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Submitted on
April 2, 2013


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This is crazy guys! My Starry Night boots

SN Boots 3 by bakerstirregular

got a Daily Deviation. I woke up this morning to over four hundred messages and three hundred new views on my page. My deviantart account is pretty humble, so this is a big deal. Big thanks and love to xthumbtakx and Talty for suggesting and featuring me, and of course for everyone who followed me as a result and are reading this now. c:

The question I seem to be getting the most (besides "take my money!" - I will gladly take your money) is, "What kind of paint did you use?" I've been thinking of making a step-by-step process on how I make my shoes, so this was the push I needed! Here is everything you need to know about my process. Prepare yourselves!


⌘ ⌘ Materials ⌘ ⌘

    Plain shoes or boots
    Pencils, rubber erasers, and Sharpies
    Acetone (if working with leather)
    Sandpaper (if working with leather)
    Acrylic paint
    Fabric painting medium
    Acrylic spray sealant
    Fine-tip Sharpie or Micron pen
1) Start with a sketch. Have a theme in mind and doodle the image you want on your shoe. Once that's done, draw the front, back, sides, and overhead view of your shoe, and resketch your image onto that, rearranging as needed to make it fit the contours and look as attractive and balanced as possible.

2) SPECIAL (FAUX) LEATHER STEP. If you've come to learn how to paint on leather or faux leather, as I assume many of you have, I'm here to say unfortunately there's a lot of manual labor involved. Leather materials come with a shiny, slippery finish, and if you try to paint straight on it it will chip off within days. Here's how you get around that.
         a) Break out your goggles, gloves, and tarps! You must strip the finish (outside - there will be fumes involved) with rags soaked with the chemical acetone. This is a strong stripping chemical that you can find in hardware stores like Home Depot. As with any hazardous material, you WILL need to take safety precautions with this - DO NOT HURT YOURSELF FOR SHOES. This is the easiest way to get rid of the finish, but it's not absolutely necessary, because you will also be
         b) Going over the entire shoe/boot with sandpaper. If you used the acetone, you won't need to go over it too much, just enough to give the smooth surface some tooth to hold on to the paint. If you decided to pass on the acetone, you'll probably spend hours with the sandpaper, polishing away the finish and then adding that ever-important tooth.

3) Start sketching on the shoe following your design as closely as possible. What you can sketch with depends on what kind/color material you're using; if it's white canvas, you can sketch with a pencil, erasing any mistakes with a rubber eraser and doing it over. If it's basically anything else, you'll have to use a Sharpie - either black for light material or metallic silver for dark. (Note: my friend Miss-Melis has an extra step to make the sketching easier. She sprays the shoe with her sealant first, then paints the basic shape of her design in white so she can sketch on top of that. If you are unsure of how well you can sketch on material, do this! It'll make your sketching much easier, more attractive, and clearer to see. If you're like me and want to minimize the layers of paint and sealant you use to keep the shoe as flexible and crack-free as possible, stick with sketching straight on the shoe.)

4) Find out Pixar's announced yet another sequel. Feel betrayed, go cry in a corner.

5) Painting. I use two materials for this stage: acrylic paint, and something called fabric painting medium. Fabric painting medium is a liquid that you mix in with your paint to make it more adhesive to your material, long-lasting, and flexible. This prevents the cracking that normally comes when you paint on shoes, and can help your design last for years if you treat it right.
         a) Everyone's process is going to vary here depending on your painting style, but I like to paint in two or three layers. The first is thin and liquidy (mix the paint:medium in a 1:1 ratio) and blocks out the basic colors.
         b) The second layer is thicker (paint:medium - 2:1) and more detailed. Add basic shading and color variation.
         c) The third layer (still 2:1) is where you add the tiny finishing touches. Extra-fine hair, detailed shading, fur, lettering, etc. Allow your shoes at least two hours to dry completely.

6) If it's a design that requires outlines, particularly super fine outlines, it's usually easiest to go with pens, whether it's ink pens or fine Sharpies. If you want to do it with super small paintbrushes, like I do, you're welcome to! Once you get in the practice of it you can usually get stronger, more fluid results that way.

7) Thanks to mintybreeze for bringing this to my attention - most fabric mediums are going to require you to heat set them. There will be instructions on the back for how to do this; for instance, mine says allow 24-48 hours to dry, then heat set thirty seconds. It specifically says iron, but hair dryers would probably work better since you're working on a curved, uneven surface.

8) I don't have a special sealant, just the generic brand I got at AC Moore. It works perfectly, so whatever you find is A-okay! Just make sure it has the words "acrylic," "permanent," and "matte" on it. Take your shoes outside and follow the instructions for spraying - I usually hold it about a foot and a half away and spray every side. Allow the first layer to dry for about an hour, then spray it again. Repeat as many times as you like. I normally spray it with at least three protective layers. This will cut down greatly on the wear and make it waterproof.

9) If you want to be extra super sure that your shoes are 100% waterproof, find a product like Vans Off the Wall Stain and Shield Spray and give it one more layer. Allow a day to dry completely.

10) Wear your shoes! Sell them! Do what you will, you're an artistic genius!

Hope that helps! Thanks again!



daily deviation! what!by bakerstirregular

Journals / Personal©2013-2014 bakerstirregular
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mintybreeze Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
congrats on the DD! How to you do your blending so smoothly? (Whenever I look at your shoes they look almost printed.) I tried blending on the shoes with acrylic mixed with the fabric medium but layers really thickly and is hard to I suppose to dray brush it or something?
bakerstirregular Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I AM working on a pair right now using a lot of dry brush technique, but normally I don't. Even mixed with the medium, acrylics dry pretty fast; maybe you need to speed up your technique? Or just work on a few inches at a time. You can also try mixing in more of the medium.
aphid777 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you so much for this! So nice of you to share such a thorough tutorial! :) It also shows how much effort you put into painting and the high level quality of your work ^^
bakerstirregular Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you again! I'm actually going back and looking through your gallery more...your crocheted plushes are AWESOME. Stitch and Totoro and Haku and ack!! So so good! Do you have an etsy or some place you sell them?
aphid777 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I wish I had the time to set up shop and do commissions! I'm a full-time student right now so that pretty much takes up all my time :( I made most of these before school started. I only crochet now when I'm procrastinating or when studying is driving me insane ._. haha
bakerstirregular Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Awwwww, that's too bad. You could make a pretty penny selling these. Once you're out of school and settled down a bit you should def sell them, you have crazy talent!
aphid777 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks so much again! I have gotten some offers but unfortunately, I've had to turn them all down! So sad.. I'm a broke student with no time *cries*
Melancholy-Minds Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013
Congratulations; the DD was definitely well-deserved!

And thanks very much for the thorough tutorial; I've been meaning to paint shoes of my own and this was very helpful to me. :)
bakerstirregular Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
No problem! I love seeing what other people can come up with. Go paint them shoes c:
RambleWriting Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Congratulations on your daily deviation! You definitely deserve it; beautiful work :)
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