Help me paint my shoes metallic gold for Halloween.
October 8, 2019 8:59 AM   Subscribe

For my costume, I need shiny, metallic gold shoes. Looking to take a pair of used light brown office shoes (suede/leather combo) and turn them into sparkly gold shoes. What type of paint do I need to accomplish this affect? Should I be using a white sneaker shoe instead? This is the type of effect I"m looking for. But I'm open to dress shoe/sneaker/boot, whatever type of shoe material best accomplishes this look.
posted by caveatz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total)
You can get gold spray paint that's pretty shiny. It smudges easily, but should be acceptable for one night. Though it's not likely to work well on the suede at all. In fact, for $40, I'd be awfully tempted to just buy those shoes.
posted by rikschell at 9:11 AM on October 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

Those shoes are made of a gold mylar laminate on PU or some similar substrate and that level of mirror finish is almost impossible to replicate with paint, especially paint on a matte surface like suede. If you want gold mirror shoes, buy the ones you linked to. You'll be endlessly frustrated otherwise.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:30 AM on October 8, 2019 [16 favorites]

It will be very hard to get that mirror finish with a spray. Using a spray paint like Rustoleum Metallic will get you closest to that look.
posted by quince at 9:46 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

People also use Rub and Buff on shoe leather. But I agree with everyone above - it's going to be hard to match that shine if you don't start with that shiny gold in the first place.
posted by komara at 9:49 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The reviews for this paint show people using it on shoes. I can’t imagine it would work on suede or canvas though—you’d want to do it over leather/pleather. And it still won’t be as mirrored as the shoes you linked.
posted by tan_coul at 9:51 AM on October 8, 2019

If you want sparkle and you're starting with a surface that isn't already mirror finished, the best sparkle you're going to get will be from spray glue and gold glitter. But be aware that glitter gets everywhere and the path along which your shoes move through the world will accumulate a trail of people who resent you.
posted by flabdablet at 10:17 AM on October 8, 2019 [3 favorites] Bememo 100 Sheets Imitation Gold Leaf for Arts, Gilding Crafting, Decoration, 5.5 by 5.5 Inches: Home & Kitchen. Along the same lines as the glitter but maybe a bit less annoying.

You might also be able to do a bottom coat of a chrome paint. Evidently there are some decent really metallic looking chromes. And then a thinner coat of gold paint on top of that.

Otherwise, I agree with most. You have more luck with something like pleather and a metallic gold. Maybe with some polish it could get a bit more shine.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:42 AM on October 8, 2019

Your best bet is to buy the shoes, you'll spend less.

I am a leatherworker and have had some success making golden bootcovers/sabatons with Angelus leather paint, then a top coat of acrylic resolene containing mica powders. And then I usually treat with natural shoe polish and buff the crap out of it. The end result is a satin, but never chrome, finish. You absolutely need a smooth surface, so no suede.

Here's what the sneaker modders tend to do.
posted by Wossname at 11:11 AM on October 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

The closest I've come to achieving that mirror finish is using Deco Foil transfer. This video overviews the process, using a liquid adhesive to adhere the foil. The thickness of the adhesive smooths out the surface, so I think it should still work on suede.

There are also heat-transfer/iron-on mirror foils, but I don't know how well they'd play with leather. All the metallic spray paints I've ever tried, even the ones billed as ultra-shiny, have turned out matte rather than mirror finish.
posted by Bardolph at 11:12 AM on October 8, 2019

The only chance you'd have for getting a mirror finish with paint is buying vinyl or patent leather shoes in the first place, then using metallic spray. But it'll be cheaper to just buy the gold shoes at that point.
posted by juniperesque at 11:58 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

if you can make do with shoes that are glitter gold instead of smooth, you can just basically paint them with a few layers of glitter mixed with glue. the materials can be found pretty cheaply at the dollar store.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:37 PM on October 8, 2019

They do make metallic leather paint, available at many art stores. But it won’t give a mirror finish, and i don’t know how much you’ll need for completely covering a pair of shoes.
posted by Hypatia at 2:11 PM on October 8, 2019

I have done this! Don't overthink it. Buy whatever cheap fake leather shoes you want, as long as they have a smooth surface, and spray paint them with several layers of mirror finish metallic spray paint like quince suggests. It is easy and the results will be dazzling.

Do not rub and buff them, do not gold leaf them, do not mix glitter in anything, don't use anything specially made for leather. I am an art material professional, PUT DOWN THE TRANSFER FOIL! THIS IS NOT A PLATE OF BEANS people, so stop it with the crazy ideas.

Happy Halloween!
posted by tula at 6:28 PM on October 8, 2019 [10 favorites]

Wait what? 40 bucks? Just. Buy. The. Shoes. (/ClappyHands)
posted by sexyrobot at 10:52 PM on October 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

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