When I look at my feet I want to imagine I'm a Pipette
July 18, 2007 2:52 PM   Subscribe

What media to use for customising Converse-style canvas shoes? Fabric paint, arcylic, an oil-based paint, tippex (wite out) or something else?

I'm trying to do something like this, but white on black and the spots larger and more widely spaced apart. (Ignore the stripy tongue).

What's the best for coverage (it's going to be white spots on black), durability, water-fastness and stiffness?
posted by Well that's a lie to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Probably acrylic, although it depends if the canvas is coated at all. If it is bare canvas then the acrylic should soak and hold well and be water resistant, it will also dry quickly. Oil paint will take a long time to dry and you may also get oil seepage from the painted parts which will leave ugly, greasy marks. You will almost certainly need more than one coat of acrylic if it is white on black.
posted by fire&wings at 3:13 PM on July 18, 2007

Fabric paint if you heat-set it might be good too.
posted by rhoticity at 3:17 PM on July 18, 2007

discharge paste could work.
You would be removing the color instead of putting white on.
This instructable deals with discharge paste.

Alternatively, I would use screeprinting ink. It's what it's made for, after all. (that link is just something off of google. Buy it at a local art supply shop)
Be sure you get ink that's made to be used on fabric.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 3:21 PM on July 18, 2007

I should mention: you don't need screens to use screenprinting ink.
Do it with a brush or sponge or wine cork or stencil or your finger or whatever.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 3:22 PM on July 18, 2007

Don't most screen printing inks require curing? (usually in the form of heat, though this could be accomplished with a hair dryer/ heat gun, I suppose.)

I've always had luck with acrylic when working with fabrics, but I've never tried it on canvas.
posted by quin at 3:29 PM on July 18, 2007

Screen printing ink will be as opaque as acrylic but will be more flexible and less likely to chunk off after wearings. I recommend using that and then maybe a glaze of some sort over the whole upper.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:28 PM on July 18, 2007

These guys say to use the best artist's paint.
posted by misha at 4:36 PM on July 18, 2007

I've done the custom-chuck-taylor-thing a bunch of times before, and have used everything from screen printers ink [use a hair dryer to cure it] to some pretty pricey/fancy paints.
What I've learned is that, for Black and White designs, a plain black Sharpie works best. Yes, you'll need to touch it up every once in a while, but it wears beautifully, and has an instant "worn-in" look. [that's for black on white]
For white on color, I painted wax onto the fabric [in relief] and died the rest black [i used RED, actually] using plain old RIT dye. Then, just remove the wax, and it's pretty. Pretty, I say.
posted by rubberfish at 7:09 PM on July 18, 2007

uhhh, I would not use screenprinting ink, since you have to make one fat layer and heat cure it. This will guarantee one fat layer, ready to crack. There's a guy that customizes shoes, JOR ONE, who has some interesting comments on painting shoes. What he does to prevent cracking and other ill effects is to dilute acrylic to an ink-like consistency, and layer until the opacity is right. He does airbrush, and there's some secret ingredient he won't disclose, but this might apply to you. Here's an interview that might be helpful.

posted by wuzandfuzz at 9:40 PM on July 18, 2007

I used acrylic paint once to do something quite similar. As long as your spots aren't too large, there shouldn't be any cracking. But keep some paint spare (the tubes last for years if you keep the top on tight). Just in case.

The real knack is keeping the template still against the fabric, if you're using a template to get neat spots. I did them one at a time and used a long thin rectangle of clear plastic (about 0.5mm thick) that I'd put a hole in with an ordinary hole punch (for filing paper). It was clear so I could be sure of the position of the spot I was painting. Just held it in place with my thumb.
posted by dowcrag at 6:00 AM on July 19, 2007

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