Neon Shoes DIY & Painting Leather

neon soles shoes diy- paint leather

I was inspired by this photo of a neon pink and yellow soled shoe I “pinned” a few weeks ago but because it was uploaded without a URL, I hadn’t a clue who it was by or where I could buy it. After a bit of research, I think it was originally available at Topshop but was sold out by the time I discovered it. Which leads me to this: Please, when using Pinterest, if you upload your own photo, go back in and edit it to add the original link. Not only because it’s the right thing to do when uploading images that do not belong to you, but also, in this case, for shopping purposes 😉 But regardless, it inspired this DIY…

I spread this project out over a number of days so as not to rush it and while you can use a hair dryer to speed the drying process, I found it was just as easy to add a new coat the following day and then another the day after that. *SAFETY TIP: Make sure if you’re using toxic paints to work in a properly vented area.


Neon Shoes DIY - how to paint leather shoes

* Shoes in a near natural/raw leather state sans major finishes. Mine are Pour La Victoire sandalsseen here.
* Rubbing alcohol, a cloth, q-tips.
* Nail polishes, including white. *NOTE: You may also use acrylic paints or Acrylic Leather Paint. I chose nail polish because of its high gloss finish and because it was easy to come by. I chose Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear polishes because of their consistency and thickness. Top coat is optional {I actually didn’t use one but am curious to see how they “scuff” without it – Also, my colors aren’t as “neon” as my inspiration}.
* Nail polish remover and a fine or thin/angled paintbrush.
* Paint brushes {you may choose to just use the brushes that come in the nail polish bottles, which ended up being a better choice than the synthetic brushes because the nail polish brushes left less brush marks and applied thicker coats}.
* Drying racks… I used a candlestick and a paper towel dispenser.
* Hair dryer is optional, speeds up the drying process.
* Painter’s tape.


Neon Shoes DIY  -  paint leather shoes 1

* Using your painter’s tape, tape off all areas of your shoe that you don’t wish to paint.

Neon Shoes DIY  -  paint leather shoes  2

* Using rubbing alcohol {in a vented area} treat all the areas of the shoes you’re going to paint by simply taking a cotton swab doused in alcohol and rubbing it on. Use a rag or washcloth for the larger areas, like the sole.

Neon Shoes DIY -  paint leather shoes 4

* Begin with your white paint, and as a primer of sorts, cover all areas that are to be painted with a coat or two of white. I used the larger/synthetic brushes for this step, especially for the the soles and heels.

Neon Shoes DIY  -  paint leather shoes 5

* Let you primer dry over night.

Neon Shoes DIY - paint leather shoes 6

* Begin painting on your bright neon colors. I painted the soles first then proceeded to do all the yellow areas. Use your lightest color first. You can easily paint over any mess ups with your darker color.

Neon Shoes DIY - paint leather shoes 7

* Paint any areas not touching your opposite/wet color, to speed up the process.

Neon Shoes DIY - paint leather shoes 8

* Let your first coats on all areas dry overnight. Once completely dry, cover each area with a second coat {painting in the opposite direction of the last} and let dry. Apply a top coat if you like.

* After all coats of paint are dry, go through with your fine angled paintbrush and using nail polish remover, tidy up any mess-ups. It didn’t affect my leather at all and removed the excess paint quite nicely.


painting shoes - NEON SHOES DIY

* Essie’s Lapis of Luxury on my toes *

neon yellow pink  shoes  diy

Neon heels shoes diy - painting shoes

neon and nude-painting leather shoes

Have Fun!


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LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Neris / Fashion Fractions

    March 7, 2012 |

    I LOVE how they turned out! such a fun DIY 🙂


    Fashion Fractions

  • Lips N Stick

    March 7, 2012 |

    I really love these shoes!!!! But I don’t know if I would ever dare to do this…If I would mess it up..

    But really love it..

  • Natali

    March 7, 2012 |

    WOOOOW! You have a whole new pair of shoes!!
    Wonderful DIY, so inspiring!

  • thankfifi

    March 7, 2012 |

    these are actually amazing and you would NEVER know they were a DIY – I look forward to seeing them in an outfit post.x

  • Tara

    March 7, 2012 |

    Wow. These are such a spectacular DIY!

  • Haydee Rodriguez

    March 7, 2012 |


  • Patty Freitas

    March 7, 2012 |

    Arrasou, tenho um sapato parecido com esse que comprei quando tinha 18 anos, hoje tenho 26 e faz uns 4 anos que não uso mais, vou fazer o diy!!!

  • Gawgus things...

    March 7, 2012 |

    I can’t believe you did this with nail polish – amazing!
    Emma x

  • Sylvia from Dare to DIY

    March 7, 2012 |

    At first I though the picture from above was from the real shoes you got inspired by… I’m impressed, I love the combination of colors and everything on this shoes!!

    I recently used nail polish in one of my DIY’s, to paint a metallic necklace and it works pretty well. I hope this works well for you, because this shoes are soooo pretty!

    DIY fashion blog

  • Maria

    March 7, 2012 |

    I never would have thought on using nail polish on leather. I did try revamping a pair of sandals with acrylic paint, but it wasn’t as risky as this!
    Congratulations on yet another great DIY!

  • Alexis

    March 7, 2012 |

    This is such an awesome idea, and it turned out looking fantastic! I would never guess that is nail polish. So impressed.

  • Justine {Stop Me if You've Heard This One}

    March 7, 2012 |

    You are much too clever, my dear! They look fantastic 🙂

  • jenn~the stylish housewife

    March 7, 2012 |

    i can’t believe you used nail polish to paint your shoes! i would have NEVER thought of that! they turned out so cute!!!

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

  • cleverandcatchy

    March 7, 2012 |

    I love these!!! I JUST use nail polish last week to spice up an old purse. I’ll have to take it to shoes next!

  • My Dressy Ways

    March 7, 2012 |

    Shut. The. Front. Door.

    SO amazing Maegan, and they look fantastic!!! Great idea for reviving an old pair.

  • pjlatte

    March 7, 2012 |

    Amazing! You are so creative and did such a great job. I love the after much more than before!!!

    ♥ Pjlatte’s Bag Book ♥

  • BmoreLoveLeigh

    March 7, 2012 |

    You really took some basic, boring shoes and made them look totally revamped and on-trend. Amazing job! I’m curious how the nail polish will hold up. I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for some shoes I can do this to. You’re a DIY goddess! haha

  • Miss Caitlin S.

    March 7, 2012 |

    another amazing DIY by Maegan… WHAT ELSE IS NEW! 🙂

  • Kristen Davolt

    March 7, 2012 |

    Wow they look great! I’m really surprised you did that with nail polish.

  • House of Hemingway

    March 7, 2012 |

    I think they look fantastic! Did you seal them in anyway? I’m wondering if a coat of Polyurethane would help retain the color longer? Whm…. They really look amazing!

    I have a Kate Spade giveaway, come ovah!

  • Me

    March 7, 2012 |

    I’m pretty crafty myself, but YOU, you always make me shake my head in amazement!

  • Lorena

    March 7, 2012 |

    I am really REALLY amazed at how spectacular this looks !


    March 7, 2012 |

    I definitely need to do this! I also featured this on my facebook page. You are genius!

  • Andrea Clare

    March 7, 2012 |

    lovely! Im excited to see how you pair them in the future!

  • Anonymous

    March 7, 2012 |

    looks real good like always
    text for free at

  • House of Avandan

    March 7, 2012 |

    Your shoes turned out great!

  • Alice Barton

    March 7, 2012 |

    amazing looove it!!!

  • ¡mEncanta!

    March 7, 2012 |

    Great Idea

  • Yunstation

    March 7, 2012 |
  • Karissa

    March 7, 2012 |

    I love this idea! The result is amazing, neon with neutral is so pretty.

  • Alex

    March 7, 2012 |

    love these! on the hunt for the perfect shoe to do this to.

  • Lisa Petrarca

    March 7, 2012 |

    Is there anything you can’t make fabulous Maegan?

  • Chelsea

    March 7, 2012 |

    As always, you never cease to amaze me with all your craftiness!

  • Fede

    March 7, 2012 |

    This is soooooo amazing girl, definitely gonna try it!!

    But i was wondering, how much time will it last? I’m asking this ’cause polish on my nails lasts about one to three days (when I’m lucky!) and I will be so sad of ruining this masterpiece after a few days (also considering that it won’t be effortless for me doing this).
    Could you advise me for some long-lasting (and maybe impact-resistant) kind of paint?

    Thank you sooo much for all your lovely ideas! 🙂

  • Monique

    March 7, 2012 |

    This is amazing. I’m pinning now… With link. 🙂

  • Borntashyne01

    March 8, 2012 |

    I adore those shoes and this process! OMG I cannot wait to try this – Thx a ton for this post!

  • Kelly

    March 8, 2012 |

    wow! They look soo good! I would have never thought to use nail polish!

  • Hira

    March 8, 2012 |

    Great idea! I used spray paint and acrylic sealer on mine! Let us know how the longevity of the nail polish is =)

  • *Glam Chameleon*

    March 8, 2012 |

    Great idea, they’re so pretty and funny! Those sandals now can make your day!;)

  • Alela Sirah

    March 8, 2012 |
  • Steph C.

    March 8, 2012 |

    oh wow! fabulous idea!
    They turned out so wonderfully!!



  • Carsedra

    March 8, 2012 |

    Totally fab!! You have some of the most amazing DIY ideas!!!

    Carsedra of:

  • Alizia

    March 8, 2012 |

    Perfect idea, it looks fantastic!

  • Marina

    March 8, 2012 |

    look amazing 🙂 love it


  • Mumma

    March 8, 2012 |

    I love that you used nail polish, so brilliant, will try it for sure, check my latest DIY pastel necklace.

  • rachelle

    March 9, 2012 |

    Your shoes are SO much more fabulous than mine! Thanks for visiting my blog, and I’m so happy it let me stumble upon yours! Looking forward to reading more. 🙂


  • Ewa Prokopczuk

    March 9, 2012 |

    This is a great idea! I have a bunch of old nail polish and this is the perfect project to try on a pair of shoes from Ross, Forever21, etc.

    Sounds like a spring break DIY plan to me!

    🙂 Ewa

  • Holly

    March 10, 2012 |


  • Emma

    March 10, 2012 |

    It’s so cool!Love them!!!

  • Ana Costa e Silva

    March 10, 2012 |
  • Fashionary Monster

    March 10, 2012 |

    Looks awesome!! Now I wanna try it.

    Check out my blog at

  • Nevena

    March 11, 2012 |


  • Lundhags

    March 14, 2012 |

    Your shoes are probably the single most expensive piece of clothing you wear every day, and are undoubtedly the garment you put under the most stress and expect the most out of. Take care of them and you can get some extra mileage out of your clothing budget.

  • salsitstyle

    March 17, 2012 |

    Wish to have more Fashion ? leading branded fashion retailer. The place to find all the greatest brands, offers, styles and trends. Shop up to 90% off all designer clothing and Accessories | leather jackets, skirts, hats,Gifts handbags, v-neck, shorts,Shoes ,dress, brands jeans,For Her , for him Women’s Blouses,Women’s T-Shirts,Women’s Skirts,Women’s Tank Tops & Camisoles,Totes,Women’s Pants,Women’s Capes & Ponchos,Women’s Vests, >,Women’s Dresses ,Women’s Shoes,Original Handbags & Totes. also you can find eye catching affordable designer brands , up to 90% for designer brands .Buy on sale 2011 trends designer clothing.New lines added daily. Buy today, wear tomorrow!

  • Rebecca DaFashionista

    March 22, 2012 |

    YOu know, I have thought to do this, especially DIY-ing the most coveted red sole shoes. But I have never been to sure on the durability of nail polish on shoe materials. How long will it last and how often will you be able to wear the shoes without the polish chipping off? Please let me know. Thanks.


  • wanting{^(OO)^}

    March 29, 2012 |

    Hi Maegan! Would rubbing alcohol work for synthetic leeather? I’m afraid it would get corroded 🙁

  • Adventures in Dressmaking

    April 26, 2012 |

    Those are awesome! And totally unique–no one else will have those exact ones and I love that with bold pieces!
    I can see nail polish working better than spray paint. Easier to touch up, too!

  • Style Maniac

    May 4, 2012 |

    Get out! These are AMAZING. I never would have imagined you did DIY-anything from that first pic (except that I saw your post on Pour La Victoire). Fab fab fab.

  • Run With Fashion

    May 10, 2012 |

    looove how your diy colored shoes came out! I love the high gloss finish, it makes it look like it wasn’t even a DIY! 😀 Really cool.
    Also, I didn’t even think of using nail polish for coloring a shoe, good idea 🙂


  • Denise

    May 10, 2012 |

    This is a gorgerous idea!!!! I love this shoes!!!

  • Christy

    May 11, 2012 |

    I am trying to learn how to be more of a fashionista. As a mother of three I have lost my style. I ran accross your blog through I {Heart} naptime. LOVE the shoes! I can’t wait to find some and do it myself.

  • styledsurprises

    July 17, 2012 |

    Ah! I was trying to figure out a way to get this look without having to buy neon paint and then waste almost all of it… The answer is nail polish… Thank you Thank you… Now on the hunt to find a way to add show straps… Trying to do a major shoe transformation:)

  • ss davis

    July 22, 2012 |

    These are outstanding! I was looking for a way to use nail polish to change the color of a strapped sandal and I really think this will work just fine. So much cheaper than trying to find and buy shoe dye! And a lot less expensive than buying new shoes ….

  • suan zhang

    January 11, 2013 |

    Elegant and beautiful shoes did you purchase them at

  • Molly Meetz

    March 14, 2013 |

    I know this post is almost a year old but did the nail polish chip? I’m OBSESSED with this and probably going to do it and buy the exact same shoe but I was wondering if after the fact you would suggest doing acrylic paint instead of nail polish?

  • Sheamus Warior

    July 3, 2013 |

    Appreciate you guys you are doing a really terrific job.
    drywall installation

  • abi

    June 26, 2014 |

    how did you get the coats s

  • abi

    June 26, 2014 |

    how did you get the polish to go on so smoothly…mine has brush marks! 🙁

  • Maria

    August 19, 2015 |

    Great idea. Have you ever tried to paint them with glitter nail polish?

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