American Duchess offers many styles of dyeable and paintable leather shoes, which can be customized to your heart's content.
The easiest way that we've found to achieve excellent results is using Angelus products specifically designed for painting leather.
While we definitely recommend Angelus products for their quality and consistency of finish, any or all of the products mentioned below can be swapped with equivalent products from other manufacturers.
The following items are needed for this method:
This product is essential in stripping the factory finish (such as oils, wax, and silicone) from your shoes before you apply your paint or dye. Angelus Leather Preparer & Deglazer is specifically designed for this purpose, but cannot be shipped internationally - in which case we'd recommend using a solvent such as acetone, isopropyl alcohol or ethanol.
Angelus Leather Paints are designed exclusively for leather, and will not crack or peel. Paints come in 1 oz. pots, and can be mixed for endless variation in shades. Angelus Leather Shoe Paint is water soluble, clean up easily, and can be thinned with water - no solvents or special equipment necessary!
Angelus Acrylic Finisher will seal and protect your painted or dyed shoes, and give a uniform gloss, satin, or matte finish. Apply this finisher 24 hours or more after your paints have dried, and allow to dry at least an additional 24 hours before wearing.
- Begin by rubbing your shoes with the Leather Preparer & Deglazer to remove the factory finish.
- Allow a few minutes to dry.
- If you are mixing your paints for a custom color, be sure to mix enough to fully cover both shoes. You can thin your paints with water - this is recommended for applying multiple coats, which will give you better, consistent results than applying one thick coat.
- Apply with a flat paintbrush or sponge brush, and allow the paints to dry between coats.
- Allow your shoes to dry completely for 24 hours before applying the Acrylic Finisher. The painted shoes should not feel tacky.
- Apply the finisher with a flat paintbrush, sponge brush, or cloth. Allow to dry another 24 hours before adding decorations such as ribbons or binding.
- Finally, you will need to rehydrate the leather. Apply several liberal coats of a shoe cream, and then polish with a quality shoe polish, buffing with a soft cloth to achieve a perfect shine. Repeat this step whenever your shoes need a pick-me-up.
Remember that your paints will dry slightly darker than they appear when wet. You can always adjust the color and apply a new coat.
All Angelus Leather Paints can be mixed to achieve totally unique colors. Any color may be mixed with this set by following the color wheels below:
Boutet's 7-color and 12-color circles, 1708
- Red mixed with Yellow creates Orange
- Yellow mixed with Blue creates Green
- Blue mixed with Red creates Purple
- By varying the amount of one or the other color in a combination, you can create infinite variation. For instance, green containing more yellow will produce a light, spring green, whereas mixed with more blue will create a turquoise.
- To create a darker color, mix in a little black; to create a pastel color, mix in a little white.