By: Meghan K.

Want to add a little more color to your wardrobe? Maybe you have a pair of white canvas shoes lying around and you want to spice them up a little bit. Watercolor sneakers are a great way to do this, and you can make them with just a few household items and some art supplies!

You will need:
  • A pair of clean white canvas shoes (Converse, Vans, etc.)
  • A pencil
  • Sharpies in your choice of colours
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Eyedropper
  • Waterproofing shoe spray
  • Newspaper (optional)
  • Ruler (optional) 

Let’s get started!

  1. Take the laces out of the shoes and set them aside. OPTIONAL: Stuff your shoes with newspaper so that they keep their shape (this is only really necessary if you’re working with high tops like Converse) and cover your workspace with newspaper.
  2. Use a pencil to draw a design on your shoes. Simple stripes, swirls and other geometric shapes tend to work best; we’re going to make the design run later, so highly detailed patterns aren’t recommended. If you’re drawing stripes, you’ll want to use a ruler to keep the lines straight.
  3. Cover any areas you don’t want to get Sharpie on with painter’s tape or masking tape.
  4. Once you’ve drawn your design, color the shapes with Sharpies, making sure to leave a little bit of white space around each shape when you change colors.
  5. After you’ve colored both shoes, remove the tape and move the shoes to an area you can get wet and fill a small container with rubbing alcohol. Take the eyedropper and carefully squirt rubbing alcohol all over the shoes. This will make the colors run into each other.
  6. Let the shoes dry. Leave them overnight, if you can.
  7. Once the shoes are dry, take some waterproofing shoe spray and spray everywhere that you’ve colored. This will keep the color from fading or running off. NOTE: Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area, or even outside if you can!
  8. Leave the spray to dry for the recommended amount of time; usually about two hours, depending on what kind of spray you’re using.
  9. Put the laces back on.
  10. Rock your new shoes!

Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration:
  • Dark colors, especially reds and black, will run more than light colors or pastels.
  • The waterproofing spray may cause the color to run a little bit more. Be prepared for this!
  • Make sure to use the rubbing alcohol in an area that won’t be damaged. When in doubt, use it over a sink.
  • You can color the laces to match the shoes (or not match, however you want).
  • You could color just the top of the shoes and drip the rubbing alcohol down the shoe for a paint drip effect.
You now have a fun pair of colorful shoes! No two pairs of shoes made this way will look alike (They’re kind of like people!). So take pride in your unique new shoes!

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