How to Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?

Learn how you can make your acrylic-painted shoes last longer

Written by Kate Holmsy. Updated on How to Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes

Acrylic paint is one of the most commonly used types of paint these days. It is mostly used for all sorts of creative activities, for example, painting on canvas, wood, or glass (as well as other surfaces).

And this paint is so versatile and easy to use that both adults and children love working with it.

However, if you want to paint your shoes with acrylics, you might face an issue with acrylic paint cracking.

Of course, cracks that appear on your shoes don’t make the design look any better. This is why amateur shoe artists tend to wonder how to keep acrylic paint on shoes longer without any cracks.

In this article, you can find the answer to this question. We will explain to you how you can keep your shoes painted with acrylics cracks-free.

Also, you will learn how shoes can be painted with acrylic paints. Thanks to our step-by-step guide, you will be able to turn any pair of your shoes into a unique and custom masterpiece!

How to Keep Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Your Shoes?

Acrylic paint is very easy to work with even if you are not a professional artist. This paint dries very fast and it is easy to apply since you don’t need any paint thinners or other additional chemicals to make it work.

6 Things I WISH I Knew When I Started Painting Shoes6 Things I WISH I Knew When I Started Painting Shoes

This is what makes acrylics more preferable in comparison to oil paints.

And since acrylic paint can be used on quite many surfaces including fabric, wood, glass, and many others, it has become a top paint for various DIY artistic and creative handmade projects. Painting on shoes with acrylics is one of them.

The only issue that may bother you should you try it is how to make the paint stay on shoes longer without developing cracks.

Although acrylics are easy to apply to the shoe, they can be tricky to keep on. Acrylic paint tends to crack as it dries, which will ruin your design, especially if you are wearing these shoes all the time.

This is why we recommend you think about preventing the color from breaking when you begin painting. Here are a few tips that you might find helpful:

How to Keep Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Your Shoes
Yakov_Oskanov via VistaCreate

Consider Painting With Thin Layers

When you paint your shoes, make sure you apply the paint in thin layers. This process is not something you should do in a hurry! If you start layering on thick paint from the beginning, it will likely result in cracking later afterward.

Instead, when making your first stroke, you should make sure that you have very little paint on the brush. Let it dry then, and proceed to painting with another layer. Acrylics dry fast, so it shouldn’t take you too long.

Consider the Direction of the Strokes

If you pay attention to it, you will see that paint tends to crack where the shoe flexes the most. Usually, it is a toe box. In order to avoid it, try to direct your strokes in the same direction.

Simply bend your sneakers and watch where the lines appear. For example, in the toe box, you want to go across as opposed to straight down from the top.

Paint With the Same Brand Of Paint

Avoid mixing brands of paint when coloring your shoes. Although this is not a proven fact, many people state that combining two or more brands makes the paint crack more easily. Perhaps, this could happen because of some distinctions in the paint texture or content.

Never Heat Your Shoes to Make Them Dry Faster!

We know that it is extremely tempting to finally see what your design looks like, but don’t apply heat to speed up the drying process! Avoid using the hairdryer or placing the shoes in direct sunlight as well.

The heat will crack the paint easily, and you will ruin your hard work. Instead, find a place with good airflow and a comfortable temperature.

Of course, you might have to wait a bit longer, but the reward will be much better: custom-painted shoes with bright colors and an even smooth surface.

Never Heat Your Shoes to Make Them Dry Faster
artlu via VistaCreate

Seal Your Design

When you are done creating your design, use an acrylic paint sealer. The secret to how to seal acrylic paint on shoes is to do it in bursts, not dragging it across. Find a spot, do two quick spray bursts and then move to the next. Of course, it is a time-consuming process, but the results are worth it.


Finish Your Shoes With a Waterproof Spray

As you probably know, acrylics are not waterproof. The paint can easily start bleeding if your shoes become wet.

This is why some extra protection is always a good idea. So when the sealant is dry, you can apply a waterproofing spray.

For this purpose, feel free to use any regular rain and stain product. Spray it in a gentle coating and let your shoes dry thoroughly for 24 hours before wearing them.

Like that, if you follow these simple recommendations and use the life hacks we have shared with you, your hand-painted shoes will serve you longer. But of course, even if all these precautions are taken, it doesn’t mean that acrylic design will never crack!

Sooner or later, you will start noticing cracks anyway. However, they will appear much later if you make sure that you used the tips we gave you.

Finish Your Shoes With a Waterproof Spray
ruseyskiy via VistaCreate

How to Prepare For Painting Shoes With Acrylic Paint?

Now you may think: “what is it so difficult about painting shoes with acrylics that requires preparations?” However, even when working with such easy-to-use paint as acrylics, you should take a few nuances into consideration.

It will not only help you create a better design and master the paint. Also, it will contribute to a more extended lifespan of your shoe art which means…that’s right, fewer cracks!

How to Customize Shoes Using Regular Acrylic Paint | Step by Step Process (Quick Summary)How to Customize Shoes Using Regular Acrylic Paint | Step by Step Process (Quick Summary)

Prepare the Shoes For Painting

First of all, you need to take your time to prepare the painting surface. The better it is ready for the upcoming design application, the more chances the design will last longer.

In this case, you need to make sure that the shoes are clean and free of dust before you start applying acrylic paint to them. If your shoes are old, you need to clean them with water and then give them enough time to dry completely. The best option is to let the shoes dry in the sun.

Paint does not do very well on wet surfaces, as well as on dust and dirt. So don’t skip this step.

If the shoes are new, you can just give them a shake-down to let go of any dust particles. When you are sure that the shoes are thoroughly clean, you can proceed to the next step.

How to Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes?
GarnaZarina via VistaCreate

Choose Your Paints And Brushes

This is the second step that should be taken. You need to decide what brand of acrylic paint you are going to use. In addition, you need to choose the brushes that you will need.

If you are not very knowledgeable about acrylics, you can do some research to find out what kind of paint to use on shoes. With so many of these paints on the market, you might need some help to choose the best.

It is often recommended that you choose just a single brand of paint. There is a good reason for that. Different manufacturers may use different ingredients for their acrylic paints. For instance, the ingredients include solvents, polymer, pigments, binders, and so on. However, one manufacturer might use one kind of solvent while another might use a different kind.

This is why we also recommend that you use one paint brand. If you mix two, the ingredients might fail to mix or “agree” properly with each other.

As a result, when using different types of acrylic paints, you might not be able to prevent acrylic paint from cracking. However, you can buy as many different colors as possible from one brand name!

Choose Your Paints And Brushes
vika-pavlyuk via VistaCreate

Apply the Paint In the Correct Way

Do you think that having clean shoes, the right brushes, and high-quality acrylic paint is enough for starting your shoe painting project? However, this is not enough. You also need to know the correct way of paint application. The good thing is that it is not hard at all, as you will see below. So read on.

First of all, your acrylic paint needs to be thinned. Of course, there is a good reason for that.

Thin paint spreads out in a much better way, creating a smooth and even layer of coating. In addition, thinner paint is also easier to spread. As a result, you are going to use less effort and less work.

Also, when you use thinner paint layers, it will penetrate the fibers of the shoes much better. This will result in the paint’s longer lifespan compared to how long it could last should you use a thicker coat of paint.

In addition to thinning your paint, you also need to know how to apply it correctly.

For instance, most of the time, the acrylic paint on shoes is going to start cracking right where your foot bends most when you walk. Therefore, when painting the shoes, you need to pay more attention to such an area.

Apply the Paint In the Correct Way
Y-Boychenko via VistaCreate

How to Paint the Flexible Parts of the Shoes?

The acrylic paint is going to start cracking at the areas of the shoes that move most. Therefore, when you are painting the shoes, you need to pay special attention to these areas.

One of the ways to do this is to paint across these areas and probably give them more strokes than the other areas.

However, you should also note the direction in which the flexing appears so that you paint in the same way. If you paint against the flexing direction, the paint will definitely crack sooner than later.

With these simple life hacks, you will be able to get ready for the shoe painting process and get great results.

How to Paint the Flexible Parts of the Shoes
Y-Boychenko via VistaCreate

What Materials Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On?

This question is among the most frequently asked ones. Those who have just started working with acrylics start wondering what surfaces and materials this paint can be applied to successfully.

As you know, acrylic paint is considered to be rather versatile.

However, it doesn’t mean that it can be used on literally any surface and material! Being aware of what materials it is suitable for, can help you a lot since in this case, you will avoid ruined paint works that were created on the improper surface.

So what materials are the most acrylic-friendly?

  1. Canvas
  2. Paper
  3. Cardboard
  4. Wood (if the surface is prepared for the paint application)
  5. Metal
  6. Fabric (however, it will start cracking or crumbling soon)
  7. Glass
  8. Polymer clay
  9. Air-dry clay
  10. Stone
  11. Plastic
  12. Plaster

If you want to paint with acrylics on plastic, glass, and metal, you need to prepare the surface in advance. And of course, acrylics are not suitable for painting your skin!

So, now you know much more about painting your shoes with acrylic paints.

This paint is affordable and it is very easy to use. It dries fast and comes in a wide variety of magnificent colors (there is even metallic acrylic paint available out there!). Of course, your creativity can become unstoppable with all that!

And with our guide, you will be able to not only apply this paint correctly. Also, you will manage to do it in a way that will make sure that the design on your shoes will last longer with no cracks on them.

What Materials Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On
AndrewLozovyi via VistaCreate

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Is acrylic paint waterproof?

Acrylic paint isn’t waterproof, it’s merely water-resistant. Even if you coat your acrylic painted shoes with a waterproof spray, you should still be mindful before wearing them on a rainy day.

⭐Is acrylic paint permanent?

This depends on the surface you’re applying it to and the quality of the paint. On paper and fabrics, it’s almost permanent. On smooth surfaces (e.g. leather, glass, plastic or metal) it’s more likely to peel or crack off.

⭐Can any acrylic paint be used on shoes?

It’s better to use acrylics designed for fabrics specifically. Artistic acrylics might not adhere to the fabric of your shoes the same well.

⭐Why does acrylic paint crack on shoes?

It happens because the surface of your shoes is twisting and folding while you walk. If you have a habit of sitting on your haunches, it may lead to even more cracks.

Written by
Kate worked in "The Fashion Magazine" for four years as a freelance writer and loved to consult and help people with their style. How to create your own style, how to look beautiful, and select trendy colors for your hair - these are just a few of many issues Kate will happily explain in Beezzly Beauty blogs!
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