Friday, October 8, 2010

A Shoe-torial!

Dear Readers, I am going to try to get a tutorial up at least once a month, so to kick things off I bring you the wonderful wisdom of my local shoe repair guy. Every lolita should have a shoe guy, for the little repairs and the big ones. Having a shoe guy one can trust to good work and to tell you when there is nothing they can do is a huge money saver. Which leads me to today's tutorial.
I had gotten a pair of Bodyline Heart Buckle shoes in white as an exchange with a close friend for some sewing work. After several failed coordinates, I decided they would serve me much better in black, so I took them to my shoe guy. He told me that since the shoes were synthetic there was nothing he could do that would for sure work, but he recommended that if I wanted to give it a shot, to try sharpie and shoe polish. Here is the result:

Allow yourself 2 days for this project because it helps to let the shoes dry over night before polishing, but in a pinch you could do it in an afternoon. You will need some nail polish remover, black and green sharpies (I used the big ones to save time, but you will need some fine point and ultra fine point black for the details later on), tape, and shoe polish. For the shoe polish you can use the stuff in the squeeze applicator bottle, but I already owned the tin, so that is what I used. Also, please do this in a well ventilated area. I take no responsibility for headaches for the fumes from markers. I did this on my porch.

First you will need to remove any parts you don't want to color, and cover any parts that can't be removed with tape. Then clean the shoes with the nail polish remover. A quick once over will remove any gunk from the shoes, especially if they have been worn. Also, it is good to keep around to get the sharpie off your fingers later on.

After everything is covered, start in with the green! The green doesn't have to be perfect, but you will need to get a pretty good coat on, or else the black will appear blueish.

Start covering with the black. The coat with the black needs to be pretty close to perfect or the green will show through.

Once the black has totally covered the green, let it dry over night. The sharpie will feel a little tacky feeling, and will stink. Letting the shoes air over night will set the sharpie and let some of the smell dissipate.

The next day, take the tape off of the shoes. You may need a knife to do this. Then apply shoe polish and buff to a shine. The shoe polish will not correct any color problems; that has to be done beforehand, but it will seal the shoes and protect the color. You may find you will have to touch up the shoes from time to time but the color will not crack or scrape off.

Good Luck and Happy Crafting!


  1. Wow, I'm sorry, but they look cheap and tacky as hell. Just doesn't seem a good reason to ruin perfectly good shoes, sorry. :/

  2. I don't know what's wrong with Tono, but I think they look good! I mean, I wouldn't do that to a pair of BTSSB shoes, but $20 Bodyline shoes you weren't wearing anyway? I can't see any flaws in the final shot, they look like nice, shiny black shoes!

  3. Awesome. I'm going to go try this now.

  4. I agree with MageWeave. There's nothing wrong with the final product! I'm jealous! The green is a really good idea though!!!

  5. I was going to say "omg that looks terrible!" when I saw the photo before the shoe polish, but after shoe polish it looks PERFECT! You did a really good job! And the green first coat is brilliant :) It looks like a true black ♥

    Have you worn these out yet to give them a "sturdiness" test?

  6. Those are fabulous :)
    Should I end up with shoes in a colour that doesn't suit me, I will defiantly try this :)

  7. I appreciate all comments, and I do try to respond in a timely manner, so always feel free to ask questions.

    I do see what you mean, in that the color is not quite as good as if I had just bought black shoes. That said, this pair was purchased by a friend of mine in the wrong size, and they were gathering dust in the back of my closet. Although not as good as the original Bodyline black Heart Buckle shoes (and far from the BTSSB originals), for knock around lolita shoes they are just fine. I probably will not be wearing these with my best outfits (unless weather conditions suggest that wearing junky shoes is advisable) but as I wear lolita almost everyday, they have been getting a lot of use in casual, everyday outfits.

    Also, you are more than welcome to comment here and express your opinions, but if you can not do it without the use of profanity, please do not post. I make an effort in my own life to not cuss, and would appreciate that others respect that on my blog. Future comments with cuss words will be deleted.

    I agree that before the shoe polish they were very shiny and quite cheap looking. The idea with the green is to use the color wheel to one's advantage. Black sharpie comes out purple on white plastic, so the green being across from purple (although yes, yellow is technically the compliment to purple) cuts the purple hue, and leaves a true black. Shoe polish, although it will not color plastic shoes, will cut the shine and give a much more pleasing finish. It also does add to the durability of the color.

    With regards to sturdiness, I have worn these around and have not experienced a markedly higher rate of wear and tear than would be expected from shoes that have not been colored. What I did discover, upon tripping on the side walk :P is that if the shoes get a deep scuff, the process will need to be repeated on that area. I scuffed down to the white, and had to re-apply the green and black sharpie prior to polishing and buffing the scuff out.

    I would like to point out that this technique will only work going from a lighter color to a darker one, ideally black and possibly brown. I have not tried to go brown, so if you do, please share your result.

    Best Wishes,

  8. My mom used to just spray paint my dance shoes and they really looked like they had always been that color. As long as the coat is light, they don't flake. Yours look very good.