Saddle Shoes

YOU GUYS. I have a new obsession.
I can’t stop making these!
Homemade Saddle Shoes!

….or rather, semi-homemade saddles shoes.
I did not make the actual shoes, but I’ve had a blast painting them, and coloring, and trying out different options!

And what started out as a simple, I’ll just do a quick tutorial to show how I made these (to go along with another post I’m prepping)
quickly unraveled into a frenzy of:
WAIT. What about homemade shoes laces??

You know the frenzy.

So. If you’ve ever wanted to paint simple shoes, for fun…..or for a costume…..(They go great with a Poodle Skirt)
Yep, if you give a girl some saddle shoes, she’ll want a skirt to go with it.
When you give her that skirt, she’ll….
Okay. Here’s what I did.
Maybe you’ll become obsessed too.


I made these two ways:
• Coloring with a Sharpie
• Painting with fabric paint (I really love the Tulip Soft Matte kind)
See more about those paints and other ideas in my video here.

Both are fun methods, just depends on how you like to create–coloring or painting. I found that for a quick, simple pair of black and white saddle shoes, a fresh Sharpie worked great.

Just use a simple pair of white sneakers (or get creative with other types of shoes!) I got mine at Walmart, but you can find them at Target and online too (the Walmart ones ran big on my kids).

COLORING WITH A SHARPIE (see pink photo):
• Remove shoelaces
• Use a fresh sharpie
• Outline the holes and the area between the stitching
• Color in between the lines!
• If you go OUTside of the lines….don’t worry! Just add to the line. Keep drawing on and around the line to help it continue back into the line of the area you’re coloring, so it looks intentional. This is something I learned from the Disney Animator Studio class at California Adventure. The animator encouraged us to never erase any “mistakes” from our drawings…but rather, to add to it! Make it be part of your artwork. I love that idea.
• Press down at the seams and really get the marker in between that space.
• Add a second coat of coloring, if needed
• GET CREATIVE! It’s fun to practice dots, lines, scallops, etc in the shoe space before coloring in, to see what you like. Then just color over it. And apply some of those designs to the finished shoes if you want!

Simple. Cute. I would wear these in real life.
Maybe even with my apron/skirt.
Watch out!

Okay, now here’s a great tip.


I know you’ve had that annoying moment when you tie a bow on a dress or a skirt, and when you’re done, it flips around to the other side, it looks upside down, it’s just not working?  It’s annoying.
There’s a very simple solution.

After you make the initial first tie, START THE FIRST LOOP with whichever side of side of the string is UP. In the photo below it’s the right side of my laces. If you tied it differently, it might be left side. So start with the UPside, then make the other loop and finish it off.  It will hang straight! Yaaaaay.

Sharpie markers come in many colors (though I only tried black) and it would be fun to draw designs all over the shoes. You can also find other types of coloring options in a craft store. So look around and have fun!

Okay, now let’s mix it up with more colors, more options, more metallic gold?
Let’s paint!

PAINTING SHOES (see orange photo below):

It’s best to use fabric paint because it will keep the paint from cracking. You can see more about fabric paint and my techniques in this video here.

I prefer the Tulip Soft Matte paint, but there are so many paint types out there. And you can use inexpensive acrylic craft paint too, but I would recommend adding a fabric medium (found at a craft store) to your paint. The medium will change the texture a bit and help prevent cracking (which is what fabric paint is already designed to do).

If you have a piece of scrap canvas fabric, try out some paint samples to see how it looks on fabric, after drying. And if you can’t find the exact shade you want, mix some colors together! Your paint might start talking to you.

• Remove shoelaces
• Start painting in the space between the stitching
• Carefully paint the curved areas of the shoe. Go slowly and remember the comment above….to add to your paint strokes, rather than feeling like you’ve messed up somewhere, or “gone out of the lines”.
• Use one hand inside the shoe to hold it, as you paint with the other hand.
• Use a smaller brush to get around the holes.
• If you get paint on the metal eyelets, use your finger to wipe it off while it’s still wet.
• If you get paint on the rubber sole, use your thumbnail to scrape down and wipe it off while it’s still wet.
• Press down at the seams and get paint in there too.
• USE A BLOW DRYER to quickly dry the shoes.

Done again!
These are so much fun and could work for many occassions.
Now get extra creative with the tools around you to add dots, dashes, whatever designs you want! I found that a narrow wooden skewer worked great.

I am obsessed with these reddish-orangeish-noeonish shoes.
These are Clara’s size, but I WILL BE MAKING a pair for me!

And if you don’t love white shoelaces with your shoes, make your own! I cut this yarn ribbon the length of my laces, added a bit of tape to the ends and voila.

Okay, happy painting and coloring and strolling around in your new kicks!
If you make some and share them, tag me too @made_everyday

  1. 1) bdaiss

    These are so fantastic!! I remember being *obsessed* with saddle shoes as a kid. Wore them as much as I was allowed. (My daughter hasn’t fallen down that rabbit hole. ) In fact, just last month I was looking for black and white oxford or saddle style tap shoes! Couldn’t find any with split soles though. Bummer. Might have to try a full sole and see how it goes. Because COME.ON. Who can resist?!?

    • 2) Dana

      Hahah. YESSSSS. You have to make some! They are so fun for all ages to wear!!

  2. 3) Nancy

    So cute. Love it. The colors and designs are endless. What fun! Thank You!

    • 4) Dana

      Yes! I want the neon-reddish ones 🙂

  3. 5) marcia isreal

    Love this idea and can’t wait to try it out and teach my 10 year old granddaughter too! Maybe this weekend.

  4. 6) Lisa

    These are AWESOME!!!! Question though… can you share WHERE you purchased the white canvas sneakers??? I’m having a heck of a time finding them for a 9y old who wears about a 1 or 2 size youth shoe!! Thanks so much for the idea!!

  5. 7) gail

    Growing up in the 50’s my parents couldn’t afford Saddle shoes. With an upcoming 50’s Valentine’s dance and costume contest, I had to try the sharpie solution. Stay tuned for the rest of the story .

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