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Decorating Ideas for White Canvas Shoes

by Laura Leddy Turner, studioD

The phrase "a blank canvas" refers to a canvas cloth stretched over a wood frame, usually in preparation for painting. White canvas shoes are more than something to wear for an casual day at the beach -- they are blank canvases for your feet, waiting to be imprinted with ideas and artistry. Make your canvas shoes colorful, crazy, classic or cool using basic craft items -- and if your shoes have laces, think of them as an added opportunity for your art.

Dye, Tie-Dye and Dip

Dye your white canvas shoes with liquid fabric dye to match a particular outfit or to darken them to a shade more suitable to the season. You can also give your shoes a funky tie-dye look by wrapping them with rubber bands before placing them in the dye bath. If you're looking for a rainbow effect, dip different parts of your canvas shoes into different colored dye baths -- you can get lovely merged colors when you let the dyes overlap a little.

Paint Pictures

Paint both of your canvas shoes with fabric paint and then add designs with your choice from an array of markers -- including acrylic, chalk ink, fabric or permanent. Sketch out designs in pencil on your shoes and go over the drawn lines with one marker, or many markers of different colors. Line drawings can be simple or complicated -- you can replicate a scene, represent a collection of individual designs or doodles, give homage to a piece of art or add a line of text. Color in the designs with marker or paint and step out with a smile on your face.

Get Crafty

Glue faux pearls, gems, buttons, beads, sequins -- or a combination of these items -- along the shoes' seam lines or use these ornaments to outline painted designs. Give plain canvas espadrilles a spring-garden look by gluing a length of floral grosgrain ribbon, hemmed at the ends, across the vamps of the shoes. To give espadrilles a strappy look, measure and cut two lengths of grosgrain ribbon so they are each long enough to wrap around your lower leg twice with about eight inches extra on either end. Find the midway point of the ribbons and stitch one to the center of each shoe back. To tie, bring one ribbon around one side of your lower leg and the other ribbon around the other side. Cross the ribbons at the front of your lower leg and bring both ends round to the back and tie in a bow.

Liven Up Laces

Dye or tie-dye the laces of your canvas shoes to match or contrast with a desired outfit. The laces can also be replaced with grosgrain ribbon, satin ribbon, lace ribbon or leather cord. Go for something more playful by making braided laces with three thin strips of lightweight fabric that have been cut to match the lengths of the original laces. Braid the strips tightly, tape the ends and use to lace your shoes. Remove the tape and knot the shoelace ends, leaving one inch above the knot for a fringed look. Mix and match colors to have a ribbon rainbow running over your feet.

About the Author

Laura Leddy Turner began her writing career in 1976. She has worked in the newspaper industry as an illustrator, columnist, staff writer and copy editor, including with Gannett and the Asbury Park Press. Turner holds a B.A. in literature and English from Ramapo College of New Jersey, with postgraduate coursework in business law.

Photo Credits

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