by Hannah Shepherd
For quite some time I have wanted to try decorating shoes with alcohol inks. After watching a few videos online where people used alcohol based Sharpie pens to draw onto the shoe and then used rubbing alcohol to blend the colours. I wanted to try out the Piῆata alcohol inks on fabric just to see if they would work in the same way.
I purchased some inexpensive, plain white canvas shoes and then experimented with putting the alcohol ink down first or the rubbing alcohol. I found that when putting the ink down first the colour became more concentrated in that area whereas with putting the alcohol down first you get more of a blend. I alternated between using a pipette and a spray bottle with the rubbing alcohol.
I thoroughly coated the shoe in alcohol inks and then added some additional gold ink over the top which dispersed quite nicely. I added a touch of white ink onto the shoe and I found this to be far more opaque and solid, it almost sat on top of the fabric as opposed to spreading through it like the other colours. It was very hard to disperse that with the rubbing alcohol but the Claro Extender that Piῆata do actually worked incredibly well to dilute the colour.
I had tried to tape off the sole of the shoe, however the tape didn’t stick very well to the textured area so as I had got lots of ink over the white sole I decided to cover the back portion of the sole in black Posca pen. The Posca pen adheres really well to the plastic/rubber. You could always use it to draw over the fabric as well.
I set this shoe aside to dry and then began working on the other one.
I used various Setacolor paints by Pebeo to paint a base coat of colour on the shoe. The pink colour is a suede effect paint, the green is glitter, the chocolate brown is shimmer and the purple at the front is the Setacolor Opaque paint. You can simply wash out your brush in water when using these paints and the colours can mix together like ordinary paint will, so from buying the primary colours you could actually achieve mixing up a lot of colours, however the shade range that the Setacolor paints come in is relatively big and they have some lovely colours.
Once my base coat of paint was dry I then used Tulip fabric paint to draw some designs onto the shoe. I chose to do a leafy design on the front and some flowers on the back of the shoe. I then used a gold Tulip paint to dot around the edge of the shoe. Tulip paint takes a little while to dry and dries raised up. You can buy them in various finishes, such as glow in the dark and puffy. They are very easy to use as they have a narrow nozzle you squeeze the paint through so are great for doing finer details or line work. If you would prefer to not have the Tulip paint so 3D you can squeeze it onto a palette and paint it on.
Setacolor paints do need to be fixed with heat to make them water/wash proof but for use on the shoes as long as they are not getting soaked in water it really should be fine. Tulip paint does not need to be fixed in any way, once it’s dry it’s permanent.
For both of the shoes I took the laces out and sprayed them with Brusho and let those dry. After checking on the Colourcraft website I read that there is no way to permanently fix Brusho onto fabric, however as it is on shoe laces and they could be removed if you need to wash the shoes it should not be an issue.
The finished shoes look really funky, there are a lot ways to decorate and customise shoes and you can get many of your supplies from us, including all of the fabric paints used, the Brusho, spray bottles, pipettes and paint brushes. Rubbing alcohol can be purchased online very easily and I would recommend putting down some newspaper or plastic sheeting to protect your surfaces.