Monday, February 4, 2013

Captain America Shoes

Total and epic, EPIC WIN!!


I'm crafty, what can I say? I've alluded a bunch in my Survey Sunday posts about painting these shoes after seeing some pins on Pinterest with some clever Cap artwork. I then came across a contest on a fairly new and hilarious site called Pinstrosity that gave us a month to try out a pin and submit our results to their page as a part of their anniversary. I just knew I could throw something together and this was the perfect pin to accomplish!

First, let's start off with the inspirations, which I have compiled into one photo for my reference:

I first found a picture of some Avengers-themed TOMS which led me to wanting to create a pair of the Captain America ones for myself since he's my favorite. Then, while looking for more Avengers stuff to pin to my special Avengers board, I came across some really cool logos and realized that it went well with the shoe design. I wanted a shoe that subtly showed my fangirl-ness of Captain America without going totally over the top, and this was it.

I had a few weeks to really think about what I wanted to do and how I was going to approach this project. I have painted shoes before but I used Google and Pinterest to find out a bit more about what kind of paint to use and all that. Turns out the way I did it before was pretty much how it was going to go this time around so I then set off for the first step, which was actually finding the shoes.

I scored bigtime while at a local thrift store. I was there looking at their furniture for an entirely different project (the crafting armoire/hutch/thing) and picked up some polo shirts for my husband. On a whim I decided to look through their shoes, hoping I could find something white. I hit the jackpot. I found the EXACT style of shoes I wanted (fake Chucks style FTW), in WHITE, and IN MY SIZE!!! They cost me four dollars!! They even had red and blue lining. I tell you, they were put there just for this project. Better not screw this up!

Finally today was the day I had time to make them. The original shoe was a slip-on so that was going to be a bit of a challenge, as these were lace-ups. Technically they weren't even lace-ups, as they had elastic instead. Upon closer inspection I realized that the elastic was just sewn into the stitching of the shoes and was just a zigzag S shape. I didn't even need to use a seam ripper to remove them. Before that I taped the soles with that special blue tape to keep the paint off. I actually did that a few days before so the rubber parts are a bit sticky. Not a huge deal, it just meant they stuck to my working surface of tissue paper which made it kind of annoying to move them around.

Taping the rubber bits...
Removing the elastic was easy!
 I then stuffed the shoes with tissue paper and laid them over a large plastic bag.

In the original design as well as my further inspiration artwork, the blue was spray painted onto gray with a drip design. I looked up how to turn acrylic paint into spray paint (it's easy- 1:1 paint and water in a bottle) and set off to the store for supplies. I realized that the gray was light enough that I could get away with just leaving them white, which actually turned out much better because the spray paint effect was even better. Once I got home I realized that just spraying them made the effect I was looking for and I hardly had to touch them up at all. No drip effect, but they looked perfect anyway.

Beginning to spray....

 The only problem I ran into was my fingertip hung over the top of the trigger and a lot of paint got on it (my finger, that is). I looked like I had gotten fingerprinted. No biggie, and it washed off fine. :P

  They looked very blue when I was done, because of the tape. The effect was perfect. I diluted some more paint in the cap seen in the pic above and touched up some areas for a more solid upper and to give it more of a graffiti look. It worked perfectly. I'm an accidental genius.

I was going to practice on some canvas first, but I just dove right in and was immediately satisfied with how the effect was going. I knew right then this was going to be a Pin Win. I snapped some pics and left them on my table to dry. I also removed the tape at this point.

I bought some new elastic while I was out at the store because the old elastic in the shoes was really worn out and had lost a lot of its stretch, making the shoes pretty loose when I wore them.

Since this elastic was much tighter I stretched it a bit alongside one of the old pieces and cut off a bit more, giving me two fresh lengths of elastic. Not shown, I painted them blue with some more diluted paint because the white was blindingly bright.

It was then Round II at the crafting store as I set off for the things to put the shield logo on them. I originally wanted to find a compass so I could draw perfect circles around a star but couldn't find one. What I found instead was a stencil of circles and that ended up working perfectly.

I found some star stickers and set off on some scratch paper getting the circles and ratios right before noting them and setting off to put them on the shoes. I cut out a circle of paper from the biggest circle so I could get a feel of where I wanted it on my shoe, then I taped the stencil into place and just pushed up on the canvas fabric with my fingers instead of worrying about the stencil staying in place with spray adhesive. Thankfully that method worked fine and anything that did go outside the lines just made it more graffiti-like and handmade. Perfect.

I taped the stencil into place...

...and began to paint Cap's shield, ring by ring!
 The next few pictures are of each ring as it was completed. I laid the next smaller circle in the middle of the rings of paint (no sense painting it solid... too much paint), waiting about 10 minutes between each one. Since I was painting right on canvas with no textile medium it dried really fast.

The last circle I filled solid white for the star.
 Now it was time for my star stickers to come into play. I found some really nice and stiff stars that had a strong adhesive on them and placed one in the white centers like so:

...then I used the same smallest circle stencil to paint over it in blue.

After waiting for the blue paint to dry I removed the stickers and this is what I had:

Insert squeals of delight. They turned out absolutely perfect!
 With the canvas fully painted and dried I set off to sew the elastic back in. I managed to find thread that was the exact same color as the blue paint which was a win in itself. I love having a photographic memory sometimes! Because it was the same color, nobody will ever see the stitches. :D

Both shoes had the elastic start and end on the left, so that's how I put it back.
 I put the shoes on so I could put the elastic back to a tightness that worked for me and then I just threaded them back the way they were and sewed/snipped the ends! I did hold it in place and slip the shoes on and off to make sure it wasn't too loose or tight but that was all there was to it!

I wasn't worried about the tongue being half painted because any white bits that showed through the eyelets were covered by the elastic. I do want to wash off the paint that got on the eyelets because I like the metal look wayyy better but that might happen on its own. I'll worry about that later.

But yeah, that was it! All in all it took me a couple hours start to finish. I had to make an emergency trip back to the craft store because I accidentally bought enamel paint instead of white. They come in the same white bottle so nyeahh... operator error. :P

Total cost was around 30 bucks because I had to buy everything. I had no paint/brushes/elastic/etc on hand. Here's another look at the finished product:

"They're DIY. She's very proud."
If anyone wants to make these, here is a total list of supplies:

  • White Canvas Sneakers (thrift store find- try Target or Payless)
  • Masking tape (I used the blue kind- left my soles gummy but nbd, really- got at Target)
  • Elastic (instead of laces- the original shoes had it and I liked it better than laces- found this at Michaels in their sewing aisle)
  • Spray Bottle (a buck at Target in their travel size bins)
  • Acrylic paint (in Red, White, and Blue. I just picked for my own tastes. No fabric medium needed- personal preference as well- got at Michaels in their huge acrylic paint aisle)
  •  A circle stencil (found with the more school/drafting-ish supplies at Jo Ann's)
  • Paintbrushes (I got super thin bristle ones since I was painting in a small area. I found them with T shirt painting supplies at Michaels)
  • Tissue Paper (to stuff the shoes, also to use as a mat for the shield painting- got from my mom so probably the dollar store or party store)
  • Star Stickers (found in the scrapbooking stickers aisle at Jo Ann's)
  • Thread (found at Jo Ann's) and a needle (I had one and it was a tapestry needle for cross stitching because my sewing needles went MIA. It worked just fine.)
Well, that's about it. In conclusion, it was a total, 100 percent, complete PIN WIN!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear capris and show these off! Even my husband liked them, and he's not a fan of Cap. :P


Chukkie said...


Alaskan Girl said...

These are rockin' awesome shoes! Thanks for the tutorial.