Monday, February 27, 2012

Mondrian Inspired Shoes

I had so much fun re-doing these shoes! They weren't in the worst shape to begin with, the soles and upper had held up pretty well, but the heels were totally tore up. I blame my bike. I was definitely glad to be able to save these, as once upon a time I'd really loved them, but I also had other motives in doing this project. 

I feel like I should maybe explain the inspiration behind this project... well, you know, aside from Piet Mondrian.
-acrylic paint

You've may have seen this image before. I've been ogling this amazing image from Beau à la Louche since I discovered it on Pinterest a few months ago. It's maybe the prettiest cake I've ever seen in my life! So, although I have no delusions about my many inadequacies as a cook, I decided to try this out for my birthday last month. The results...

Um... not quite what I'd hoped. Yeah, it's pretty putrid looking, but edible at least!
I'd been planning to try and resurrect these shoes anyway, so it seemed like a good time to redeem myself. 

Step 1: Start by putting a few lengths blue painters tape on your cutting mat and cut each piece into 1/4" strips. Then separate the strips you've just cut to make getting at them easier as you work.

Step 2: Place the strips on the your shoe in a grid pattern. 
*If you need some inspiration for your design, I found TONS of great images at the tumblr blog  Fuck Yeah De Stijl. It's excellent!!

Step 4: Once you've taped down a design that you like, go back and press down all of your tape strips again. This will prevent the paint from seeping beneath it.

Step 5: Paint all of the areas of your shoe that you want to be colored with a primer first. This will give the next layer of paint a better surface to stick to.

When you're finished with the step your shoe will look like this:

Step 6: Start painting in the different portions of your grid with various colors and let it dry (it may be necessary to apply two coats to each block).
*If the heels of your shoes are as damaged as mine were, you'll want to pay extra attention to them. There's no way to make them perfect, but having them one color will go a long way to camouflage the imperfections.

When you're finished with the step, your shoe will look like this:

Step 7: Slowly remove all of the tape from the shoe. 

Step 8: Touch up any areas where the paint went beneath the taped with black paint.

Step 9: Change out the laces for a pair in a primary color. They'll brighten the shoes up even more.

*As an optional last step you can coat the shoe in a clear sealant, if you're worried about the paint peeling away. Since all leathers have different finishes this is more of a concern with some shoes than with others. Just use your best judgement:)

*painter's tape 
*cutting mat
*rotary knife
*paint brush


  1. What a Great Idea!

    1. Thank you! These were REALLY fun to make.

  2. I absolutely love these!
    You know they made me think of The Partridge Family. I have a pair of black canvass shoe I have been thinking of painting.I just haven't thought how I want to go about doing it.

    1. Haha! You're not the only one these shoes have brought up memories of the Partridge Family for! Wasn't thinking of that when I made them, but the resemblance is hard to deny:)

      Keep me posted it you makeover your shoes. I'd LOVE to see how they turn out!

  3. Qué bonitos te han quedado los zapatos. Me gustan mucho.
    Besos desde Sevilla.

    1. Muchas gracias, Eva.

      Abrazos desde Brooklyn!

  4. These are incredible! You did a great job

  5. TOO COOL! I'm not sure if I'd have the guts to wear such bright colors (I go for grays and blacks and blues oh my), but at the same time, the shoes look just THAT awesome.

    (I cracked up at the piece of cake. That's pretty much how mine would look as well. My idea of cooking is microwaving easy mac or pouring a bowl of cereal!)

    1. Ha! The sad thing is that was the best pic of the cake I could come up with! The rest were so horrible that it looked like I had done a bad job on purpose. Next year I'm totally gonna hit up one of my kitchen savvy friends to help me out . Lots and lots of help!

  6. Brilliant! Shared on facebook >

    1. Thank you, Erica! And thanks for the share:)

  7. What type of paint did you use?

    1. I used Fiebing's acrylic paint for leather. I think you're probably safe with any acrylic paints you have lying around, though you may want to finish with a clear sealant if it seems in danger of peeling.