How to Decorate Sneakers with 14 Creative Techniques

How to Decorate Sneakers with 14 Creative Techniques

Are your sneakers looking a bit plain or worn-out? Maybe you’re just bored with the same old white canvas shoes and crave something fresh and unique. You’re not alone. Many people want their footwear to stand out, reflecting their style and creativity.

The good news is that decorating your sneakers can be an easy and fun solution.

This article will introduce you to creative techniques for sneaker decoration, from acrylic painting to custom designs using markers, stencils, sequins, and more. Whether you aim to revive an old pair of shoes or personalize new ones, we have plenty of ideas to inspire your next project.

With simple steps and materials often already in your craft drawer or easily found at local stores, transforming your sneakers is within reach. Let’s make your shoes talk!

How to Decorate Sneakers: 14 Ways

Transforming your sneakers into unique works of art can be a fun and creative way to express your style. With some imagination and DIY spirit, your sneakers can become a true fashion statement that stands out.

1. Painting and drawing

How to Decorate Sneakers

Transforming plain white sneakers into a vibrant canvas opens up endless possibilities for creativity. With acrylic paint and some imagination, you can produce designs that reflect your unique style.

Sketch your design and begin painting. Wait for the first layer of paint to dry before adding more details or colors. Once the final layer dries, seal your painted shoes with a clear acrylic sealer to protect the artwork from wear and tear.

Each step encourages you to put personal touches on your canvas shoes, turning an old pair into a new treasure inspired by creativity and craftiness.

2. Customize with markers

How to Decorate Sneakers

Customizing your sneakers with markers is a fun and easy way to add a personal touch. Waterproof markers are best for this project. They ensure your designs stay put, even if you get caught in the rain.

3. Tie dye

How to Decorate Sneakers

Creating tie-dye sneakers is a fun and imaginative way to add flair to your footwear. With some basic supplies and creativity, you can transform white lace-up tennis shoes into colorful masterpieces.

This DIY project allows you to express yourself through fashion and gives you unique sneakers that showcase your style. Whether decorating for yourself or making a custom pair as a gift, tie-dye shoes are sure to stand out!

4. DIY glitter shoes

How to Decorate Sneakers

Transform your plain sneakers into a sparkling work of art with glitter. This popular technique is an affordable way to add glam and personality to your footwear. 

First, apply a thin, even layer of decoupage glue to a small area of your shoe. Then, sprinkle generous amounts of glitter onto the glued area. Ensure complete coverage before proceeding to the next section. Repeat the process until the entire shoe is covered. Allow it to dry completely before adding additional layers of decoupage glue for durability. Following these steps, you can easily create stunning glitter shoes that reflect your unique style and creativity!

5. Use stencils and stickers

How to Decorate Sneakers

Decorate your sneakers with stencils and stickers to create unique and personalized designs. Begin by gathering stencils and stickers in various shapes, patterns, and sizes. Carefully position the stencil or sticker on your shoe to ensure it’s precisely where you want it. Press firmly to adhere them to the shoe material without air bubbles.

Stencil or trace around the stencil with fabric paint for a clean design, or color inside the stencil using fabric markers for a more intricate look. Peel off the stencil or sticker once the paint or marker is dry; this will reveal your newly decorated shoe.

6. Decorate with rhinestones or sequins

How to Decorate Sneakers

Adding rhinestones and sequins to your DIY shoe designs can instantly elevate their style with sparkle and flair.

Before applying the rhinestones or sequins to your sneakers, map out where you want them to be. Then, gently press each rhinestone or sequin onto the adhesive, ensuring they are firmly in place. You can even experiment with different colors and sizes of rhinestones or sequins to craft detailed and eye-catching patterns on your shoes.

This decoration idea helps you achieve stunning and personalized sneaker designs, allowing you to express your creativity through unique footwear embellishments.

7. Decorate with buttons

How to Decorate Sneakers

To continue your creative journey, let’s explore the unique technique of decorating shoes with buttons. This can add an exciting and tactile element to your footwear. Consider these ideas:

  • Button Cluster: For an eye-catching effect, create a cluster of buttons in various sizes on the front or side of the shoe.
  • Button Trim: For an elegant touch, sew a row of tiny buttons along the edge of the shoe tongue or around the sole.
  • Monogrammed Buttons: Arrange buttons to form your initials or a personalized design on your sneakers for a one-of-a-kind look.
  • Colorful Patterns: Mix and match different colored buttons to create patterns such as polka dots or stripes for a fun and playful vibe.
  • Theme-Inspired Buttons: Select themed buttons such as animal-shaped, floral, or nautical designs to complement your overall shoe design concept.

8. Decorate with studs

How to Decorate Sneakers

Give your sneakers a trendy edge with DIY studded designs. Here’s how you can transform your sneakers with metal studs for a fashion-forward look:

  • Plan your design: Decide where to place the studs on your sneakers. A popular option is to create rows along the sides or around the ankle area.
  • Mark the placement: Use a ruler and pencil to mark where each stud will go. This ensures that they are evenly spaced and aligned.
  • Set the studs: Carefully use the stud setter tool to secure each stud. Make sure they are pressed firmly into the fabric for a secure hold.
  • Enjoy your new look: Once all the studs are in place, step out in style with your customized studded sneakers.

9. Decorate with patches

How to Decorate Sneakers

You can easily personalize your sneakers by adding patches. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • For a bold and unique look, sew various patches onto your shoes, such as floral, animal, or geometric designs.
  • Iron-on patches effortlessly add personality to plain sneakers. Choose from a range of designs and motifs to suit your style.
  • Combine different shapes, sizes, and colors of patches to create an eclectic and eye-catching design on your sneakers.
  • Experiment with themed patches like vintage logos, band emblems, or sports team insignias to showcase your interests and hobbies.
  • Mix and match patches strategically along the sides or tongue of the shoes for a trendy and customized appearance.

10. Embroidery

How to Decorate Sneakers

Using embroidery to decorate sneakers creatively adds a unique and personalized touch to your footwear. By carefully stitching intricate designs or patterns onto the fabric of the sneakers, you can transform a plain pair into a one-of-a-kind fashion statement. Embroidery allows endless possibilities, from simple monograms to elaborate floral motifs or geometric shapes. Not only does it showcase your style, but it also gives your sneakers a handmade and artisanal look. Whether you’re looking to revamp an old pair or elevate a new one, embroidery offers a fun and creative way to express yourself through your fashion choices.

11. DIY Galaxy sneakers

How to Decorate Sneakers

Now, let’s delve into creating DIY Galaxy sneakers. Get ready to unleash your creativity with this stellar design project. Here’s how you can turn a plain pair of white lace-up tennis shoes into a galaxy-inspired masterpiece:

  • Prepare the workspace by covering it with newspaper or an old cloth to prevent messes.
  • Remove the laces from the shoes and use painter’s tape to cover the rubber soles and any other parts you don’t want to paint.
  • Mix fabric paint colors like indigo, turquoise, purple, and black on a palette to create a cosmic effect.
  • Use a sponge or brush to apply the mixed colors to the shoes in a swirling motion resembling a galaxy.
  • Add stars using white fabric paint and a small brush or toothbrush by splattering the paint over the shoes.
  • After the paint dries completely, seal it with Mod Podge for the fabric to give your Galaxy shoe durability.

12. Ombre shoes and laces

How to Decorate Sneakers

Transforming a plain pair of sneakers into stylish ombre masterpieces is an exciting and rewarding project. Below, you’ll find easy-to-follow steps to achieve the perfect gradient effect on your shoes and laces.

  • Prepare your work area by covering it with newspaper or a drop cloth to prevent any overspray.
  • Remove the shoelaces from your sneakers and stuff the shoes with paper to maintain their shape during painting.
  • Shake the fabric spray paint cans thoroughly for about a minute before use.
  • Hold the can about 6 inches away from the bottom of the shoe and spray in short bursts, gradually moving upwards to create a light mist of color.
  • Allow the first layer to dry completely before applying subsequent layers to intensify the ombre effect.
  • Repeat the process for each shoe until you achieve your desired gradient look.
  • For ombre laces, spread them out flat and apply the fabric spray paint in corresponding colors using a light misting technique.
  • Once dried, re-lace your sneakers with the ombre laces for a coordinated finish.

13. DIY polka-dot sneakers

How to Decorate Sneakers

DIY polka-dot sneakers are a fun and creative way to add a personal touch to your footwear. To make your own, start with a plain pair of sneakers in the color of your choice. Carefully create polka dots in various sizes and colors over the shoes using fabric paint or markers. You can get as creative as you like with the placement and design of the dots to achieve a unique and stylish look. Once the paint is dry, your custom polka-dot sneakers will be ready to wear and show off your artistic flair!

14. DIY mermaid sneakers

How to Decorate Sneakers

DIY mermaid sneakers to personalize your footwear. Start with a plain white or light-colored canvas sneaker to create your own pair. Use acrylic paints in shades of blue, green, and purple to mimic the colors of the ocean. Add shimmering details with glitter or metallic paint to give your shoes a magical underwater effect. You can also incorporate seashell or starfish embellishments for an extra touch of mermaid charm. Let your imagination guide you as you transform ordinary sneakers into a whimsical fashion statement uniquely yours.


Upgrade your sneakers with creative techniques. From painting and drawing to using stencils and stickers, you can easily personalize your shoes. Follow DIY tutorials for tie-dye shoes, glitter sneakers, or even embroidered designs.

Explore practical sneaker makeover ideas, from fabric embellishments to polka-dot patterns. What impact will your unique designs have on your style? Embrace creativity and step out in confidence with personalized kicks!


1. How can I decorate my canvas shoes?

You can decorate your canvas shoes with markers, paint them using fabric paint, or even apply cutouts for a unique design. It’s a fun craft project that lets you express your creativity.

2. Can I use any paint on my sneakers?

Yes, but for the best results on canvas or synthetic leather shoes, use fabric paint. Because it sticks better and lasts longer through wear and washing.

3. Is it possible to customize both leather and canvas sneakers?

Absolutely! You can customize your shoes, whether they’re made of leather or canvas. Use markers designed for leather on leather shoes and fabric paints or markers on canvas ones.

4. What if I don’t want to change my sneakers permanently?

If you’re hesitant about permanent changes, consider using temporary decorations, such as tying colorful ribbons through the laces or attaching clip-on accessories that won’t damage the shoe.

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