If you’re a traditionalist, Labor Day marks the last day to wear those white canvas sneakers until next Memorial Day. Which is why we’ve brought back this great post on cool DIY white sneakers makeovers for you, so you can get more wear out of your favorite white kicks. t
(Personally, I’m not a traditionalist. So I’ll be sporting my white Converse low-tops until my toes crave the warmth of wooly socks and boots. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t wear both!)
Instead of a trip to your local shoe store, consider popping over to the closest art supply or craft store to give your white sneakers–or your kids’ white sneakers, if they’re not destroyed!–a second life. So many crafty moms and DIY bloggers have been sharing cool sneaker decorating ideas over the years, and you don’t generally need a whole lot of equipment or major crafting skills for most of them. If you follow their tutorials, you’ll not only have a pair of custom kicks, but you’ll probably save a couple of bucks, too.
Also, before you attempt any of the DIYs, I definitely recommend tossing your canvas sneakers into the washing machine for a quick cleaning.
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Sneaker Decorating Ideas: Basic Supplies
First, here’s a list of some of the supplies you might need depending on the style you’re going for. Don’t skimp on quality. You want your hard work to last!
- Sharpies in black and multicolor packs
- Fabric Spray Paint (not to be confused with regular spray paint)
- High quality fabric paints
- Metallic / Glitter fabric paint
- Multicolor Fabric markers
- Glue gun
- Embellishments like leathercraft metal pyramid studs/spikes
- Iridescent craft glitter
- Heat transfer vinyl in different colors if you’re making an appliqué or are crafty enough to own a Cricut machine.
- A straight edge — ruler, popsicle sticks, triangles.
For sneakers, use a clean pair you already own, or try these in different sizes and price points depending on what’s comfortable. While you can get very inexpensive no-name knock-offs on Amazon, they are still shoes that you or your kids will ideally be wearing. Keep that in mind.
- White Vans in different styles
- Classic white Keds Champion slip-ons
- Chuck Taylor All-Star High Tops by Converse in all white
- Chuck Taylor All Star Low Tops by Converse in all white
- Old Navy white canvas slip-ons
- Old Navy white elastic laced slip-ons
- Roxy white platform slip-on shoe
9 DIY Sneaker Decorating Ideas
1. Hydro-Dipped Sneakers
We are absolutely in love with this modern hydro-dipped white sneaker tutorial from Polka Dot Chair. Her instructions are detailed (there’s even a companion video tutorial) and so helpful — including her reminder that they will take a good two days to dry. Patience, grasshopper!
2. DIY Galaxy “Painted” Sneakers
You’ll never guess what Time for Tea used to make these watercolor-inspired DIY galaxy painted sneakers. Give up? Colorful Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Seriously! Throw on a couple of white paint splotches for stars, and you’ve got yourself a pair of DIY cosmic kicks. We think they’d be dreamy even without the starry overlay.
3. DIY Minecraft Sneakers
Minecraft shows no signs of slowing down, and these DIY Minecraft sneakers from the Green Wife are actually pretty easy. (Note the site is no longer up but this web archive link gets you to the tutorial.) I’ll bet you’ll win some major points for making these sneakers with — or for — your kiddos. Especially if they’ve got the cool backpack or lunchbox or lunch box accessories to match.
Of course you’ll want to be sure you have a good set of fabric markers like these we found on Amazon for just around $10. Lots of greens in there, so…perfect!
4. DIY Studded Converse
DIY studded Converse sneakers are the epitome of cool–going back to 2015 when we first found this tutorial from Elsie at A Beautiful Mess! But hand-applying traditional pyramid studs can be a pain — literally, so she shows us how to use flat back studs and super strong glue so you won’t tear up your fingers or feel the stud backs through your shoes. Just be sure to take Elsie’s advice and apply the glue with a glue gun in a well ventilated space — and be sure you’re supervising your tweens or younger kids.
5. DIY Glitter Sneakers
You know Dorothy would’ve much rather pranced around Oz in these comfortable DIY glitter sneakers from The Crafted Life than in her delicate ruby slippers. It probably goes without saying that crafting with glitter is MESSY — and these decoupage sneakers require a lot of glitter.According to Rachel, the decoupage technique does a great job of sealing the glitter. but just in case, be sure to read Lexi’s post on how to clean the 5 biggest kid messes, including glitter on the rug!
6. Easy DIY Ombre Sneakers
If simple is more your style, follow Tulip’s lead and add an ombre accent to your white sneakers. The shoes look like they were dip-dyed, but the colorful coating was created with complimentary shades of Tulip Fabric Spray Paint. The tutorial is easy enough that slightly older kids can probably take the lead with just a little supervision — and even easier if you work with a shoe like Vans, and don’t worry about keeping that Nike swoosh (and the soles) bright white.
7.DIY Black Cat Sneaker Tips
Persia Lou has SO many great DIY tutorials and we love these DIY black cat sneakers that frankly, we’d wear ourselves. They’re cool any time of year but especially with Halloween coming up. Just be sure to follow her detailed instructions and make sure you have all the craft supplies she lists. Worst case… use it as inspiration and go the Sharpie/black paint route if you have a steady hand.
8. DIY embroidered sneakers
Who says florals are just for spring and summer? Love these DIY embroidered white Converse sneakers, courtesy a very helpful and simple tutorial at Gathered. This lovely design by Louise Newton comes complete with a free downloadable template to follow! Such a smart way to make use of all that embroidery thread your kids have leftover from the annual summer friendship bracelet making marathon. And of course you can use rich, fall colors if you prefer — oranges, yellows, reds and browns — to ease your way into the cooler months with white sneakers.
9. DIY Fabric-Embellished Converse
If you’ve got a decent stash of basic sewing supplies, including fabric glue, embroidery scissors, fray check and fabric, you can make these fairly easy custom fabric Converse using the instructions from Melissa Mortensen for Fat Quarter Shop. Notice how subtle they are, with the pale grey paisley fabric over the tongue? Take that lead or go as bold as you’d like.