Monday, June 18, 2012

DIY: Mystic Shoe

What this tutorial will teach you to make

I saw these beautiful shoes on Pinterest. They were designed by Mara Hoffman for Soludos. They cost a smooth $45.
Mara Hoffman "Mystic" shoe

Some other similarly awesome shoe I found while googling, not Mara Hoffman.

Alas, my heart and my wallet often don't see eye to eye, which is why I'm thankful for a BFA after the end of my name. So, I made my own version for less than $10. Here's how...

The shoes I started with.

Here's what you'll need:

- A pair of blank white or tan shoes, preferably without a rubber toe (like Converse). A pair of Keds knockoffs would do fine, as well as a Toms knockoff. Really, any kind of canvas-like shoe will work.  I found mine for €7 at Tati. 

- Acrylic paints, the higher quality, the easier it will be to use

- A fine tipped paint brush

- A paint palette

- A cup of water

- A #2 pencil

- Cotton string (optional)

- E6000 glue (optional)

- Glitter glue /or/ Mod Podge and glitter (optional)

I've made these step by step instructions super easy. The basic instructions are in bold. If you want more detail and/or tips, just read the tidbits underneath the steps.

Step 1: Take the Laces Off.

Begin by taking the laces off of the shoes.

Step 2: Draw your design on both shoes using a pencil

Take your laceless shoes and begin drawing a light design on them using the #2 pencil. The duller the pencil tip, the easier it will be to draw on the shoes. Use lots of stripes, lines, circles, triangles, and squares in your design to make an eye-catching piece. Don't forget the focal point: the design on the tip of the shoe. It should be unique to the entire shoe. In this case, I created an eye of providence (the eye inside of the triangle). On the back of my shoe, I created a hamsa.

It's okay if you mess up in this stage. I decided to eliminate the star from the final piece, even though it was sketched onto the shoe.

A front and side view.

Once your initial design is created on the first shoe, draw it on the second shoe. Just a reminder, the shoes should mirror each other. However, you could make two unique designs if you wanted.

Step 3: Paint Your First Color on Both Shoes

I used two colors on my shoes: Black and seafoam green. As a rule that all crafters should adopt, always always always paint black last in just about any project. It's just a good rule for good craftsmanship.

Choose out places on the shoe where you want the original color showing through. It's nice to have an idea in your head of what you want the shoe to look like before you begin painting it.

Squirt some of your color (not black) into your paint palette. Using the brush, bring little drops of water into the acrylic paint. The goal is to get the paint in a consistency that will be easy to spread over the shoe but is not watery enough to soak into the canvas. Painting on these shoes is like painting on unprimed (non-gessoed) canvas. It will be a little bit tricky. You may have to go over your colors 2 or more times to get a solid shape.

The completed first color on the first shoe.

Again, I cannot stress about the importance of craftsmanship in this project. You want crisp, straight lines, and solid colors. The more time that you spend on perfecting the shapes, the better it will look. Trust me when I say that you don't want to rush through this project.

An example of craftsmanship- some shapes go over the stitching and merge into new shapes. Some don't. You have to decide exactly how you want your shoes to look, so address these questions as they arise.

The checkered pattern on this part of the shoe does not touch the stitching.

Once you've laid down your first color, do the same on the other shoe.

Now both shoes should have a layer of color.

Both shoes now have one color.

Side view of one, front of another

Step 4.5: Add More Colors if You Want.

Add another color(s) if you would like.

Step 5: Add Black Paint to Both Shoes.

Once you have your color(s) done, now it's time for the black. Black is what is really going to make this shoe pop. Don't forget to get that consistency between watery and gummy: you don't want it to be super thick but you don't want your paint to run either. Begin using the fine tipped paint brush to trace shapes and add in patterns.

One shoe has a black layer. Now it's time to do the second.

Once you are done with the first shoe, mirror the black on the second shoe.

Step 6: Lace Those Bad Boys Up and Go For a Stroll!

The finished pieces

My favorite symbol

Option 1: Custom Laces & How to Make Said Laces

Optional: Custom Laces (see below)

If you would like to create custom laces for the shoes, use the original laces to determine the length of the new shoe laces. For my project, I used a seafoam green cotton string. To prevent fraying and to make the end of the laces hard, use some E6000 on the ends of the laces. Let dry in a well ventilated area.

Use E6000 at the end of the laces to make them stiff and prevent fraying.

Option 2: Glitter Glue to Accentuate Certain Details

An example of where I used glitter glue & what it looks like dry

I used black glitter glue to accentuate tiny details on my shoes. Use a fine tipped paint brush, but don't overdo it with the sparkle! Any color glitter glue will work, but think about your color scheme when choosing. An alternative would be to take a mod podge (but not a matte mod podge) and add glitter to it and use it the same way.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment! I'd also love to see what my readers come up with! Send me your image at I can't wait to see them!


  1. These look awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. What a cute project! I love it so much that I decided to feature it in our roundup of refashioned shoe tutorials! Check it out here:

    Have a great day!