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For years I have wanted to learn how to use acrylic paint on shoes but was always too scared.

Well, I finally tried it and answered my own question, you can use acrylic paint on shoes! For this tutorial, I used acrylic paint on leather shoes. Air Force Ones to be exact.

close up of acrylic painted shoes

Surprisingly traditional paint for shoes, or leather surfaces is acrylic. I assume there is some sort of additive that keeps it from cracking. But, my way is a lot cheaper and the color variety is so much better.

apple barrel paints at walmart

Walmart has so many different colors of Apple Barrel Paints, there are around 150 in total. Don’t be fooled by the price, these are very much quality paints. I use them for so many untraditional things, from tie-dye to these shoes!

close up of finished acrylic painted shoes

How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?

There are a few things you should do that I believe help with the cracking on shoes of acrylic paint.

  • Prep the shoes by cleaning thoroughly with soap and water or acetone
  • apply paint in thin layers
  • mix the paint with folk art textile medium I didn’t find this at Walmart so I grabbed it at Michaels Craft Store
  • allow each layer to dry completely
  • and I’m going to say it again because it is very important thin coats of paint
painting shoes with acrylic paint

How To Seal Acrylic Paint On Shoes?

To seal my paint I used Mod Podge Spray Sealer. I sprayed in 1 even layer and then went back in and sprayed a second layer once the first one dried.

To make it your own you can even paint designs on them.

close up of finished acrylic painted shoes

Can You Paint Shoes With Acrylic Paint?

You absolutely can. Just look at how well my shoes turned out. Just make sure to remember to apply the paint in thin layers and also allow each layer to completely dry.

Also, allow the paint to dry for 24 hours. I love to paint with acrylic paints.

If you try out this project, come back and leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

More Crafts To Try With Plaid Crafts Acrylic Paint.

close up of finished acrylic painted shoes
Yield: 1 Pair of Acrylic Painted Shoes

How To Use Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint On Shoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 3 hours 15 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $3 + a pair of old shoes

Learn how to use acrylic paint on shoes. In this tutorial and video, I show you how to use Apple Barrel craft paint to change your shoes from noon to Woah!




  1. Gather all of your supplies and remove the shoelaces from the shoe. I used an old pair of Air Force 1s removing laces from shoes
  2. Using the acetone clean the shoes. cleaning shoes with acetone
  3. Mix a little of the Folk Art Textile Medium in with your paints. pouring textile medium into paint for shoes
  4. Mix thoroughly before you start painting. painting shoes with acrylic paint
  5. Paint your acrylic paint in thin layers allowing each to dry between layers.painting shoes with acrylic paint
  6. Paint black lines randomly. (optional) painting shoes with acrylic paint
  7. Use something to clear the paint from the vent holes in the shoe. Replace your laces and allow them to dry 24 hours before wearing them. close up of finished acrylic painted shoes

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