Thursday, October 23, 2014

FAQ - How do you do the lettering on your shoes???

I only really have one Frequently Asked Question, which is “How do you do the lettering on your shoes?” To save myself the trouble of writing out my answer over and over, I thought I’d put together one write up and link to it whenever the question comes up:

Every shoe I do needs to have “Muses” and the year on it before it’s considered finished. I’ve gotten better at doing the lettering the more I practice, but even so I was tired of having to re-do lettering if I wasn’t happy with it the first time, so I ultimately switched over to doing a transfer approach. Transferring takes a little more time, but compared to writing directly on the shoe, you get cleaner lettering and more control over placement/spacing. 

I developed this transfer technique for doing glitter appliques. I've blogged about it, in greatest detail here:

Essentially, I write letters on a ziploc bag in Scribbles paint then shake glitter over the lettering while the paint is still wet enough to hold the glitter. I let it dry overnight (sometimes longer if the paint is really thick) and then the letters peel right off the ziploc. If they don't peel cleanly, the paint probably isn't totally dry – I’d wait a little longer, especially if the paint was thick. Then I glue them on the shoe with E6000. The nice thing about the transfer technique is you can try out how you want the letters spaced before you glue them down. 

I usually free hand the lettering these days, but it's also really handy to print out letters, put the paper inside the ziploc bag and trace, especially when you're matching a specific font or logo. For example, I using tracing for the "Roman Chewing Candy" letters for this shoe:

In the beginning tracing is a big help. A modification of the tracing approach is to put graph paper inside the Ziploc bag and use the grid to guide your lettering. I use graph paper to make NOLA tiles on shoes like these: I make the tile lettering in two steps: first I make the background squares, let those dry, then add the letters on top.

I pretty much only use Scribbles 3-D paint for the lettering. It's got a good viscosity and doesn't collapse when it dries. I usually buy them when Michael's is offering a 25% off total purchase coupon because they rarely go on sale and the little individual bottles are too cheap to be a good use of a 40% off coupon. Another good approach would be to use a Michael's 40% off coupon on one of the 6-packs. I've also bought variety packs on Amazon: Variety Pack of Scribbles paint on Amazon

I like to do 2 or 3 iterations of anything I'm transferring so if something gets a little smudged on one or doesn't look quite right when it dries, I can pick out the best of the bunch. Some of the links in my Techniques Pinterest board cover similar approaches:

If you have any questions, or anything that you're not clear on, please leave a comment here and I’ll edit this write-up. When I get more time (not super likely to be any time soon with a newborn in the house), I may add some pictures, but I promise it's very simple.

Hope this helps - Happy Shoeing!!


  1. I started using this technique after reading about your Hubig's pie transfer and it's GREAT!!! It makes lettering super easy but I like it even more with detailed designs. Thanks for all the tips!!!!

  2. So glad you found it helpful!! Thanks for reading :)

  3. For the Hubig's pie guy, did you fill in the yellow hat and white apron with the scribbles 3d paint as well?

    1. Yes, I did, but for larger areas you may have better luck using a little paint brush to spread the paint, rather than using the tube applicator. I think the tube works fine for filling in big areas, but it could turn out really thick.