How to Paint Shoes: Customize a Pair of Simple Flats with This Simple Tutorial

I found an inexpensive pair of flats recently and impulsively bought a pair. They were only $10. Once I brought them home, I realized they were a little plain so I thought I’d make a project of it and add some DIY details.


With a little bit of paint, I turned these basic flats into a patterned pair of shoes that I love. This tutorial would be great for kids’ shoes too! Customize their shoes with their school’s or team’s colors.

Here’s how to paint shoes to make them your own…

How to Paint Fabric Mary Janes


  • Plain Flats or Mary Janes
  • Fabric Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper Plate

Painting May Janes with a Colorful Pattern


Step 1: Start by squirting some fabric paint onto a paper plate. The plate also acts as a surface for working out pattern designs, before actually painting the shoes.

Pattern Painted Shoes DIY

Step 2: Once you’ve decided on a pattern, it’s time to start painting. I went with a simple brushstroke / hatch mark design. Because the shoes I painted are made of thin fabric, I added paper towels inside the shoes, while painting, so that the surface would be stretched and easy to paint.

DIY Painted Patterned Shoes

Step 3: Once the pattern has been painted and the paint is dry, slip them on for a test drive. Simple as that!

DIY Neon Painted Flats

DIY Neon Painted Shoes