26 December 2010

DIY: space shoes

m e d i u m ][ 3-4 hours
cost: $3-15 for shoes, $5 for paint & extras
shop at: cheapie stores & a craft store
(shoes: target, walmart, kmart, payless)
(paint: a place like michael's, walmart has paint too)
read: the instructions once though before you get started

Paint. On shoes. Pretty straight forward.
Hopefully you have a little experience with paint.
If you like, practice painting on paper first to get warmed up.


- 1 pair of white or black canvas sneakers in your size
(or your friend's size, sibling…whoever the lucky wearer is)
- bottles of acrylic paint
(I used black, white, burgundy, red, purple, blue, and a little metallic)
- definitely get white, you'll need it for the stars
- brushes & painting supplies
- paper towels
- toothpick
- painter's tape (optional)
- photos of stars you've collected for inspiration & reference

i. [shopping emergency pre-steps] I could not find white or black shoes, so I started out with green ones. I found mine at kmart; walmart really let me down this time, haha.

ii. I taped off the soles with painter's tape, to keep them white.

iii. Then I did a base coat of a black/white/blue/metallic mixture to give myself a base color to work off of that wasn't stupid-non matching green.

iv. Make sure you take out the laces! Unless you want to get paint on them.

1. Start layering on background colors, referencing your photos. I start off with darks, then midtones, then lights, working them all in together. Use big brushes for big amounts of space, and smaller brushes for smaller areas. You can mix white into other colors, but don't use straight white right now.

2. I use a technique I call "rip off a bitty piece of paper towel and splotch". Paint an area, then immediately after, use a little piece of paper towel to blend it into the dried color behind it. It creates some great opacity differences!

3. If you want to paint the soles, now is a good time. That's what I ended up doing, with some leftover dark blue and purple.

3. Acrylic paint dries as you go along, so there isn't a lot of waiting time. Take a little break in between background and stars, admire your work so far, and clean up a bit. You'll want clean brushes and work space for the next step. Often, I like to take a break from my work and come back to it in an hour or so, so I don't get flustered.

4. If you're worried that your shoes don't look spacey, don't fret! Things are about to get very intergalactic.

5. Grab 2 or 3 tiny brushes, a toothpick, and the white paint. Squirt out a little. Dab on little circles (stars!) on a less noticeable area of shoe to practice. Use the toothpick as a paintbrush for itty bitty stars.

6. Take your time on this part, and really get into it, you'll loosen up as you go along. Work around the shoe, the most noticeable part of the shoe being the front, above your toes.

7. I put lots of toothpick stars all over each shoe, then put a smaller amount of bigger stars in a few areas, to create focus.

8. Put the laces back in, and you're done!

TIP: There's no such thing as perfect with this project. Dive in and see where the paint takes you. It's going to end up looking spacey & starry, I promise. Anyone who sees them is going to be impressed, or at least interested. If anyone gives you garbage & says they "don't look like space" or whatever, ask them to paint a new pair for you the next time they're in a rocket. x]

ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: You can paint anything on shoes!

be sure to check out my other projects!

DIY #3
♥ I worked really hard on this tutorial. It took a long time to prepare.
I was inspired by http://chelseaanncoconut.blogspot.com/
[the origin of the mysterious space shoes photo a lot of people saw on tumblr]
I was also inspired by the bazillion shoe painters & decorators before us, from the local craft fairs to the talents on craftster.org.
I came up with my own variation & the instructions & took the instruction photos myself.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.
original polyvore post date: 7/1/10


  1. Oh wow! thank you!! I've been looking all over the place fr this!

  2. thanks i've been wanting space shoes since forever! def using this idea. i'll put pics on polyvore and comment them here for you if you want?

  3. sounds good, kaycee!

  4. Adding an acrylic gloss finish after it is all done and dry will make it look shiny and not too 'crafty/diy', if you know what I mean. It will also help the paint not to wear off, and it will feel nicer to touch (without that dry painty feeling). This is great though! I'm making a pair for my friend for her birthday.

  5. I made Adventure time shoes! they have Finn and Jake on them with "Jake the dog and Finn the Human" in black sharpie on the toes. they look great. I'm going to post a picture to my blog soon so check em out :)

  6. Thank you so much for this!
    I finished them today and they look lovely!


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