DIY Watercolor Sneakers

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my DIY Anthropologie Inspired Mock Espadrilles. If you read it, you remember that I used a $6 pair of slip-ons from Walmart. At the same time, I found these $6 sneakers, also very plain and simple, but blank canvases just begging for a DIY project.


Since I have a history of not being able to leave things alone…or plain…or white (you get the picture), I made plans to give them a makeover.

As an aspiring artist (you can see some of my work here), I have been practicing with watercolors, a medium I love. I thought I’d play around with watercolors on my shoes, just to see what happened, and ended up with these, a feminine, springy floral.

Watercolor Sneakers

Now, to get started, here are the supplies I used. My watercolors were just a cheap $10 set from Hobby Lobby…nothing fancy or expensive.


I sketched out a few ideas to figure out what I wanted (I have a little trouble committing/making decisions, so this helped).


I chose my colors, and painted on blobs for the flowers…seriously, just blobs. It’s supposed to be abstract, and when I went back with my Sharpie marker and added details, they started to look like flowers. I had to keep my paint brush pretty wet. If my paint went on too thick (it needs to be pretty light and transparent), I just got my brush really wet and painted back over it.

FlowersPink Floral

I added leaves (still just blobs, I didn’t even need shapes), and let my paint dry for about an hour.




Now, I added details with my Sharpie like petals, stems, leaves, etc.

Sharpie Details.

And my shoes were done!

Final Floral

Here’s another version I did, adding stripes for fun mixed prints.

Stripes and Flowers

If you’re wanting to try this, but not feeling quite brave enough to tackle watercolors, you could use just your Sharpie to make a black and white pattern, and add fun details like colorful shoelaces (mine were $1.50 from Walmart).


Or you could sketch a tribal print, and add mock espadrille soles (similar to this Marc Jacobs pair starting at $165) with twine and hot glue. You can see the tutorial here.

Tribal Espadrilles

Really, the possiblilities are endless, and the supplies are minimum. There are so many fun, unique things you could do with these shoes to easily make your own cute, summery pair in any print you like. You can also see my Pinterest board, Patterns, to inspire you with more ideas. Happy crafting!

I’m also sharing this post at these fabulous parties:

Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss

Savvy Southern Style

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