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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Custom Hand-Painted Canvas Shoes to Elevate Your School Spirit

I always love an opportunity to elevate a mom's school spirit vibe and these custom hand painted pair of VANS canvas shoes is an easy way to do it!

This pair of shoes takes care of two kiddos and two sports at once! A little bit of football, a sprinkling of cheer, an honorable mention of their Mimi, and one happy mom (who happens to be my friend)!

custom cheer and football hand painted canvas shoes by Traceys Fancy

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Before: Football & Cheer Canvas Shoes

But FIRST...the before! For this custom hand-painted canvas shoes project, I started with a new clean pair of Vans but honestly, any pair of cheap white canvas shoes will work too!

Supplies Used

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Custom Hand-Painted Canvas Shoes

The basics of canvas shoe painting is very similar to painting on denim.

Let me give you a rundown of these basics so you can get busy creating a pair for yourself or someone you know!

Prime the Shoes to Avoid Paint Bleed

Spritz the canvas shoes with water to lightly dampen.

spraying water on white Van shoes

Paint a single coat of very watered down Fluff white.

painting white on white Van shoes

You may ask why I painted a white shoe's for a good reason. Let me explain!

white Vans with white base layer of paint

The canvas shoes that have not been primed with a paint layer will allow the paint to "crawl" between the fibers and your painted design will bleed outside its borders.

PRO TIP: Prime the shoe with a coat of chalk mineral paint first and let dry. This creates a canvas to draw and paint on that will not bleed.

Sketch your Design First

You may now draw your design. Using a pencil, I like to create patterns on paper first.

cutting design sketch out

I do this to get my image exactly the way I want it....and then I use it to trace the outer edge of the design.

I did this here with both the football number and the megaphone.

Laying Down Color with Craft Brushes

For this pair of canvas shoes, I dedicated one shoe to football and the other to cheerleading.

When adding color I prefer to use slightly watered down chalk mineral paint and paint in thin layers.

Painting a custom hand painted cheer megaphone on white Van canvas shoes

My favorite brushes to use for this small detail work is an angled brush as well as a liner brush.

Painting a custom hand painted number 3 on white Van canvas shoes

Simply work your way around the shoe adding color and layers as you go.

custom cheer and football hand painted canvas shoes by Traceys Fancy

Add Whimsical Details

My design always starts small and then I often add to it as I go.

For example.....both the checkerboard on the football shoe and the polka dots on the cheer shoe were added AFTER I had completed the entire design.

I LOVE being able to personalize my hand painted wearable art.

My friend asked if I would add her mom's name MIMI to the shoes so her presence would be felt at the kids games.

custom cheer and football hand painted canvas shoes by Traceys Fancy

Doing that was such an honor....her mother was an angel on earth and is missed by both of these grandchildren.

Finish for a LASTING Look

To finish the shoe, it must be sealed for protection.

I use Easy Peasy Spray wax to seal the paint and allow for protection from wear and tear.

PRO TIP: As an added note I do need to mention the use of paint pens. They are very popular and quite easy to use especially for detail work such as this. However, paint pens WILL run/smear if they get wet. They must be heat-set. This can be done by tossing your shoes in the drier for about 30 minutes.

The Finished Look: Custom Hand Painted Canvas Shoes

Aren't they adorable?

custom cheer and football hand painted canvas shoes by Traceys Fancy

I love this pair so much and love knowing my friend is wearing them proudly to the games as she supports her precious Varsity football player and Varsity cheerleader!

More Custom Canvas Shoes Inspiration

For more painted canvas shoe ideas, you can check out several other of my other projects below.

Did you know that you can also paint leather? Visit my Painted Leather Boots blog here for all the details.

Click on any photo below for more up-close photos and all the design details


How can I help with YOUR Painted Canvas project?

Paint Your Own Project

If you would like to paint your own canvas/denim project but would like more (video) instruction, I have a very detailed (and affordable) course, The Art of Painted Denim, that guides you through all the steps to create your own canvas/denim. This 1.5+ hour course gives you all the tricks and tips to make it look great and just as importantly make it LAST through the wash!

Allow ME to paint it for YOU!

I offer a variety of painted canvas & denim projects that I custom create for you! You provide the vision, we collaborate on the final look, and I create a beautiful lasting piece just for you! See all my painted denim/canvas offerings HERE.


JOIN ME FOR MORE...with Curiously Creative

If you enjoyed this and want more of a deep dive into home decor and DIY processes, I would love it if you joined my exclusive online creative group, Curiously Creative. I show up LIVE to guide you through every step of updating, upcycling, crafting, and creating on-trend home decor and gift-giving ideas!

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custom cheer and football hand painted canvas shoes by Traceys Fancy

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