DIY: Paint Your Shoes with Nail Polish

diy paint shoes with nailpolish

Have you ever been really bored on a Friday night and decided you are going to paint your shoes with nail polish? No, really? Don’t despair, I’ve been there and have a really cool DIY to share. Yup, I actually changed the colour of an old pair of shoes with some nail polish I had on hand.

*Update {April 2015}: I kept these shoes for almost 2 years after the nail polish paint job and it held up really well. I wore them at least 10 times, and there was no cracking or chipping. Eventually I did end up donating them because my shoe closet was bursting at the seams!

Step 1 : Choose Your Victim

I chose a pair of suede-ish (definitely fabric) grey pumps. Most of the googling I did, and some well meaning friends advised me not to mess with fabric shoes. Since these were old and ready to hit the donation bin anyway, I took the risk. I wanted to give them a burgundy/oxblood look to make them more current. (The colour of the polish was actually a glittery red/burgundy – but it looks almost black in the picture.)

diy paint your old shoes with nail polish

Step 2: Start Painting with Nail Polish

I started from the heel of the shoe and worked towards the front hoping that my application would get smoother along the way. I found the best way to apply the polish was by keeping the brush pretty full, when it got dry it started to clump and get blotchy. My original shoes were pretty light and the polish was dark so it only took one coat. You may have to apply more than one coat depending on your colours.

Step 3: Let them Cure

Even though they felt completely dry, just to be safe I let them cure for one day inside and then 3 days outside. (I had to keep them outside for so long to get the nail polish smell off of  them.) I haven’t sprayed them with any sealer, and have worn them two or three times already – so far no damage or paint your shoes with nail polish

Here I am wearing my DIY shoes while interviewing NHL player Alexander Burrows for a piece on The Huffington Post site.

So what do you think of this DIY? Have you done any interesting projects with nail polish? I would love to hear about them, or link up in the comments!

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  1. January 9, 2013 / 11:06 am

    Oh, my goodness! I would never, ever think to do this. I bet touch-ups will be a snap. It’s actually a great idea. Did you only go through one bottle for both shoes?

    They look fabulous.


    • January 9, 2013 / 1:08 pm

      It didn’t even take a full bottle – there was a little left over at the end!