How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?

How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes
Acrylic Painted Shoes

To prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes, you need to prepare the surface properly and mix the paint with a textile medium. This will ensure the paint adheres better to the shoe material and remains flexible, preventing cracking.

Acrylic paint is versatile and can be used on a variety of surfaces including shoes. However, if you don’t prepare the surface properly or mix the paint with a textile medium, the paint can crack and become brittle over time, ruining your design.

To prevent this, you need to clean and prime the shoes before painting and then mix the acrylic paint with a textile medium. This will ensure the paint adheres to the surface correctly, remains flexible, and won’t crack with repeated wear. In this article, we’ll explore the steps you need to take to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes and ensure your designs last as long as possible.

Understanding The Causes Of Cracked Shoes

Acrylic paint is an incredibly versatile medium that can be used on many different surfaces. One popular use for acrylic paint is to customize shoes, giving them a unique look and style. However, one problem that many shoe painters encounter is acrylic paint cracking on shoes.

Whether you’re a professional shoe painter or a beginner, it’s vital to understand why acrylic paint cracks on shoes to avoid it from happening. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of cracked shoes, the effects of cracking on the shoes, and how to identify cracked shoes.

Factors That Contribute To Shoe Cracking

Several factors can cause acrylic paint to crack on shoes. Understanding these causes can help you prevent cracking and prolong the life of your newly painted shoes. These factors include:

  • Poor surface preparation: Not adequately prepping the surface can cause the paint to crack and peel. It’s important to clean and sand the shoes before painting.
  • Inferior quality paint: Using low-quality acrylic paint can cause the paint to crack and peel. Always purchase high-quality acrylic paint.
  • Movement: Shoes move a lot, and this constant movement can cause the paint to crack. Paints that don’t have enough flexibility to move with the shoe can lead to cracking.
  • Inadequate drying time: Not allowing enough time for the paint to dry before wearing the shoes can lead to cracking.

Effects Of Cracking On The Shoes

Cracks on shoes painted with acrylic paint can lead to significant damage. The following are the effects of cracking on shoes:

  • Chipping and peeling: When the paint cracks, it chips and peels away from the shoe.
  • Unattractive appearance: Cracked paint results in an unsightly appearance, which ruins the shoe’s aesthetic appeal.
  • Reduction in durability: Cracked painted shoes become less durable and may not last as long as they should.

How To Identify Cracked Shoes

Identifying cracked shoes is relatively easy. The following are signs of a cracked shoe:

  • Chipping and peeling: If the painted surface of the shoe is peeling or chipping, it’s a sign of cracked paint.
  • Lines and creases: Observe the surface of the shoe. If you notice any lines and creases on the paint, it’s a sign of cracking.
  • Flaking: If the paint flakes off easily from the surface of the shoe, it’s a sign of cracked paint.

Preventing acrylic paint from cracking on shoes is crucial. Factors such as poor surface preparation, inferior quality paint, movement, and inadequate drying time can cause paint to crack. The effects of cracking on shoes include chipping and peeling and an unattractive appearance, among others.

It’s easy to identify cracked shoes by observing the surface for chipping and peeling, lines and creases, and flaking. By following these guidelines, you can avoid cracked paint and keep your painted shoes looking great.

How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?

If you have ever had the chance to work with acrylic paint you’ll know they are pretty awesome to deal with. The vibrant appeal and brighter hue of the acrylic paint make it so much better than watercolors. If you wish to go for a layered and subdued effect acrylics won’t let you down. You might start to think this is the best bit about working with acrylics but it really isn’t.

Acrylics are available at a way cheaper price than oil colors and they don’t have any of the suffocating smell that other colors often present with. You can work your way wonderfully with cheap brushes, the need for expensive ones is finally gone. As for cleaning, it’s easy peasy!

Keeping aside the reason why acrylic is a desirable choice, let’s speak about how you can add your creativity to your shoes and customize it the way you want. Wait, wait, hold on. Don’t go gallivanting painting your favorite pair of shoes.

From choosing the right material for the acrylic to deciding which paint is suitable and how to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes – there is a lot for you to wrap your head around. Regardless of being an easy option to work with acrylic paint will start cracking on your shoes the moment you start walking in them.

acrylic paint on shoes handmade-sneakers-shoes-colorful-painted-design
Wow! Such a beautiful work! Do you like it?

Understanding Acrylic Paint Before You Start Painting:

Loosely translated, acrylic paint is basically liquid plastic. Acrylic paint followed the footsteps of acrylic resin and it was invented by the German chemist Dr. Otto Rohm. Though acrylic paint began its journey as house paint; artists and professionals soon discovered it’s potential.

Abstract expressionists like Mark Rothko, Bridget Riley, and Helen Frankenthaler grabbed everyone’s attention with the use of acrylics and how their bright hue and the thick texture were perfect for art.

Dr Otto Röhm
Dr. Otto Röhm

What Kind Of Shoes Are Suitable For Acrylic Paint?

How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On canvas Shoes

If you want to display your creativity on shoes then the best material is the old-school canvas. You can find some good ones here

The surface or pair of shoes should be squeaky clean otherwise the paint won’t apply to the surface. Yes, there is a variety of acrylic paint some of which are perfect for leather; however, the most commonly available acrylic paint is suitable for woven canvas.

woven canvas-shoe
Wanna Turn Boring Woven Canvas Shoe like this one into a colorful one?

But, how can you paint on comfy, flexible, and super loose canvas when you’re used to evenly spread, firm, and tight canvas? There is a way around it. Pack your shoes with plastic bags wadded up and wads of paper. Remember to take out the laces.

You have to cover specific areas of the canvas where you don’t want any trace of paint. Use masking tape for this purpose. It will not only act as an excellent adhesive but also prevents cracking. This will create a surface for you to unleash your creativity.

Preventing Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Canvas Shoes:

How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Canvas Shoes
How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Canvas Shoes

Though flexible in nature, acrylic paint cracks under specific conditions. You must be patient with acrylic paint for it will take its own sweet time. Here are a few tips that will help:

  • You must apply the paint in thin layers. Wait for that layer to dry completely before applying the next layer.
  • The brush strokes should be both short and even. You can’t rush it if you want to create something beautiful. Start with the background and then proceed towards the foreground to create a better impression of depth. Start painting with light colors. Darker colors are perfect for touch-ups. Faded colors and gaps can be dealt with with a thin layer of paint.
  • Your paint should be in the direction as your shoe flexes. When the acrylic paint flexes in exactly the same direction as your shoes, it reduces any chance of cracking.
  • It might not look the way you want on the first try. However, you should keep at it. Remember to paint evenly and wait for the paint to dry before you proceed.
  • Don’t mix different brands of acrylic paint together. This might be the cause of the paint cracking. Choose a brand that you’re comfortable with and use it for your shoes. Acrylic paint doesn’t take long to dry which means waiting won’t be too overwhelming. To speed up the drying process, don’t make the mistake of using a hairdryer. The heat will cause the paint to crack. Keep your shoes in a place that receives good airflow and is not extremely warm.
  • This is a crucial step. Make the most of an acrylic sealer once you’re done with your painting. Never drag the waterproofing spray across your shoes while you’re spraying. Do it in pointed bursts otherwise, the paint will smear all over the canvas ruining your art. Take your own sweet time. Start with one spot, two quick bursts of spray, and then the next spot. Cover all the crevices in this manner.
How to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes trick
Acrylic Painted White Sneakers

Which Is The Best Suited Paint For Your Shoes?

What kind of paint to use on your canvas shoes? Well, Acrylic paint arrives in two different kinds –

The primary difference is in price. The student’s quality is way cheaper than the other one and doesn’t offer several color choices. On the other hand, the artist’s quality though expensive is manufactured with finely ground, premium quality pigment.

For a smoother consistency, you must choose the artist’s quality paint. From enjoying a better blend to experiencing ease while you’re at it – the artist’s quality acrylic paint delivers a vibrant finish. Acrylic colors are available in ten basic shades.

However, if you own cadmium yellow, cadmium red, titanium white, ivory black, and phthalo blue you will be covered. Alizarin crimson is a great choice if you wish your pinks and reds to stand out without having any orangey hue to it. Burnt sienna is excellent for an earthy tone. Your paints must be tightly covered when they are not being used.

Learn The Best Ways To  Paint Your Running Shoes:

Running shoes are a great choice to use acrylic paint. They are great to work with and can prove budget-friendly to work with. You’ll obviously need a couple of things to get started –

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Piece of cloth
  • Fine-bristled brush – one
  • Wide-bristled brush – one
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sealing spray
  • Newspaper

Step by Step Instructions For You To Follow:

  • Dampen your cloth with some water. Use it to remove traces of dirt or dust accumulating on your shoes.
  • In case you own a pair of leather running shoes, using the fine-grit sandpaper, gently sand the surface of the shoes where you wish to apply paint. When you roughen up the shoe surface, the paint will adhere to it better. However, if you own a pair of canvas running shoes, forget about doing this step.
  • Start applying the paint in small and even strokes. It is always advisable to start with lighter shades and then proceed toward the darker ones. If you are interested in perfecting detailed work, choose the fine-bristled brush. For getting the backdrop done, the wide-bristled brush is perfect.
  • Let them dry completely before you wear them.
acrylic paint on shoes hack shoe-feet-confetti-rainbow
Acrylic Paint On Shoes

Can You Paint Leather Shoes With Acrylic?

It is advisable to choose cloth or canvas material for your acrylic paint but what should one do if they are desperately trying to change the color of their leather shoes? Leather shoes can prove tricky for acrylic paint, nevertheless, it can definitely be done. You have to get started with a little prep. Follow these steps and you’ll have a beautiful pair of painted leather shoes.

  • There is a particular glaze on leather shoes. In order for acrylic paint to work, this has to go. If you prepare the leather properly, the paint won’t peel, chip, or crack.
  • Leather Preparer and Deglazer are important tools for you. Start by brushing your shoes using it. It will remove the factory finish and make it easier for the paint to adhere.
  • Thin layers of paint should be used. This will enable you to create consistent-looking art. Thin the acrylic paint by combining it with water.
  • You must let one layer dry before applying the next. Use a sponge or a flat paintbrush for this.
  • Let your shoes dry naturally after you have finished. Keep it in a shaded spot with good airflow.
  • Apply the finisher using a flat paintbrush or sponge in the same direction you’ve applied the paint. This will take a day to dry.
  • You can revive the glory of your leather shoes by applying shoe cream to them before you wear them. This will ensure the shine and texture are maintained.

Using acrylic paint is undeniably a great opportunity to transform the beauty of your same old pair of boring shoes. Why would anyone shy away from art? Though it will take some effort from your part acrylic paint can surely be used in shoes. Follow the steps we mentioned to paint your shoes and make sure to keep in mind the specific instructions for preventing acrylic paint from cracking.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?

How Do I Stop Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?

To prevent cracking of acrylic paint on shoes, make sure the shoes are clean and dry before painting. Avoid using too much paint and apply it in thin layers. Use a flexible fabric medium to mix with the acrylic paint.

Allow the shoes to dry completely before wearing.

Can I Use Acrylic Paint On Leather Shoes?

Acrylic paint can be used on leather shoes if a leather preparatory product is applied first. This will help the paint adhere to the leather. Also, avoid painting high-wear areas, such as the soles, to prevent cracking and peeling.

How Do I Wash Shoes After Using Acrylic Paint?

After painting shoes with acrylic paint, you should avoid washing them in a washing machine. Use a damp cloth and mild soap to gently wipe away dirt or stains.

How Can I Make My Shoes Last Longer After Painting?

To make your painted shoes last longer, seal the paint with a protective sealant or spray. This will prevent fading, cracking, and peeling. Additionally, store your shoes in a cool, dry place when not in use.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Shoes?

It may take 24-48 hours for acrylic paint to fully dry on shoes. The drying time may depend on the type of paint used, thickness of layers, and humidity level. Make sure to allow enough drying time before applying additional layers or wearing the shoes.

Can I Use Regular Acrylic Paint On Shoes?

Regular acrylic paint can be used on shoes, but it is not recommended. It may crack and peel easily, especially with wear and tear. Use a fabric or leather-friendly acrylic paint and mix it with a flexible fabric medium for best results.


To sum up, acrylic paint is a great option to customize your shoes and make them look unique. However, the finished product can be prone to cracking if not taken care of properly. By following the tips mentioned in this blog post, such as properly cleaning and prepping your shoes, choosing the right type of paint and applying it in thin layers, and protecting the finished product with a sealant, you can prevent your acrylic paint from cracking and ensure that your shoes remain looking great for a long time.

With a little patience and attention to detail, even beginners can achieve impressive results with acrylic paint on shoes. So, whether you want to add a pop of color to your sneakers or create custom designs for a special occasion, keep these tips in mind and get ready to turn heads with your personalized footwear.

Best Acrylic Paint for painting on canvas Shoes

best Acrylic Paint for painting on canvas Shoes

Read also: How To Get Paint Off Leather Boots?

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