Best Paint Markers to Use for Shoe Designs

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Not all markers are created equal.

A pair of custom-made, hand painted shoes can cost quite a lot of money in vintage and specialty stores. Take the more inexpensive route and paint shoes yourself. With a little bit of talent and some specialty paint markers, even a beginner can turn an old pair of sneakers into some crazy kicks without resorting to an airbrush. You may want to practice on a piece of fabric or leather of similar texture, or a spare pair of old shoes, before attempting to turn your favorite shoes into works of art.


Although you can use just about any type of marker to draw on your shoes, not all will be waterproof, fade resistant, and have a smooth application. Shoes always look best when they are originally white. This way, the color of the paint will not be mixed with any other base colors on the sneakers.


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Significance of Paint Shoes

Painting custom shoes originated around the same time that graffiti paint markers became popular as an alternative to spray paint and fabric paints in the 1990s. Now that specialized markers were being used, almost anything could be tagged with graffiti, including shoes. Before the popularization of paint pens, spray paint could be used to imprecisely design shoes, as well as Sharpie and ballpoint pen. Both Sharpie and ballpoint pen, however, were prone to fading, even though they were able to provide the detail that paint brushes and spray paints and couldn't.



Different types of paint pens that work on shoes include pens designed for clothing, pens designed for graffiti, and pens designed for leather. Angelus leather paint is widely recognized as the best paint markers to use when customizing leather sneakers. Angelus leather paint markers come in the standard kind of paint, neon, and metallic colors and are water-resistant. For waterproof, durable shoes, an acrylic finisher can be painted or sprayed onto the sneakers, even if the markers used aren't acrylic paints.



Leather shoe paint markers like Angelus are available only at specialty art stores, graffiti stores, or on the Internet. Some craft stores may require that you be 18 in order to purchase paint markers, and others may keep their markers behind a glass case. This is for the safety of individuals who may want to purchase the markers in bulk, in order to huff the chemical fumes that these markers emit.


Do not let these security measures keep you from purchasing the markers you need to create your DIY shoe designs. Explain to the salesperson that you are doing an art project that requires more than one marker to complete the project.


Angelus paint markers can also be used on leather pants, furniture, light-colored pair of shoes for dress, leather bags, and other items made of leather or faux leather. If you would like to paint shoes that are not leather, fabric markers such as Fabrico Dual Tip Fabric Markers and Molotow Markers work well for alternative materials such as suede, canvas shoes or vinyl shoes. If you would like to paint shoes that are made of a material other than leather or fabric, the Uni Posca Extra Broad Line Marker is a waterproof marker designed for paint jobs on plastic, wood, glass, and other types of shoe materials.



Use paint markers only in a well-ventilated area. Place newspaper over your work surface and secure with masking tape or painter's tape, as most paint markers are permanent. Do not breathe or inhale paint markers. Keep all paint markers out of the way of children. Let the paint dry on the shoes dry for at least 48 hours before wearing or washing. Apply a spray or paint sealant over the dry layer of paint. The sealer will keep the different colors from bleeding, fading or attempting to flake off. If you are under 18, do not attempt to purchase paint markers.



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