News / How to paint shoes
I wanted to write this blog post to spread some knowledge of how I paint these custom Janoskis. Right now Nike SB has all white Leather Janoskis that make a perfect base shoe to paint. The shoes started out looking like the picture below.
After putting on some latex gloves , I grabbed the cotton balls and acetone and prepped the shoes. When I say "prep" what I'm talking about is stripping the thin wax layer that is on the leather. This is the most important part. If you skip this step, the paint won't last. The factory puts a thin wax layer on every pair of leather shoes it makes, something you have to remove before painting. The reason for this is the wax acts like a repellent to protect the leather. This can only be removed with Acetone or some other type of leather deglazer. The wax is a thin coat and sometimes it can be difficult to tell when you're done with shoe prep. 10 minutes of rubbing the shoes with Acetone soaked cotton balls should be good. You don't want to over do it as you can damage the leather. You'll notice this by seeing the leather fraying up. Once all the wax has been stripped, the paint can now lay directly on the leather. Below is a picture of the shoes after the mid sole has been taped off with making tape (and painters tape, see more about that here.) The picture below shows the first layer of paint on the shoes. For this color, I mixed white, blue and green to achieve the desired shade of Sea Foam Green. All Jacquard Products. I used an airbrush for this. It's a lot easier and faster to use "Lazy Susan" to rotate your shoe while you spray. And they're cheap. I got mine on Amazon: here .
Don't have an Airbrush? This is the one I use: Iwata-Medea Deluxe Airbrush Set
The picture below shows my tropical design laid onto the shoes. I cut out these leaves from masking tape using a self healing board and a Xacto knife. You'll also see a light gold layer that I decided to add on last minute. I can never get enough of Jacquard Metallic paints.
Next comes the black paint. See the picture below. This was 2 layers of black. One shoe shows the design once the tape has been removed.
I always love the look of a glowing Nike Swoosh. It's my thing. It creates good contrast and lets me paint the Swoosh black. Check the pic below to see that in-process.
After that is all done, I layered with a few coats of Krylon Matte Spray and I'm done!
Big Thank you to the team at Mates Brand! They sent me the mother load of laces to try out on my custom sneakers. You may have see the picture of the pile of laces on Instagram. This pair of laces went perfectly with the Sea Foam Green Paint! Check the pic below.
Want a pair? Get yours HERE.
Don't have an airbrush or compressor? Amazon sells the same one I use HERE.
Everyday I get asked "what kind of paint do you use? Does it last forever? What do you need to do to prep the shoe for paint? How do you seal it?" I wanted to write this blog post to let people know what I do. This post should be good for both beginning sneaker artists and customers wanting to know that their shoes are painted and built to last.
First, let me tell you a little bit about the paints I use. Last year I teamed up with Jacquard Products and started using their paints on all my custom painted shoes. The paints come in a full airbrush line which don't require paint thinner like other company's paints. When I used to use Angelus, I would mix up their paint with the 2-thin, but that was so annoying. Seriously, why would I do that when other companies come with the perfect ratio pre mixed for you already in the bottle ready to buy? There are multiple different lines of paint Jacquard Products makes that can be used on shoes, but you really only need the following 3 types and they're all slightly different. Im currently using their Airbrush Color line, the Lumiere line and the Neopaque line.
Neopaque paints is what you want to use when you paint your shoes with a paint brush. The paint is the perfect consistency and is perfect for canvas, leather or suede shoes. These will replace your Angelus paints. If you want a metallic or pearlescent, you gotta get the Jacquard Lumiere paints which I talk about in the next paragraph. Jacquard Neopaque paints are essential for any sneaker customizer.
Get the Neopaque paints HERE.
Lumiere is a metallic line that doesn't crack or peel. It is made for flexible surfaces, like shoes. It's quality paint with high pigmentation so it goes a long way. I often use this on top of a white base when I want to paint my shoes gold. These are just like the Neopaque paints but shimmery.
Shop for the Lumiere paints HERE.
The airbrush colors that Jacquard makes are great. They flow through your airbrush no problem. I suggest airbrushing a few coats of paint to make it look bold. The bottle tells you to heat set, but honestly, you don't need to. I've painted thousands of pairs of shoes at this point, and they've all withstood the test of time. I'm wearing shoes right now on my feet that I painted with Jacquard Airbrush Colors. The paint looks as good as the day I painted them and I never heat blasted them with my heat gun. It's probably a better idea to heat set on canvas and cotton t-shirts, but again, I cut that out of my workflow a long time ago and haven't had any troubles.
Shop for the Airbrush paint HERE.
Don't have an airbrush or compressor? Amazon sells the same one I use HERE.
Ok let's talk about shoe prep. Specially leather shoes. All leather shoes come from the factory with a thin wax coat. The wax coat is there to keep the leather weather proof. You need to strip this thin wax coat so you can paint directly on the leather. I can't stress how important this step is. If you don't strip this coat of wax, you will notice your paints beading up when applied. Once this coat is gone, the paint will lay normal and actually sink into the leather making it permanent. The way you strip the wax coat is with Acetone. You must put on rubber gloves first, because Acetone is a really strong solvent. Simply wet the Cotton Balls with Acetone and rub the cotton balls all over the leather shoes. You won't actually see the wax layer come off, so you kinda have to just know where you have already applied the Acetone. It's really strong and fast acting, so you don't need to go too crazy with it. It should take less than 10 minutes to prep a pair of shoes.This is the tape I use: HERE
This is a stock image of the Black Leather Nike SB Stefan Janoskis I painted.
After the shoes have been fully prepped for paint using the Acetone, time for tape. In the image above you'll see blue painters tape towards the bottom of the midsole and then masking tape on top of that. The reason I do that is because the painters tape is less sticky and easier to peel off. And because it's below the Masking Tape, it acts as a wedge when I pull off the tape after I'm done painting. I wish I had figured this out earlier. I can now pull off all the tape going around the midsoles in one swipe and it leaves less tape residue on the midsole when the shoes are done. Which means less clean up at the end. In this particular pair I went crazy with the masking on the uppers because this was the design I was going for. Next step I lay down some paint. It's a lot easier and faster to use "Lazy Susan" to rotate your shoe while you spray. And they're cheap. I got mine on Amazon: here
The picture above shows the shoes after they have been hit with 2 coats of the Airbrush Metallic Gold and a thin coat of the Jacquard Metallic Copper.
This picture shows what the shoes look like after the making tape has been carefully pealed off. Remember that thin wax coat we removed using the Acetone? Time to put that back on. I use Krylon Matte Spray. 2-3 thin coats.
This is the final product! I can make you a pair too. Shop HERE.
Any thoughts, questions or concerns? Is there a method you're using that works better? The team at Jacquard Products and I want to hear about it. Let me know in the comments or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org