching, I discovered an entire culture of shoe-art. People, I realized, actually paint their canvas shoes. Being, well... me, I thought, "I could do that!"

So, when I found a decent deal on some high-top Chucks for my daughter, I went ahead and bought an extra pair for myself.

Turning to Photoshop, I worked up a design that incorporated my love for writing and books with my love for God. I also looked online for ideas and inspiration. One shoe design was a red and blue Red Riding Hood theme. I loved the colors and decided to go ahead and use red and blue in my own design.

My Converse shoes painted white. I know. It's hard to tell.
After working up the Photoshop version, it was time to take the plunge and do something that goes against mom-instinct: write on my shoes.

I read up a bit on the process. Even though I'm using the wrong paint and the wrong method, I thought I could at least take a LITTLE advice from the pros. They suggested I paint my white shoes white before beginning. I know. It sounds redundant. But apparently it helps with cracking, so I began by painting my shoes white. 

Design drawn in pencil.
Next, I used a pencil to free-hand the design, referring frequently to the Photoshop version. My reasoning was that I could erase my mistakes. FYI, pencil does NOT erase off canvas shoes. Maybe some kind does if you have special know-how, but good old mechanical pencils do not.

Me and my Sharpie paint pen (thanks, hubby!).
After penciling the entire design on the shoe, I realized that it would have been smarter to outline the background, paint it, THEN pencil the rest of the design on top, but I'm not exactly the think-ahead type. So, since I had the whole design on there, I went ahead and outlined in black with a paint pen. You can use whatever paint pen you like. Mine happened to be a Christmas present from the hubby: a Sharpie oil-based fine tip black paint pen. I wasn't sure how the oil-based pen would work on canvas or how it would work with the acrylic paints I would be using, but it seemed to hold up fine. The tip did get a little fuzzier by the end, but I worked with it.

Nearly finished...!
After outlining in black, I filled in the design with acrylic paint and a small brush. I decided to paint over the rivets where the shoelaces go. We'll see how that holds up over time. I'm not the most graceful painter, so after painting, I went back and re-traced my black lines. Then I did a finishing black outline around the shoes' edges.

The final product looked almost exactly like I'd envisioned it! I'm still deciding whether I want to add some shading or not. And I'll probably either spray or brush on a clear sealant of some kind. Still, I punked my Chucks with my own style, and I'm pretty happy with them. Now I need some blue and red laces, and I'll be ready to show my creation to the world.

The finished product! Well, maybe.