With my Etsy shop I often run searches for “hand-painted” just to see what else is out there and what the market is like. More frequently I have been coming across hand-painted stilettos and painted Tom’s that are way over-priced. To be honest, the shoes themselves are already expensive. Now you can easily paint your own Toms without breaking the bank!
- Any acrylic paint (expensive or not)… I’ve used Delta, Ceramcoat, Crafter’s Edition – The acrylic doesn’t matter as much as the sealer.
- Brushes… soft bristles – the largest I use when painting shoes is a size 2… it does get a little tedious.
- A high quality sealer – these usually run around $10-$15… I opt for the matte finish. If you prefer gloss or high gloss, get whichever suits your style. You can purchase these at JoAnn’s, Dick Blicks, or any other art supply store and they are usually right next to the acrylic paint. Just ask a clerk for help if you can’t find it.
- A pair of Toms, Bobs, Vans – or any canvas shoe.
I always draw my design on the shoe with pencil first. It doesn’t matter if you smear the lead as you will need to paint at least three coats of the acrylic over it anyhow for the design to really last (these are going on your feet remember!) After you have your design drawn on, start painting. Let each coat dry entirely before applying the next. On a hot day the paint dries quickly so each coat of paint can be applied much faster than on colder days. I usually apply two coats of sealer regardless of what the directions on the bottle say. That’s just a personal preference. With my experience of painting on canvas and duck cloth I’ve never had a design wear off or get sun faded. Most sealers say at least three coats, but that seems like overkill, especially with three coats of acrylic under it. It doesn’t matter if you go a little outside of your acrylic painted area with the sealer and spill over onto the canvas. Most sealers dry clear so don’t get too panicky if you see a darker spot of the canvas. Wait a couple hours and it should dry up clear.
As a side note, do not get overly stressed out and do not freak out if you make any mistakes. I know you spent a pretty penny on the shoes, but the beauty of acrylic is it dries fast and can ALWAYS be painted over (one of the many reason I started working with it and never left its side). Take a couple deep breaths. Remember anything you do can be undone and fixed, and keep painting. If I make a hideous mistake I usually design something larger, paint white over the old design, and draw the new, larger design onto the shoe. Then start from scratch.
And there you have it… your own pair of painted Toms!