Unexplainable colorful shoes

Something new is finally going to happen here. And it’s… pleather! Okay that’s not actually exciting. Read on…

This year, my winter term project was painting things (more on that later). The first thing I painted was a car. So afterward, I felt a little bored with canvas shoes. I decided to try something a little different. To prep the car for painting, we had to sand it so the paint would adhere. I thought, why couldn’t the same thing work with pleather shoes? I found a nice pair of black hipster boots and decided to try.

First, David and I sanded the shoes. When doing this, it's important to get all the shiny bits off... shiny is what the paint won't stick to.

Then, I covered them both in gesso, to help the paint stick better.

Then, I painted colorful blobs on them, and painted busy patterns over them.

Then I sealed them with varnish (a cheap kind of satin craft varnish), and was done!

All done.

These took an incredibly long time! At least 20 hours. I finished them last week. I’ve been wearing them a lot, and have noticed some sad problems. The first problem: they squeak. A TON. It’s pretty awful, but I think it’ll get better with time. The second problem: They have cracked in the areas where the shoe bends a lot. It makes sense, but it didn’t happen with the canvas shoes which is perplexing. I have theories as to why this might happen. I used artist-grade (or whatever it’s called… classy fancy paint) acrylics, which are thicker and form kind of a skin. I didn’t dilute the paint at all, so it was a thicker layer. That’s basically my only theory.

I’m going to keep wearing them to see if the cracking worsens or if there’s a way I can fix it. Maybe if I dilute the paint with a flexible thinner or something, that could help… or maybe not.

I repainted them afterward with a more decent glossy varnish, so now they squeak all over again. But I thought that might solve the cracking problem (it didn’t). But it’ll be interesting to see how the varnish protects the paint, how long it lasts, etc.


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