How to Put a Silk Screen Design on Vans Shoes

by Elizabeth Balarini

Vans shoes have been around for decades. Popularized by skaters, these shoes have now become more mainstream and are being worn for their simple design and comfort. The classic slip-on canvas Vans are the most popular. If you have a pair of solid-colored Vans that you'd like to customize, you can do so by using a few items to put a silk screen design on your Vans shoes.

Items you will need

  • Paint (acrylic)
  • White nylon fabric with a tight weave
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Modge Podge
  • Fine-tip paint brush
  • Paint brush
Step 1

Make sure the Vans shoes are clean and dry. Paint will not adhere well (or for very long) to dirty shoes, and any dampness will cause the paint to bleed. If the shoes are not brand new, run them through the washing machine and dryer.

Step 2

Draw the design you want on the piece of paper. Because the area you'll be silk screening is so small, do not make the drawing very detailed, especially if this is your first attempt at putting a silk screen design on a pair of Vans shoes.

Step 3

Trace the design onto the white nylon cloth.

Step 4

Use the Modge Podge and paint brushes to carefully paint the areas where you do not want the paint to come through the nylon. For example, if the image is a donut, you'd use the Modge Podge to paint around the donut, as well as in the donut's hole. For an eyeball, you'd paint Modge Podge around the eye, as well as in the white of the eye, because you'll only want the outline of the eye and the iris (colored part of the eye) to be painted on the shoe.

Allow the Modge Podge to dry completely (approximately two to three hours, depending on how thick you painted it).

Step 5

Hold the piece of nylon up to a bright light after it is dried. If there are any pinhole areas that didn't get Modge Podged, fill them in now. Also, make sure that the areas that you wanted masked are masked, and the areas that you wanted open to allow the paint to seep through are open.

Step 6

Lay the nylon fabric on top of one of the shoes. Squirt or scoop about a teaspoon of paint on the nylon, right above where the design begins (on the design's upper border).

Step 7

Hold the nylon with one hand, and drag the paint across the image with the other hand, using the credit card. Make sure you covered all areas of the design. There will be paint left over, and you can drag it back up over the image.

Step 8

Lift the nylon off of the shoe by lifting straight up. You will see the silk screen design you just put on your Vans shoes. Allow several hours for the paint to dry before you wear the shoes.

About the Author

Elizabeth Balarini is a freelance writer and professional blogger who began writing professionally in 2006. Her work has been published on several websites. Her articles focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, home and garden, and health and wellness. Balarini majored in English at the University of Texas at San Antonio.