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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Painted Cowboy Boots: DIY guide for painting leather

I'm so excited to share with you my leather painted cowboy boots! These hand-painted cowboy boots have a new fresh fun look! Do you have an old pair of boots laying around that you're ready to paint?? I hope you will be inspired to give it a try!

Brightly hand-painted cowboy boots with antlers and blue bust

One of my Curiously Creative group members recently asked if I had ever painted boots as she had purchased an old worn-out pair while thrifting and she wanted to use them as a door stopper/planter on her screened-in porch. I've painted a LOT of leather and I LOVE boots so I was instantly inspired!

We live in Texas and we love boots! Matt and I, and all of our family members, have multiple pairs of boots! We aren't cowboys or rodeo people but we do love a good pair of boots. Matt was willing to donate a pair of his VERY WORN out leather Lucchese boots knowing full well that after I got ahold of them he'd never wear them again!

hand painted cowboy boot before

Watch this week's DIY Hand-Painted Cowboy Boot YouTube video.

PREP Your Painted Leather Boots FIRST

To prep your leather boot surface (any leather surface actually), you simply need to clean really well with a good cleaner. I prefer White Lightning by Dixie Belle but you can also use a vinegar and water solution at 1:1 ratio. It’s important to rinse well after you clean with either and dry well.

DB White Lightning Cleaner

To Prime or Not To Prime?

Most leather does NOT need to be primed as long as you are using chalk mineral paint! However, depending on the project, you may need to prime. I primed the leather headboard and footboard of this bed as the leather had a slick finish. I used a single coat of BOSS primer to prep the surface.

DB Boss White

Another reason you may want to prime the leather first is if you are painting dark leather and you plan to paint it with a lighter colored paint. I recommend BOSS for this as well.

I did not prime these boots mostly because I knew they would not be worn. However, even if (and when) I decide to paint a pair for myself, I very likely will NOT prime them.

Brightly hand-painted cowboy boots with antlers and blue bust

Painting the Leather Cowboy Boot

The painting technique I planned to use here was a blended reverse ombre using the colors from this photo I found during a google search.

This blended reverse ombre technique requires several paint colors and it is helpful if you use like colors to blend together.

partially painted boot in background with seven cups of bright paint and paint brushes

I started at the bottom with cobalt blue (make sure your paint is mixed really well) and added a bit of caviar black just above the soles to deepen that color.

painting cowboy boot with cobalt blue paint

I then worked my way up through Peacock Turquoise, Bright Peony Pink, Honky Tonk Red, and finally into Florida Orange using my favorite craft-sized 1” flat artist brushes and a few spritzes of water.

partially painted boot in background with seven cups of bright paint and paint brushes

PRO TIP: Having a color plan and understanding what colors will be created when the two colors meet and blend is really helpful. If this is new to you, I recommend practicing on a paper plate first.

Speaking of colors that blend well, look at this Peacock Turquoise color as it blended it into the Peony Pink. Do you see that gorgeous violet that it creates?

Brightly hand-painted cowboy boots with ombre effect on boot

The chalk mineral paint by Dixie Belle is highly pigmented and you can often do this in one coat - .just as I did here.

If you use more water than I did, your paint may be sheerer and you may need to let your first coat dry and return to add a second coat for better coverage for a bolder look.

Avoid Perfectionism!

It is really helpful to approach this from a NON-perfectionist angle! Blending on one boot and trying to match that blend on the second boot might be frustrating if you are aiming for perfection! It is also a bit challenging to blend AROUND an object but don't let that stop you from trying!

Brightly hand-painted cowboy boots with antlers and blue bust

I am a recovering perfectionist and let me just say that my creative life is much more enjoyable now that I have released myself from those chains!

Can you paint ALL things leather?

Yes, you can! And it holds up well! I've painted a lot of leather! Here are some of my other painted leather projects. Each has a unique story and I can speak from experience when I say they have all held up beautifully over the years.

  1. Gray Painted Leather Headboard / Footboard - as part of a whole room make-over

  2. Whimsy Meets Glam Desk Re-Design - with leather desktop

  3. Leather Over-Sized Office Chair - my most viewed YouTube video

  4. Pink Whimsical Leather Chair -add some stripes for a fun whimsical vibe

  5. London Inspired Leather Suitcase - with a touching sentimental story

Adding Artistic Details to the Painted Leather Boots

Now it's time for the artistic detail by following the stitching on the painted cowboy boots. I used Cobalt Blue as my underlayer and applied it with a very small detail brush. I LOVE detailed work like this it just calms me!!

I chose Limeade to blend with the Cobalt to really make this stitched artwork POP! I applied the lime paint to the center of the stitched area and then used my brush to blend it into the blue.

Brightly hand-painted cowboy boots with ombre effect on boot with beaded necklace

PRO TIP: I used these Cobalt Blue & Limeade as a blend on furniture pieces often as they work really well together!

Applying Gold Leaf to the Soles of the Painted Leather Boots

Now to apply the leaf! You just lay the trimmed Dixie Shine sheet over the tacky Stick With Me adhesive, gold side UP, and rub it into place. I then used a toothbrush to rub over the area to help release the gold from the backing. It’s so easy and NO mess!!

It releases from the clear backing and the clear sheet is all you have to toss in the trash!

Applying Gold Leaf is a pretty easy process BUT there are some key steps you need to follow for success every time. Click HERE for my Gold Leafing 101 Tutorial!

close up of the gold leafed heal of hand-painted cowboy boot

Protecting the Painted Leather Boots

And finally, let’s protect these beauties! You have options here.

First, this paint does not have to be sealed. It will self-seal in 30 days!

But for a more hardy version of this finish, I recommend a top coat of either Hemp Seed Oil, Clear Best Dang Paste Wax, or even the Easy Peasy Spray Wax.

Howdy Hemp Oil from Dixie Bell
DB Best-Dang-Wax
Easy Peasy Spray Wax by Dixie Belle

For boots, I prefer paste wax or hemp oil. It really soaks into the paint and conditions the boot while leaving a really nice sheen.

The FINISHED LOOK: Painted Leather Boots

And THIS is the final look! Aren't these painted cowboy boots fabulous??? If only these fit me!!!! I am SO in love with them that I've been scouring the thrift stores for a pair to paint for myself!

Brightly hand-painted cowboy boots with antlers and blue bust

I love the color combo here and just look how amazing they look with my beaded and turquoise jewelry!!! It's a whole vibe and I'm here for it!

Brightly hand-painted cowboy boots with antlers and cowboy hat

close up of the back of hand-painted cowboy boot with green-blue details

close up of the gold leafed heal of hand-painted cowboy boot

So I'm dying to know, are you inspired? Will you try this? Let me know in the comments!!

More Painted Leather Project Inspiration:

Click on any photo below for more before and after photos and detailed painting instructions.

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!

Products used on these Leather Painted Cowboy Boots:

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