DIY: Angelus Leather Paint Tutorial

Angelus Leather Paint:
Starter Kit (including Lilac from this tutorial) on Amazon
Lilac 2oz jar (Amazon Prime 2 day shipping included)

Shoes in this Tutorial:
Softspots Stephanie size 12 C/D (Bone)

All of these links go to Amazon.  I love Amazon and have Amazon Prime (you get benefits like free two day shipping and amazing customer service).  So, here's a link where you can try Prime for free for 30 days (you will not be charged if you cancel before your 30 day trial ends).
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Being 6'2 I have size 12 feet and have a really difficult time finding sensible shoes in a variety of colors.  I know that towering high heels are really trendy... but, most of us don't wear 4" cobalt stilettos during an 8-12 hour work day.   We need arch support and shoes that take abuse and won't fall apart after a couple of weeks. 

I started using Angelus leather paint to customize my shoes, belts and gloves a couple of years ago.  You can also use Angelus on handbags, as well.  You can use Angelus paints on pleather (NEVER use this product on patent leather or high gloss vinyl.  It will not work out the same way). 

Angelus paints are used by professional shoe repair shops and are a standard among leather workers.  This is not a standard acrylic paint you can buy at the craft store -- so please don't try to buy a $1 bottle of craft paint and attempt to do this tutorial! The formula is different and will crack and peel.  Angelus acrylic paint will not crack or peel. 

Angelus has all of the standard colors to repair most high end leather products and shoes.  You can find Angelus Neon colors as well as a "Walk On Red" leather paint to rejuvenate the bottoms of your Louboutins, if you are a collector of Louboutins and don't wait to pay a fortune to repair your soles. 

Okay... back to our quick and easy (anyone can do this!) tutorial: 

Angelus Paint (whichever color you choose)
Acetone (100 percent acetone!  Don't use moisturizing nail polish remover).
Paper towels or Cotton wipes (the paper towels leave less lint to clean off later).
A natural hair brush (I am using an old makeup brush)
Newspaper or Tissue Paper to work over

Start with a pair of leather shoes. 
They can be older or used. 
I decided to feature a pair of brand new Softspots for this tutorial. 

Cover your work surface with newspaper (I used peach tissue paper). 

Angelus does sell a product called "Prepare and Deglazer"... but, I've found that acetone works great and is super cheap. 

Now you're going to take your Acetone and you're going to remove the top few layers of shine and paint from your shoes. 

You might need to go over them a couple of times until the shiny surface coat is completely wiped away. 

As I said above, using a paper towel creates less lint clean-up later on.  So, I recommend paper towels over cotton rounds (I only had cotton rounds for this tutorial).

You will be able to tell that you are done with your acetone when your shoe dries and is matte in finish rather than shiny.  You want to wait for your shoe to dry and for the acetone to evaporate entirely.   You can see the difference between the original finish and the stripped finish in the photo above.   The right shoe has had the top coats removed. 

Now your shoes are ready for painting!  
If you are using pleather shoes
:  Do not use acetone on pleather (or "man made upper" materials). 
The solvent will break down the plastic in the shoe itself and your shoes are going to fall apart faster. 
If you want to paint pleather shoes choose a pair with a matte or flat finish, use a washcloth with dish soap and water to remove any oils or dirt. Wait for them to dry... and the follow the rest of the tutorial).


Angelus paints come with a paintbrush in the cap of the bottle (sort of like nail polish). 
Unfortunately... this brush is not ideal for applying your paint.  It's pretty awful and it will make your finish super chunky and ugly.  Just don't use it!

You're going to want to use a nice fluffy natural hair paint brush instead.  I use an old eyeshadow brush (I mean *old*, it's a Max Factor makeup brush from 1999).  You can find natural hair brushes at any craft store (or, here is a set of four on Amazon!).   I like my old makeup brush for this because it doesn't shed at all anymore and is nice and dense (but too rough for makeup application).   If you buy new brushes for this project be sure to beat them up a bit before using them.  Wash them.  Rub them pretty hard on a paper towel.  lightly pull at the hairs to get out strays.  If a bristle comes out and gets stuck in the paint -- you are going to get really frustrated!

You don't want to use a synthetic brush for this because you're going to get a very uneven application.  Natural hair brushes will give you even coats and application. 
Don't use a brush that is too big or too small, either. 

Awesome Tips:
  • Apply thin even coats. 
  • Allow each coat to dry before applying the next coat. 
  • Rinse your brush well between applications. 

After One Coat - You can see the original bone color underneath.

Do not try to get a thick even coat on your first layer.  You will always end up with a chunky end result if you try this.  Trust me.  I messed up a belt trying this early on.  Learn from my mistakes!

You will be able to tell that your paint is dry because it won't feel sticky/tacky anymore.  It will take about 20-30 minutes to fully dry (more if you are in a humid climate). 

After three coats they are finished!
Starting with white, bone, khaki or tan leather is easiest to work with.  Especially if you are painting with pastels or neons.  The paints are opaque and will cover black, as well (I covered a pair of black shoes with turquoise paint and they looked fantastic).  But, the darker your leather the more coats you will have to do to make it look even and not show the original color underneath. 

The 2oz bottles are going to be plenty of paint. 
Trust me. 

If your shoes still feel a bit tacky you can end with the Angelus finisher to really seal in the color.  It comes in different finishes:  Original (Formula 600),  High Gloss (Formula 610) and Matte (Formula 620).  I admit that I've never used these at all... so, follow the instructions on the bottle (and make sure that your paint is fully dry, which can take about 24 hours total, before applying finisher).

Bonus Tips:
  • Don't try to paint suede.  You're going to have a bad time!
  • If it is your first time - start with something thrifted or worn out.
  • The paint always dries darker/bolder than the color in the jar.  Buy some scrap leather to swatch on.
  • You can totally go crazy and paint polka dots, a galaxy and a Tardis, ice cream cones and cupcakes. Your imagination is your only limit.

Here are some photos of me where I'm wearing shoes, belts and gloves that I've painted. 
I have repainted the same shoes or belt a few times (if you are going from dark to light -- paint a couple of coats of bone or white before repainting).

Customized Shoes, Gloves and Belt
Customized Shoes, Gloves, Belt
Customized ballet cobalt flats and gloves

Customized Mustard ballet flats

Happy DIYing, lovelies! 
I can't wait to see what glorious goodies you come up with. 


  1. Love it! I had no idea you were so tall. I'm 5'9 myself and wear 11-12 shoe. Love the idea of making my own cute shoes!

  2. Paint for shoes? Many individuals don't know a wonder such as this exists. Well doesn't the shoe originate from the processing plant as of now printed? Uh, yes much of the time. I find this website for Best Flats Arch Support.If you want you can visit this site.

  3. I never thought painting shoes would be so easy ! this DIY is a must try for everyone who can not buy new shoes but want to recycle the old ones.



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