Hand-painted Animal Print on Thrifted Suede Shoes

Animal print is SO in right now. Wait, was it ever really out? I have to be honest, I used to shy away from animal print. But these days, I’ve been embracing it in small-yet-gradually-increasing doses. Maybe I’m reaching an age where it just feels right. And I especially love abstracted animal prints!

Anyhow!

Over the weekend, I popped into my local thrift store after a breakfast outing at our fave spot. Apparently, someone or someones had unloaded a large amount of really nice, barely worn shoes that were at or close to my shoe size. I squeezed my foot into many pair that didn’t quite fit, but managed to snag 4 pair in my size that perfectly filled a few holes in my shoe collection. All together, it only cost me $27, and this brown pair of loafers came in at a whopping $3.50! AND! I’d been planning a trip to the shoe store this same weekend to shop for loafers to go with my new Sasha Trousers. So I think it was fate…

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One of my first thoughts after bringing them home was…”Ooh, maybe I should paint these!”. I’d seen @rooted_soles and @katiekortmanart do it on Instagram, so I figured I should give it a go. And it turned out to be SO stinking easy!

To start, I gathered my supplies, all of which I already had on hand:

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Then I set about painting hundreds of tiny spots onto my shoes! Holding my breath at first, I worked my way around, trying to keep the spacing and scale consistent while also making it look as if some spots were cut off at the seams so it would look like the original fabric was printed. Once I conquered the first few spots, I was good to go.

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It only took me about 30 minutes to finish and the paint dried really quickly (it doesn’t take much at all). I used a couple of animal print items I had in my wardrobe as my inspiration for this simple, abstract, spotty animal print: a little purse from Target and another thrifted item that I made into a silk Hana Tank. Before I knew it, I was done!

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I wasn’t sure how I wanted to tackle the tassel, so I left it and the top panel as they were to make it look more intentional. Plus, I was afraid painting the tassel might look a little shabby. And sometimes less is more, students!

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This was such a satisfying and quick project with minimal mess or cleanup involved, which is basically my most favorite type of DIY. And the shoes look SUPER DUPER cute with my hacked plaid Sasha Trousers, if I do say so myself (look at me, mixing prints, too!)!

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