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Custom Shoes with Stamps, Stazon, and Copic Markers

Sharpie doodle shoes are a popular project because they’re pretty darn cool! As much as I love doodling, I honestly didn’t trust my busted up thumb self to competently draw on a pair of shoes, so I decided to try to a different approach. I have a really cool set of sailor tattoo stamps that I love using, and it has a pair of kissing swallows that I thought would be perfect for the shoe’s toes, so I decided to give stamping a try.

This week’s tutorial isn’t so much a step by step tutorial for an exact item as it is a set of suggestions and ideas. I don’t suggest anyone rush out to buy the same set of stamps and markers as me to make an exact copy of this pair of shoes, but the process should help folks who are looking to customize a pair of canvas shoes.

Custom Shoes with Stamps, Stazon, and Copics

Materials for stamped custom shoes

  • Stamps
  • Stazon ink
  • Copic markers
  • Plain cloth shoes

That’s it! I highly recommend using Stazon ink instead of ‘normal’ stamping ink because it is solvent based and much more permanent. You don’t need an expensive pair of shoes for this project – I found these on a sale rack at the mall for only $5!

boring white shoes

I know Stazon and Copics cost a little more than usual stamp pads and markers (especially since I live in Hawaii), so I like to just plan ahead by a couple days in order to get a deal on Amazon. I make my Amazon Prime membership work for me!



How to stamp shoes

1. Before you break out the ink, play around with your stamps to see where you want to place the designs.

position the stamps

2. When you are ready to stamp, make sure to use one hand inside the shoe to support the fabric. I suggest pressing with both the inside the shoe hand and the stamp-holding hand to make sure the design is clearly visible. Speaking of “clear,” this stamp is a great illustration of why you should actually wipe down your stamps after using them instead of dropping them to soak in rubbing alcohol. I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea – the stamp actually soaked up the ink-filled alcohol and swelled up! I was glad that the alcohol evaporated out of the stamp and it shrank back to size, but the color is permanent now.

support the stamps

3. If your stamp doesn’t transfer as much ink as you’d like, it’s easy to touch up the lines with a black Sharpie.

filling in the stamp with Sharpie

4. Allow the Stazon to dry for several minutes and then color with Copics to your heart’s content. Because Copics are designed to blend and the shoe’s cloth is a porous surface, the Copics will blur the Stazon if you color directly over the stamped lines, especially when the ink is wet. When I let the Stazon dry and made sure to “color in the lines,” I didn’t have any blurring problems.

getting ready to color the shoe

coloring the shoe

5. Enjoy your new kicks!

custom canvas shoes

Because I like to be able to provide answers and set reasonable expectations, I prepared myself for the worst and drenched one of the shoes under the kitchen faucet to see if the design was waterproof. As you can see, the red blurred some, but the design was not completely ruined. Based on this experiment, I’d say these shoes are safe to wear outdoors, but that you probably shouldn’t actually wash them. This probably depends on your shoes, though – the makeup of the fabric and whether they’re coated with anything that prevents the marker from sinking in – so trying to keep them reasonably dry seems like the best policy. You could, of course, color with Sharpies instead of Copics because they should be more waterproof. If you do, remember that Copics and Sharpies color different. Copics lay down ink that lets the colors and designs behind show through, but a dark Sharpie will completely obscure whatever is behind it.

wet shoe

Have you decorated your shoes before? What’s your favorite way to decorate them?



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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Kathy Roeth March 13, 2014, 15:25

    What fun! I have a friend who decorated a large fabric bag for carrying art materials. So many possibilities! Great idea to use the stamps!

    • Natashalh March 13, 2014, 17:13

      That’s cool! I’ve been thinking about making cloth tags with stamps and I’m sure I’ll do a tutorial if I ever actually get around to making them.

  • Linda B March 13, 2014, 16:14

    Love this idea although my art wouldn’t be as neat. Someone on another team is selling a ton of handpainted shoes, so I guess there’s a market for them.

    • Natashalh March 13, 2014, 17:12

      I’ve seen lots of painted shoes on Etsy, too, but I’m sure I couldn’t accomplish that! Sticking to stamps and markers is much safer for me. =)

  • Marieken March 16, 2014, 00:43

    Your shoes look awesome! I have a pair of shoes that had spikes glued to it, but most of them fell of, so I was thinking just this morning that I needed to do a little project with them šŸ™‚

    • Natashalh March 16, 2014, 20:28

      Fun! I bet I’d hurt myself with spiky shoes, but I’m sure there are lots of fun possibilities!

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