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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Custom Hand Painted Vans - Pirate School Spirit Themed Shoes

I love a good challenge....and I found it in these custom hand painted Vans!

My client asked me to paint a school spirit pair of Vans for her to support her granddaughter.

Custom Hand Painted Vans - Pirate School Spirit Themed Shoes by Traceys Fancy

If you are a new reader, hello and welcome to the Fancy Fam! With over a decade of furniture painting experience, I can honestly say that sharing my projects through this blog is still my favorite way to inspire! I've got years worth of fun and creative ways to update your home decor and furniture through paint! If this sounds like something you'd like to have delivered to you every Sunday be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter here!


The Design Plan: Custom Hand Painted Vans

I was sent the most detailed request list I've ever received. In fact, I had to remind her that shoes are small and we only had so much room to work with. 

I knew from the list she needed them to be special and I was determined to make that happen.

Her list included:

  • school colors (orange/black which we were both concerned would look like Halloween shoes)

  • the words - color guard

  • her granddaughters name ( word)

  • flags

  • rifle

  • the schools name

  • pirate mascot

  • pearls

Woah! That's a lot for one pair of shoes. To be fair, she said I didn't need to incorporate all the above... and she also said I could incorporate other colors. 

So... let's see how I did!

Supplies Used: Pirate Theme Custom Hand Painted Vans

Sharpie (black)

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How to Create Custom Hand Painted Vans: EIGHT Simple Steps for a lasting look

Painting on canvas shoes requires the following EIGHT basics steps:

  1. Prime the shoe - I usually use Fluff paint to do this. It's similar in color to shoe but gives a clean base with which to work.

  2. Let Dry!

  3. Draw your Art - I like to do this in pencil in order to easy make changes as I go

  4. Seal your Drawing - Once I'm happy with my artwork, I use a Sharpie marker to make it permanent.

  5. Paint your Shoe - I prefer to use chalk mineral paints and water

  6. Let Dry!

  7. Set your Outlines - To really make the artwork pop, I use a Posca Pen in black to

  8. Seal with Easy Peasy Spray Wax - Sealing your project is crucial in allowing you to wear (and wash) the shoes over any over again.

If this feels like a bit more than you are ready to tackle yourself, I do take custom orders for custom painted shoes. Click HERE for more information!

A Closer Look at the Pirate-Themed School Spirit Hand Painted Vans

The water color effect with the yellow, pink and orange was so much fun.  I use this same sort of tie-dye look as a background on painted fabrics often. 

custom hand painted vans blending backgroung color by Traceys Fancy

I used clip art that my client sent as inspiration for the flag girl silhouette as well as the pirate. I was feeling very Jack Sparrow vibes while painting that pirate!  

Custom Hand Painted Vans - Pirate School Spirit Themed Shoes by Traceys Fancy

The string of pearls addition to each shoe might be my favorite part! 

custom hand painted Vans with pirate theme and pearls by Traceys Fancy

The tribal art that I added to the side panels is actually the same print on one of the flags that my client's granddaughter uses in her routines.  I LOVE adding small details like that to make the project really personal.  

custom hand painted Vans with pirate theme and tribal design by Traceys Fancy

And finally....there is even a color guard rifle tucked on the side!

Custom Hand Painted Vans - Pirate School Spirit Themed Shoes by Traceys Fancy

The Finished Look: Custom Hand Painted Vans

So....what do you think?

I feel like this was a home run!

Custom Hand Painted Vans - Pirate School Spirit Themed Shoes by Traceys Fancy

Every single element was included and I cannot wait to get these into this proud grandmothers hands!

I realize Vans shoes are pricey and you may not want to try this for the first time on these shoes. But there is another option...

white Vans before custom hand painting

Did you know that this same style shoe is available at a much lesser price least for beginner painters?

You can even order them from Amazon Prime and give this a just two days! 

white canvas shoes for hand painting custom design

Most of all....enjoy the process!

More Inspiration: Painted Canvas Shoes

I love painting canvas shoes! And I have several other past projects to share with you. Here are some additional designs for your inspiration:

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 Hand Painted Vans - Pirate School Spirit Themed Shoes by Traceys Fancy

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