Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Shoes?

By Mandy Moss

You have some old shoes you want to spruce up a bit for your wardrobe, but you’re not sure if the acrylic paint you have would work.

Before we explain each shoe material, which you can paint with acrylic paint, let’s go over the basics and what to keep in mind when painting your shoes.

Can I Use Acrylic Paint on Shoes?

Yes, acrylic paint is perfect for most materials, and shoes are no exception. It adheres well and dries quickly, so you’ll be able to rock your new kicks in no time. You can use it on multiple surfaces, such as fabric, leather, vinyl, and other shoe materials.

However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you get started:

1. Clean your shoes

Make sure the shoes you want to paint are clean and free of any dirt or dust. Acrylic paint won’t stick to surfaces that are dirty, so make sure to give them a good scrub before you start painting.

2. Choose the right color

Not all acrylic paints are created equal, and some will work better on shoes than others. Make sure to test out your colors on a small patch of leather or canvas before you start painting them. This will ensure that you get the desired effect.

3. Protect the rest of your shoe

If you’re not careful, the paint can easily spread to other parts of the shoe. Make sure to take measures to protect the rest from unwanted paint streaks.

NOTE: You can do this by using masking tape or newspaper to cover the areas you don't want to paint.

4. Check shoe material you are painting on

Make sure you know what kind of material is your shoe made out of before you start painting. Some paints will actually react with the material, causing them to stiffen and become rigid over time. Also. In some cases, other types of paints are better than acrylic. (like fabric paint for fabric shoes)

Let’s learn more about different types of shoe materials and how to Paint them more in detail.

Can you use Acrylic paint on Leather shoes?

Yes, you can, however, be sure to use Acrylic paint that is specifically designed for leather. These normally have more vibrant pigments with a consistency similar to Airbrush paints.

How to Paint leather shoes?

1. Remove factory glaze off your shoes.

Before we start painting we need to get rid of the factory glaze. The reason for this is that the Acrylic paint better adheres to the leather shoe surface.

Most acrylic leather paint kits include some sort of deglazing product when you buy them.

2. Prepare the surface of your shoe by cleaning it.

Before you start painting your shoes make sure they are clean and free of any dirt or dust, as this will cause the paint to not stick properly and it could ruin them.

3. Apply Acrylic paint by using a paintbrush or airbrush sprayer.

Start by adding a thin and even coat of paint to your shoe. If you’re using an airbrush be sure to wear proper protection as the fumes can irritate your lungs.

TIP: You want to use very light coats of paint, as this will prevent it from seeping under the edge of your tape and creating an unwanted line.

4. Let the paint dry completely.

Once you’ve finished painting your shoes, let them dry completely. This normally takes around 24 hours to be 100% sure.

5. Seal your shoes with the sealant of the finisher.

For a long-lasting paint job, make sure to seal your shoes with a protective coat of sealant or finisher.

When you buy a leather painting kit you normally get this included as well.

Best acrylic paint for Leather Shoes

I love Smalltongue’s Acrylic Leather Paint Set. It is specially made for painting on leather and comes with 12 vibrant colors, a leather prepper, deglazer, and an acrylic finisher.

Before painting, you will use deglazer to remove any factory glaze present. This way the paint will cover the surface more easily. After you’ve finished your job, apply a finisher to keep the paint from rubbing off, cracking, peeling, or smearing.

Additional Tips When Painting Leather Shoes with Acrylic Paint

  1. Test the paint – Always test the paint on a small, hidden area of the shoe before painting the entire surface. This will help you to determine if the paint will be opaque or transparent, and how it will look on the particular type of leather.
  2. Don’t paint the soles of the shoes – Try to avoid getting any paint on the soles of the shoes, as it can make them slippery.
  3. Painting in Thin layers – Paint in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next one. This will help to prevent brush strokes from being visible in the finished product.
  4. High-quality brush – Use a high-quality brush for best results. A good brush will help to create a smooth, even finish.
  5. Be patient – it may take several days for the paint to dry before you can wear the shoes again.

Painting Fabric Shoes with Acrylic

Acrylic paint can be used on fabric effectively however it won’t last long so it needs a special fabric medium so it sticks and adheres better to fabric.

If you are painting shoes and you want your paint last, I would definitely use Fabric paint for this type of surface. This type of paint will stick better, last longer than acrylic paint without adding any medium in addition.

How to Paint Fabric Shoes with Acrylic?

  1. Clean your shoes – Remove any dirt or dust from the shoes with a brush. After use dampened rag to remove any facial oils.
  2. Mask off nearby areas – Cover nearby areas with masking tape or newspaper so no other parts of the shoe are painted apart from where you want it to be.
  3. Lightly sand your shoes – Prepare your shoe for painting by giving it a light sanding with fine-grit sandpaper. This will help the paint adhere better.
  4. Shake the paint well and apply a thin coat – Shake the can of paint well before use, then apply a thin and even layer to your shoe with a brush or airbrush sprayer.
  5. Let it dry – Wait for the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step. usually takes around 2-4 hours.
  6. Apply the second coat of paint – Apply a thicker, more opaque coat of paint to the shoe.
  7. Let it dry – Wait again for the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This can take up to 24h.
  8. Apply a sealant – Seal your paint job with a acrylic sealant or finish to protect it from wear and tear.
  9. Let it dry – Wait one last time for the sealant to dry completely before wearing your shoes.

Best Fabric Paint for Fabric Shoes

I would Start with this Magicfly fabric paint set. It includes all colors needed with some neon and metallic shades in addition. All colors are non-toxic which is also an important buying factor for me.

Magicfly paints work well on a wide range of surfaces. They work on synthetic and natural fabrics, as well as glass, paper, and even wood.

They are semitransparent so you need multiple coats if you want a more opaque final look of your shoe design.

[amalinkspro type=”cta-btn-css” ctabtn-id=”0″ asin=”” apilink=”″ addtocart=”false” new-window=”true” nofollow=”true” alignment=”aligncenter”]Check Price[/amalinkspro]

Important Tips When Painting Fabric Shoes with Acrylic

  1. Choose the right paint – Not all acrylic paints are meant for fabric, so be sure to select one specifically labeled as “fabric paint.” This type of paint is designed to adhere better to textiles and resist fading and cracking over time.
  2. Prep your shoes – Before painting, you’ll need to clean and prepare the surface of your shoes. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dust or dirt from the shoes.
  3. Paint in thin layers – Acrylic paint dries quickly, so it’s important to work in thin layers to avoid streaks and unwanted texture. Apply one thin, even coat of paint using a spray, brush or roller. After allow the first layer to dry completely before applying another.
  4. Add a topcoat – Once your shoes have dried completely, seal them with a clear acrylic topcoat. This will help prevent the color from fading over time and make for a glossy, professional-looking finish.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Canvas shoes? 

Canvas shoes are a great way to show your personality and style, so don’t be afraid to use your imagination when painting them. There are no bounds to the possibilities.

Acrylic paint is perfect for shoes because it dries quickly and is durable. The paint will also stay on your shoes even after you wear them multiple times.

How to Paint Canvas Shoes with Acrylic?

  1. Clean your shoe – Begin by cleaning the surface of your shoes with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust
  2. Sketch your design (optional) – Sketch out your design with a pencil if you want to plan out your painting first.
  3. Use light color first – Start painting in the lightest colors first and then work your way up to the darker colors.
  4. Paint one section at a time – Paint one section at a time and allow each section to dry before moving on to the next one.
  5. Seal your shoe – To finish, seal your paint job with a coat of acrylic sealer or spray paint. Keep in mind that Acrylic paint must be completely dry before sealing.

Tips for Painting Canvas Shoes with Acrylic

  • Use high-quality acrylic paints for the best results. Cheap paints may not cover well or may fade over time.
  • If you’re not happy with a section of your painting, you can always repaint it.
  • Always allow each coat of paint to dry completely before applying the next one.
  • When painting near the edges of your shoe, take care not to get paint on the sole or other areas that will be touching the ground.
  • If you want to prevent the paint from wearing off over time, sealing is needed.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Vinyl Shoes?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on vinyl shoes, but it’s best to prepare the surface first with lacquer thinner to remove any oil and grease from the surface.

You may also want to add a fabric medium to the acrylic paint when painting on shoes made from synthetic materials so it can adhere to the surface better.

How to Paint Vinyl Shoes with Acrylic?

  • Clean your shoes – First, clean the surface of your shoes with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or oil. Let them dry completely before applying paint
  • Apply lacquer thinner – For best results, apply a coat of lacquer thinner to the shoes to remove any oil and grease from the surface of the shoes
  • Mix acrylic paint with fabric medium (optional) – Mix some acrylic paint with a bit of fabric medium in a separate container and stir well.
  • Paint your shoes – Paint your shoes as you would any painting surface, using generous amounts of paint and letting some areas drip if desired
  • Let your shoes dry – Let the paint dry before applying a coat of clear acrylic sealer spray.
  • Add a layer of topcoat – After the final layer of paint has dried, you can add a layer of topcoat to protect it from wear and tear.

Best Acrylic paint for Vinyl Shoes

I love the Arteza indoor/outdoor Acrylic Paint set because it adheres amazingly well on all plastic and vinyl surfaces.

This paint is not just for vinyl. You can use it on almost all surfaces, you can imagine. Even tho it is marked as scuff-resistant and self-sealing, I always seal my work in addition. Without a top coat, it’s just not durable enough, especially on your feet.

TIP: If you are not sure about the durability, apply paint on one small spot on your shoe and wash it in your washing machine.

Tips for Painting vinyl Shoes with Acrylic

  1. Choose the Right Colors. When choosing colors for your shoes, it is important to pick shades that will be complementary to your outfit. You don’t want your shoes to clash with the rest of your look.
  2. Try Using a Sponge – When painting your shoes, try to use a sponge instead of a brush. This will help you create a more even coat of paint and avoid streaks.
  3. Let Them Dry Completely – It is important to let your shoes dry completely before wearing them. If you don’t let them dry, the paint will start coming off after a day or two.
  4. Top Coat Sealer – After your shoes have dried completely, it is important to use a top coat sealer to help protect the paint. If you don’t use it, your shoes might fade or become scratched over time.

Related Questions

Yes, you can paint Vans with acrylic paint. However, it is important to make sure that the paint is completely dry before wearing them. Otherwise, the paint will start to come off. In addition, always apply sealer when your design is done and dried completely.

You can use spray paint on shoes, but it is important to make sure that the surface is completely clean before using it. Also, make sure to use many layers of spray paint evenly with each one dry before adding the next.

No, you should not use shoe polish on acrylic paint. Shoe polish is intended for leather and will cause the acrylic paint to dissolve and come off the shoes.

Read next