Restoring & Customising Sneakers…..
This weekend I didn’t have a lot to do, and it is Manchester so the weather wasn’t that great but I was feeling too creative to do nothing so I didn’t let the monotony of weekend life defeat me!
SO… I decided after my morning wake ‘n’ bake ‘n’ brew to get some old kicks out and resurrect them back to their natural beauty :)
To start, I would make sure you’ve got the following:
- The Playlist for your creativity -> CLICK HERE
- Rubber gloves! (Especially if you want to save your nail varnish!)
- Acetone (I just use nail polish remover as I cant find actual ‘Acetone’)
- Matte varnish
- Masking tape
- Tooth brush for scrubbing the seams
- Scotch bright pads (the yellow sponges with green scouring pads on the other side)
- Cotton buds
- Acrylics (preferable good quality leather acrylics)
- Permanent Markers
- Paint brushes
- A plate or old lunch box for a paint pallet to mix colours
- A cup of water to keep the paint brushes fresh
FIRST THINGS FIRST – take out the laces.
To start, we need to prepare the kicks for paint! Start by putting on your marigolds and using some hot water with your toothbrush to scrub the seams of the shoes. Remove any other dirt and grime from the sneaker before we start on the acetone. Next we need to make sure the room is well ventilated because we’re now going to add some acetone/nail polish remover to the ‘Scotch Bright’ sponge (or cotton pads) and rub it over the leather parts you’re planning on painting. This will remove the waxy outer layer covering the sneakers which makes sure the paint will bond to the original leather properly preventing flakes! Don’t be alarmed if you see the paint on the sponge and the leather starts to feel funny, this is supposed to happen. Keep using fresh parts of the sponge to ensure you remove evenly. Make sure you also give the sneaker a little wipe down after your finished to ensure you’ve removed any excess cotton/sponge.
Next we need to mask them babies up! Use your masking tape to protect the parts you’re not going to paint like the top of the inside of the shoe, and the outer-sole. Always use making tapes wherever you can! No matter how much of a steady hand you think you have, you will soon see that masking tape will be your best friend as it makes painting them so much smoother and gives more of an even finish leaving less room for error!
Now you have your canvas, its time to get painting! Always start with the seams, trust me it makes the ride so much easier. Make sure you get a firm brush and get right into all those nooks and crannies, otherwise you may be left with a few dirty looking spots! I try to use long, even brush strokes when painting – this ensures an overall even and smooth finish. You will probably need to paint a base coat first, especially if you want to change from the original colour so stock up on the white paint! Don’t be worried if you have to use a few coats, you don’t want to be caking it on but as long as you leave the layers to dry before painting the next one, you should be all gravy.
When you are happy with the colours and the finish, carefully put off the masking tape and add the finishing touches around the seams etc. then leave them aside to dry for half a day/overnight.
Don’t forget, it’s your shoe so if you’re feeling extra creative, you can add some graff or sketch something on and paint that – Make it custom and make it YOURS!
I used some bright red, matte ‘Viva Glam’ Mac lipstick and parked a big smacker on the side of a pair of my AM 90s. Unfortunately the Red didn’t stand out as much as I wanted it to against the black, but I know it will look dope if I do it again but next time on a lighter background – see I’m no pro, it’s all a giant learning curve!
The final step is to seal the deal with the varnish. The varnish is important as it helps seal the shoes. It can also help to add elasticity to the end result, which protects the shoe from general wear and tear. To varnish, apply/spray two thin, even coats all over the shoe and set to dry overnight then you can lace them babies UP!
Check out the kicks I did this weekend:
Restored ‘White Nike Royals’ – These were for my best friend and my house mate Leah Cakes, she was over the moon!
I had some old and dull grey AM90′s lying about that I decided needed a new outfit, so I customised these back to life!
Restored Adidas Originals (yes, yes I know… I just couldn’t help myself with the Jordan insole)
I also vamped up these babies while I was at it, the while sole was starting to crack and I added a few Lemony bits to these Customised AM90s
Remember I’m no pro, this is just a fun hobby that challenges my creativity whilst feeding my love for kicks and the best thing is – you can only get better with practice! Not to mention that immense feeling when you’ve restored and old natty-ratty pair of kicks back to their natural beauty! You SHALL go to the ball Cinders!
Don’t expect all materials to be so adaptable, for instance I know from experience that patent leather doesn’t take the paint very well.
Keep using fresh water to wash the paint brushes to keep the brushes fresh and avoid mixing unwanted cocktails of paint.
Remember to use the Acetone (or nail polish remover) in a well ventilated room, don’t want to be passing out and landing face first in the paint!
So why not try it yourself and tweet us your photos @BigEyesLilSoles
Peace, Riz & CAKE!