Graffiti Shoes (A Tutorial)

DIY Graffiti Shoes Tutorial via

My daughter is outgrowing shoes so fast I can barely keep up! Now I just stock up on plain converse style sneakers and we decorate them ourselves to make one-of-a-kind, personalized “art” for her feet. We get compliments on them wherever we go! People always ask her to stop so they can read the words.

Materials needed:
:: Glittery puffy paints
:: Sharpies and fabric markers
:: Acrylic paints or fabric paints

For this pair of graffiti shoes I started with a plain pair of black shoes:

Step 1: I covered the edges of the white rubber with scotch tape (which sticks well to rubber)….

….and then added the masking tape to cover the larger areas. I put crumpled up paper towels in the inside to keep paint out.

Step 2: I used gesso to cover the shoes in white splotches, but you can use white acrylic or fabric paint.

Step 3: I started randomly covering the shoes in various bright colors…..

……and adding some white back in.

Step 4: I brought out the sharpies:

I added words around the shoes in black marker and then used different color sharpies to color around them.

Step 5: I used a small paint brush to keep adding in bright colors. The key is to just keep layering and changing your mind on words and colors……like graffiti. Great graffiti is made of layers over layers over layers!

Step 6: I used a silver metallic sharpie to clean up some of the edges of my images and words.

Step 7: Once the main portions of the shoes were finished I used a glitter puffy paint and made rows of dots along the toe (note: you will have to scuff the toes and prime first for the paint to stick)……

…and randomly around the shoes. Let these dry and they will be a big glob of shiny glitter!

The finished shoes!


DIY Graffiti Shoes Tutoria- Shoe Makeover via


  1. jaybird says

    so adorable! would it be ok to make a pair of these in size 10… i could pull them off right?

  2. Forever You says

    2 days ago I was at the target and seen some pretty simple one color snickers! I thought that I would love to decorate them for Polina! So THANK YOU Ashley for reading my mind! I want to try this sooooooo bad!

  3. Kestlyn says

    Loving these…can't wait to make some graffitti or even "made to match our awesome LBB outfits" shoes!

  4. Mommafo says

    I've seen so much of this type of thing lately, I knew you'd be a wealth of information, as usual!! Where do you get the shoes?

  5. kim says

    that is So awesome, I already have some shoes in mind to do this to! thanks for the tutorial!

  6. Oh Holland! says

    What a cute idea! My mom bought my daughter some Converse knock-offs at the Family Dollar for $5. I'm going to have to see if they have more.

  7. ellzabelle says

    AMAZING! Made me smile. Sienna is a lucky girl! Now I have to find some cheap sneakers to decorate for summer. Excuse to shop, love it. Thanks!

  8. Attilio says

    sienna is so going to grow up to a totally unique fashion guru…amazingly koooool!

  9. kasiabear says

    love love love this idea.. this will be great for the converse style shoes that just get handed down to little brothers and need a bit of a lift… how fantastic!! can't wait to give it a go!!

  10. Lorie says

    My daughter would DIE if I let her color on her shoes! SHe would be in heaven! We might have to use this as a fun summer activity!

    Thanks for the idea. I am going to be featuring it on my blog!

  11. Brandie says

    I am so heading out for a pair of sneaks so I can do this! Thanks so much for always sharing such great ideas with all of us:)

  12. Alexis says

    OOOOBBBBSESSED!! I'm making these ASAP! I love these so much. You're a creative genius!

  13. Suzi says

    Those are cute. I have a question on your silk screening. Did you make your own screen and if so would you be willing to do a tutorial on how to make it?

  14. Morgan says

    Those are really cute! I wouldn't have guessed you could do that with sharpies. We have some shoes that have grease stains on them- the graffiti idea would be great for covering up the stains.

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Ashley O says

    I love these!! My daughters nickname is Boo too (she looks a little bit like Boo from Monsters Inc.) and these would totally fit her personality! Thanks for the great idea!! :)

  16. skl says

    These are sooo cute!! Very GOOD idea!! I have two little boys and of course clothes get handed down to my youngest and my oldest would love this, but Im wondering if they would be as cute for them as it is for your little girl, well i will try.

  17. SAMZE says

    aaaaaahhhhhh!!! you rock ashley!!! :) seriously! i looooooove these! my daughter really likes "twinkle toes" shoes, but i have held off getting them for her…and now…oh my gosh…how much fun is it for her to design her own!?! :)

    as always, thank you for sharing with us! :)

  18. Disney says

    Oh wow, these are stinking adorable, Ashley! What a unique tutorial, and I love how oldschool it feels! Brings back memories! :o)

  19. TheBlackForrist says

    Never thought it could be so easy to create a custom pair of shoes. Brilliant! thanks for sharing!

  20. Cowboys Youth Football Program says

    Holy Goodness Ashley! My seven year old has ruined the $40 Twinkle Toes (similar concept) that my mom bought her and she has been begging me for more. I just can't justify spending $40 bucks on shoes right now when she will just kickball and jumprope them to shreds this summer. SHE. WILL. DIE. when I let her paint on some shoes. You are a genius woman. A genius!

  21. Jane says

    So, if I like the way mine comes out do you mind if I sell similar on my etsy site (with design credit to you?)

  22. 1 Funky Woman says

    I'm a size 9 if you were wondering, lol! I want a pair for me! I am so going out to and getting all the stuff to do these! Where did you get the shoes?

  23. Chelsea says

    Love this project, my niece is coming tomorrow and will be in town for a week, PERFECT timing!! Have a great weekend!

  24. Karla Doodlebug says

    Yep we will be running out to find some cheap shoes this weekend! What a great idea!

  25. Pati @ A Crafty Escape says

    Love this and will definitely try and link back. Thanks for the idea!

  26. 1happymommy says

    ADORABLE!!! I have two boys, but I'm on a mission to find a little girl to make these for.

  27. julie says

    Okay, these shoes RULE! Great way to add personality to those cheap, bland shoes that I can afford. And maybe it'll be tacky, but I'm DEF doing a pair of these for myself, too.

  28. says

    Whoa…! These are SO. COOL. Thanks so much for the fun idea, I'll be linking.

  29. Jessica says

    I love these! My daughter's named Sienna too!!! We thought we were being so original, but I keep running into Siennas everywhere :)

  30. TYRaines says

    I think my teenager would love to do this to some of her sneakers and it would save on the cost of new Ed Hardy's!

  31. Valerie says

    My bunny’s shoes were too tight yesterday, as was my budget and I picked up a pair of her older brothers old tennis shoes I thought Wait a minute!…..didn’t lil blue boo do something with shoes? FABULOUS idea! Can’t wait to upcycle these awesome shoes and bunny will be so happy to have new comfy shoes! GREAT idea!

  32. says

    Okay seriously I am LOVING the fact that I stumbled upon your blog. I love all the unique and cool ideas and that you do them WITH your daughter. What an awesome way to teach your child to be creative and have fun at the same time…oh and reuse, recycle, upcycle and that the “cool” stuff isn’t always bought at the stores! Thank you so much for all this inspiration – my girls are going to love doing all the projects I have floating around in my head now (not to mention me)!

  33. Margot says

    Great sneakers — what do you prime the rubber toe with so the crystals will stick?


  1. […] around to be girly with. We’ve painted nails, made some cute graffitti shoes┬áinspired by┬á lil blue boo, made friendship bracelets, and decorated flip flops. It seems like we would have had a lot more […]