Easy DIY Painted Canvas Sneakers

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diy painted sneakersEvery time I go shopping, I find myself eyeing (and convincing myself I should buy) a pair of canvas sneakers. There’s just something so cute and classic about canvas sneakers, especially to wear during spring and summer. They look adorable with shorts, skirts and cuffed jeans – they’re totally a spring and summer staple! I found some adorable mint sneakers but I have to admit I was also eyeing some chambray sneakers that had white polka dots on them. I decided I could get the best of both worlds and buy the mint sneakers but DIY polka dots. Turns out it’s a super easy project – it only took me about 20 minutes and I’m honestly pretty terrible at painting. If I can do it, you can do it! This project would be fun with older kids too!

Supplies needed:
  • all® free clear detergent
  • old towels (just to throw in the wash with the shoes)
  • sneakers (new or gently used)
  • acrylic paint
  • fabric medium
  • brush (or if you want to do polka dots, a pencil with an unused eraser head)

Annnnnnd here’s what to do:

  • Prep your sneakers!
    • If your sneakers are used – Even if your sneakers “look” clean, your face will be near the sneakers and you’ll be touching them with your hands so you want to remove any dirt and allergens. Wait until any dirt or mud is dry and then scrub it off as best you can. Use an old toothbrush to get in the grooves. Remove the laces and place your shoes in a garment bag, otherwise they’ll get too beat up in the wash.
    • If your sneakers are new – You still want to wash them first! In order for the fabric paint to adhere properly, you have to prep fabric by washing it. Also if you have sensitive skin like me, sometimes there are chemicals in new clothes and shoes that can be irritating to the skin. Again, make sure to use a garment bag to protect the sneakers and the towels you wash them with.painted canvas sneakers09
  • Wash your sneakers – Put the sneakers (in the garment bag) in the wash with some old towels. Make sure they are towels that have been washed before a few times, otherwise they might bleed onto your shoes. Use all® free clear detergent to remove allergens, dirt and chemicals from the shoes and get everything nice and clean. Cold water with the most gentle cycle possible on your washing machine is your best bet here. (You can also skip the garment bag and wash by hand if you’d prefer).
  • Dry those sneakers – If you’re feeling risky you can toss the sneakers and towels into the dryer (still in the garment bag!) Use the lowest setting possible, air dry if your machine has it. Fair warning though, this might shrink or warp your sneakers. The safest course of action is to let them air dry completely – you can use a fan to speed up the process a tad.
  • Mix your fabric medium – Follow the directions but more than likely it will be 1 part fabric medium to 2 parts paint. I always just eyeball it, but you do you.


  • Paint away – I decided on polka dots and just used an eraser head to make them. Super easy and makes all the dots uniform. If you’re better at painting than me, use brushes and go crazy! You can also lightly sketch your design with pencil first and then paint over them – whatever suits your fancy!
  • Let those babies dry – They’ll be dry to the touch pretty quick but I’m a firm believer in better safe than sorry, so I’d give them a good 24 hours before you wear them out.

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Bonus: Keep those tennies clean! Use all® free clear detergent to spot treat and remove stains after you start wearing them. Just mix a small amount of detergent in with water and spot treat as needed. If you used the paint medium you should be okay to wash them but I would recommend gently hand washing instead of using the machine.

painted canvas sneakers96Honestly, all® free clear detergent has been a staple in my house for as long as I can remember – we all have sensitive skin plus I have eczema so scented detergent was a no-go. all® free clear detergent is the #1 sensitive skin brand and was also awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association for having no dyes, perfumes, certain chemicals and irritating residues. This stuff is the real deal. It also removes 99% of everyday and seasonal allergens including cat and dog dander, dust mite matter, ragweed, grass and tree pollen. all® free clear is not intended to treat or prevent allergies. I’m especially stoked because now they have the all® free clear Mighty Pacs® – hey, anything that can make laundry day easier is a win, right? Sometimes it’s nice to not have to measure anything out!

all free clear aisleMake sure to pick up some all® free clear detergent or all® free clear Mighty Pacs® – I grabbed mine at my local Target (in the detergent aisle, duh!) but you can find it at just about any retailer that sells laundry detergent. You can also click here to join the all free clear community!


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