Canvas shoes are very easy and fun to paint. They don’t require much prep work at all, and the results can be amazing.
However, if you want your design to last, you want to be rather choosy about the paints you use. For canvas shoes, the paints should meet the following criteria:
- Colors that you actually like and that will blend flawlessly to create different shades.
- Will adhere well to the shoes’ surface.
- Won’t crack, fade, or chip easily or quickly.
- Thin enough as to be usable – thick paint will lead to cracks.
- Easy to use.
- Best Fabric Paints for Canvas Shoes
- Best Acrylic Paints for Canvas Shoes
- Best Fabric Markers for Canvas Shoes
- Tips for Painting Canvas Shoes
- To Recap
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Both sets feature gorgeous stay-true colors, are easy to use, are priced reasonably for the quality, and perform amazingly well on fabric.
No heat or extensive preparations are required. Just plan your design, grab your brushes, and have fun!
Best Fabric Paints for Canvas Shoes
Canvas shoe paint should be bright, bold, and easy to use. It also needs to last. These three kits do all of that and then some!
Best Overall: Magicfly Permanent Soft Fabric Paint Set
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With 14 colors, including neon and metallic options, the Magicfly Permanent Soft Fabric Paint set is all you need to create the canvas shoes of your dreams.
The set is reasonably priced and comes with three paintbrushes. It also dries relatively fast; your shoes should be ready to wear after a day or so.
Unlike many fabric paint options, the Magicfly set does not need heat to set. So you won’t need to pull out a hair dryer; just paint, let dry, and then wear.
This paint doesn’t have the deepest pigment; it can look a little thin. I suggest layering it for more bold and vibrant creations.
- No heat needed to cure.
- Includes metallic and neon colors.
- Reasonably priced.
- Thinner colors may require lots of layering.
Runner-Up: Individuall Premium Fabric & Textile Paint
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Individuall is a German textile paint company known for highly pigmented paints.
This set features only eight colors, but you can mix them to create just about any shade you need.
Users love that the paint dries very quickly, in about three hours, and takes less than a day to set fully.
The bottles are on the small side given the price. However, Individuall claims a few drops of their striking shades go a long way, which is true.
There’s only one catch. On dark-colored fabrics, even paints like these will require multiple coats, which means you may go through this set faster than most if your shoes are blue or black.
- Quick drying.
- Highly pigmented.
- Colors mix easily.
- Small amount of paint per bottle.
Beginner Friendly: Castle Art Supplies 3D Fabric Paint Set
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Twenty-four colors at an exceptionally affordable price make the Castle Art Supplies 3D Fabric Paint Set a favorite for canvas shoe creations.
There’s no lack of colors in this set, and the instructions that Castle Art provides are superb. Even a novice shoe artist will thrive with a set like this.
You will need heat to set the paint when you’re done, and be warned that the paints dry dark and are different than the included color reference chart shows.
As long as you know that in advance, though, it’s not hard to work around. Simply dot paint on the lid of each bottle, and you’ll know the true colors going forward.
- Incredible value.
- Huge number of colors.
- Thorough instruction guide.
- Colors dry dark.
- Color reference chart does not match actual colors.
Head over to Best Fabric Paint for Shoes to see even more options!
Best Acrylic Paints for Canvas Shoes
Many professional artists prefer acrylic paint for creating custom shoes because the colors look so striking.
It’s also better for blending colors, allowing for intricate shading and other eye-catching effects.
Highest Quality: Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint Starter Kit
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Many sneaker customizers swear by Angelus paints, and it’s no wonder why. They’re a leader in the textile paint market because their paints won’t crack or fade with wear.
This set includes 12 colors, but you’ll need to buy everything else separately.
Brushes and Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium (highly recommended – find it here) don’t come in the kit.
That means getting started with this set can be pricey.
Of course, you’re getting a very high-quality product, so depending on your project, it might definitely be worth the splurge.
- Paints don’t crack with wear.
- Well-known and respected brand.
- Fade-resistant colors.
- Not a complete kit.
Best Value: U.S. Art Supply Permanent Acrylic Fabric Paint
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If you want the best value in acrylic fabric paints, the U.S. Art Supply Kit should be at the top of your list.
With 24 colors, including 12 metallic colors, there’s no limit to your creativity.
Plus, the kit comes with a complete brush set so you can start using it right out of the box.
I love the striking colors that come in this kit, but they’re not as easy to blend as the Angelus Acrylics above.
They’re also not as high quality; they may crack or fade more easily than other brands. That said, they’re both affordable and vibrant.
- Great value.
- Includes metallic colors.
- Comes with complete brush set.
- Slightly lower quality.
- Hard to blend.
Best Fabric Markers for Canvas Shoes
If you prefer picking up a pen to a brush, fabric markers might be a better option than paint for your next pair of shoes.
Make sure you get a set with dual-tipped pens so you can make broad strokes and handle finer details. Either of the sets below work well.
Most Durable: Arteza Fabric Markers
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Arteza makes high-quality fabric markers that will withstand washing and wear. Their colors don’t fade like many other brands have a tendency to do.
Though they have a dual tip, the barrel is thin overall, which is easier for an artist with smaller hands to maneuver.
They are a little pricey though, and the colors are a little muted. Unlike other fabric marker sets, Arteza does not offer any bright neon or metallic options.
- Durable colors.
- Easy-to-manipulate pens.
- High-quality brand.
- Muted colors.
Most Affordable: US Art Supply Super Markers
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With US Art Supply’s Super Markers set, you get bright and vivid colors at an affordable price.
Though there are only 20 pens here (the Arteza set above has 30, for comparison), the colors are bold and lasting.
Like many value-priced marker sets, though, these pens tend to dry out.
They’ll work great for your project now, but if you want to save them for next year, you might be disappointed.
- Long-lasting color.
- Vivid color.
- Pens dry out quickly.
- Only 20 colors.
Tips for Painting Canvas Shoes
Using canvas shoe paint to customize your kicks is a great way to spotlight your personality. And yes, you can buy a box of paints and dive right in.
For best results, though, may I offer a few suggestions?
Start With Tape
Tape off anything you don’t want to paint on your shoes, including the rubber sole, the tongue, and insole’s edge.
Electric tape works well for this. While you’re at it, make sure you’ve removed the laces if applicable.
Try a Shoe Tree
A shoe tree insert will keep your work surface smooth, elevated, and easier to paint.
You could also use a wad of socks, but that may mean lumps and bumps to navigate.
Try Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium With Acrylics
Acrylics don’t absorb into fabrics the way other fabric paints do.
Angelus-2 Soft Fabric Medium keeps your shoe soft by helping the paint bind to the canvas of your shoe. That way, your artwork won’t crack with wear.
To use it, mix a 50/50 blend of Angelus 2-Soft with white acrylic paint and apply several base layers to your entire shoe.
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Seal Each Layer With a Heat Gun
A hair dryer works too! Run it over the shoe after you paint each layer to ensure your artwork sets and lasts.
If you use a hair dryer, you’ll have to move a little more slowly than you would with a heat gun. Be patient; you want each layer to be completely dry before moving on.
Try Tracing Paper
You don’t have to be a professional artist to create incredible canvas shoe designs.
You can use graphite tracing paper to transfer any image you’d like, though you’ll still have to fill in the details with your painting skills.
Whether you choose to use paints designed specifically for fabrics, standard acrylic paints, or fabric markers is totally up to you.
If you’re having a hard time deciding, I’ll try to make it easy for you.
- If you’re not confident with a brush, go for the Arteza Fabric Markers. You’ll have 30 weather- and fade- resistant colors on dual-tipped markers that are easy to control. Done!
- If you value quality – get the Angelus Paints. Reliable, highly regarded company. Easy cleanup. Colors mix phenomenally. Dries flexible. Easy choice!
Have other shoes made of different material that you’d love to spruce up? This article covers what paints are best for various shoe types.