Polka Dot Shoes Tutorial
It was my birthday on Saturday, which necessitated a special dinner at possibly my favorite restaurant ever, Millennium. It’s all vegetarian, but the food is so good that it wows even some of the omnivores I know.
Of course a birthday dinner means dressing up, so I donned a cute dress and my self-modified polka-dotted shoes. Excuse the awkward face and pose.
I previously posted a tutorial for these shoes all the way back in 2007, but since I think hardly anyone saw it, and even if they did they probably don’t remember, I’m recycling that post. The shoes have held up really well, and I wear them all of the time. Without further ado, a tutorial.
For some reason, I got a hankering for a specific pair of shoes. This happens to me often, where I get it in my head that I want something very precise, and then can’t quite find exactly what I’m looking for (at a price I’m willing to pay). In this case, it was a pair of red, white polka-dotted low wedges. After much searching, I found a perfect pair on the Anthropologie website, for $238.
Unfortunately, the price is a bit too high for me and I didn’t want to wait for them to go on sale. But I couldn’t find anything else anywhere that would satisfy my craving, so I took matters into my own hands when I saw a pair of red suede wedges at Nordstrom Rack the other day, for $23.
I already had some white acrylic paint and textile medium, although I’m not sure if the textile medium is completely necessary for this project.
I also used a ruler, a paintbrush, and some hole reinforcers I bought at the grocery store. You know, those adhesive circles that people use when the holes they punched in the edge of their paper tear through.
To make sure that the paint wouldn’t bleed and to figure out the optimal distance apart for the dots, I used the backside of a piece of scrap leather to practice.
That little paper triangle that you see above is the guide I made for the dot distance. I could’ve drawn a grid if the material was more forgiving, but instead I made myself a little equilateral triangle and marked the center of each dot with a white colored pencil using the corners of the triangle. Then I placed hole reinforcers centered around each mark. This was actually the most laborious part of the process.
I mixed the acrylic paint and textile medium in approximately the two parts paint to one part medium recommended on the bottle, and then proceeded to paint. It ended up taking three coats until I was happy with the opacity.
Finally, after letting the paint dry thoroughly, I removed the stencil, and was left with polka-dotted shoes.
You might notice that the outline of the dot is raised from the removal of the labels, but I’ve since remedied this by brushing the nap of the suede back down.
Overall, I’m really happy with how these turned out. I intend to spray them with suede protector before I wear them, but otherwise they’re done!