Monday, August 26, 2013

Hand-painted Leopard Shoes

          Do you love leopard as much as I do?  Leopard is my POWER pattern!  I feel very powerful and confident when I am in leopard, so that was of course my inspiration for these shoes.

          I purchased these little red beauties for a whole $2 from my local Facebook yard sale page. 
         Some people would think that there is nothing wrong with them, but they are just too bold for my style and coloring.  After buying them I thought "why did I even buy these?  I don't care for this color for me...."  But then I had a thought and I was bound to do it.....Hand painted leopard shoes!

       #1- The first step to creating this was to rub my shoes down with pure ACETONE.  NOT fingernail polish remover.  With a cotton rag, rub and rub to see if you can get the glossy finish off (sometimes it all comes off and sometimes you just can't get it off).  *please use rubber or latex gloves during this process and do it outside where it is ventilated.

       #2- The second step is to get your colors figured out.  I use Angelus leather paints that have to be ordered online.  The base color I chose to be Mustard and the spots are Cognac.
     The base I used a larger art brush & gave it a good 2-3 coats.  After letting that dry, I used the little paint brush in the paint and free handed some spots.  I created a free pattern as I wanted them to be a bit unique.
      After getting all of the spots on and letting it dry, I took the Light-brown paint and drew random borders around the spots.
     With this picture, you can see the random pattern.  It is really cool around the heel and didn't take it all around the shoe.

     My original plan was to just stop at this point, but as you can see, it was a bit bright and animated for my taste and I desperately needed to find a way that I could tone down the look.  Now, with part of my background being in mural painting and wall staining, I took some techniques from that and created an over color that would tone down the yellow and make it look aged.  Here is what I did.  In an old plastic bowl, I dabbed a little bit of the dark brown paint and a pinch of water.  I took a cotton rag and dabbed it both in the brown paint and water and created a wash out of it.  I swirled that all around the the shoes and created some spots darker and some lighter so get the aged/worn affect I wanted.
       You can see here in the picture that it created a very beautiful, yet fun look that I absolutely love and adore!
     I even wore them in a photoshoot I had back a few months ago.  So, for a few bucks for some shoes and some paints (that of course stretch into many more projects), I now have a FABULOUS pair of shoes that I get compliments on ALL THE TIME!  So try it!  Don't be afraid because you say you aren't an artist.  This is not difficult and the end result is well worth the bit of time put in.


  1. Great shoes! They look great.

  2. I love it!!! I can totally do that with a pair of shoes that I have and don't ware anymore. I was just going to order some new heels I saw online but didn't cause it cost too much. You are awesome!!!

  3. Great blog post. I didn't even notice the random backgrounds of your pics until you pointed them out -- I had to go back and look. The shows are perfect! I haven't found a pair of leopard shoes in the store that I would wear, but I would wear these --preferably with a lower heal:-).

  4. Wow, I am so impressed! Those look great! You have a real talent for this kind of stuff!

  5. Lindsi, I am so glad that you posted to use acetone and not to use fingernail polish remover. After I did the Club Night on shoe painting I realized that the polish remover doesn't work well, so I changed it in the notes to read "use acetone", but I'm not sure if those who saw it will look at the notes section.

  6. Where does one find pure acetone?

    1. In the hardware store (Home Depot, Lowes) close to the paint section.

  7. You are a fashion genius! Thank you for sharing you incredible ideas and projects!