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.


  1. Very cool! My daughter would love something done with a Dr Who tv show them. Hmmm maybe might try this :)

  2. That would be very cool! Police Box shoes! :)


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