Activities with Kids – Painting Canvas Shoes

Painting canvas shoes is a great way to add color and personality to your kids’ wardrobes! This DIY craft project is quite simple to do and yields great results, making it the perfect craft for kids. All you need is a pair of canvas shoes – old or new – and a few basic craft supplies.

Painting canvas shoes
Basics of painting canvas shoes

What you will need:

  • Canvas shoes
  • White fabric paint
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic paint in various colors
  • Acrylic finisher
  • Firm Paintbrushes
  • Fabric markers
  • Black sharpie
  • Masking tape


  • Find a pair of shoes that you’d like to work with. If you’re buying a new pair of shoes for this project, remember not to spend too much on it because you’re going to be painting all over them! White shoes are best because all colors will show up on them brightly. If you’d like to work with a colored pair of shoes, opt for lighter colors. Though black shoes offer a bold background, you need to use a lot paint on it for the colors to show clearly.
  • Begin by washing the shoes, especially if they are an old pair. Even new shoes may have stains and dirt from handling.
  • Remove the shoelaces. Cover areas you won’t be painting with masking tape. This is useful for protecting areas like the heels and soles of the shoes, as well as the insides of the shoe.
  • Decide on a pattern or design that you would like to paint. When working with kids, stick to simple patterns like zigzag lines, straight lines, polka dots, and shapes like stars and hearts. If your child is a budding artist who is more comfortable with complicated designs, you can try patterns that are a bit more difficult.
  • If you’re working with a colored pair of shoes, paint a base color over the area you’d like to draw on. Be sure to use two or three coats of the base color. Using white for a base color makes the rest of the drawing and painting much easier. If you’re covering the entire shoe in a drawing or patterns, you can paint directly onto the shoe or cover the entire shoe in a base color first -- whichever works best for your design. If you want the shoe’s color to show, skip this step.
  • Lightly draw your design or pattern onto the shoe using a pencil. If you use a pen or draw thick lines, it may show through the paint. You can use a stencil if necessary.
  • Fill in the drawing with paint. Don’t worry if your drawing doesn’t seem to be coming out the way you imagined it. The finishing touches make all the difference. For fine lines, use fabric markers instead of paint. If you mess up, just paint over it and start again.
  • Once you’re done painting, add details and outline your drawings with a black marker wherever necessary. This will give your drawing a finished look.
  • You can add words or drawings to the rubber sole with the markers.
  • Once you’re done, cover the entire painted area (including the soles if you’ve drawn on them) with an acrylic finisher. This will prevent the paint from running.
  • Finally, remove the masking tape and put the laces back on. You can replace the original laces with colored laces or ribbon to match the work you’ve done on the shoe.

How to paint canvas shoes
Ready canvas shoes!

There you have it - your very own painted canvas shoes! Let your kids wear their artwork with pride and they’ll be sure to get admiring looks from friends and strangers alike.

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