These Shoes Were Made for Walking (in Time and Space) pt.2

Or, Kitty’s continuing shoe adventures, TARDIS edition, Part 2 of 3

Last time, we made it to the point where all the boot pieces were cut out, everything that needed gluing was glued, and I was ready to start painting.

Painting leather isn’t quite as simple as painting canvas.  Before I even got out the brushes, I had to strip everything from the leather’s surface – any residues, oils, and finishes which might keep the paint from adhering properly.  If you skip this step, all your hard work will likely chip or rub off rapidly.  I used this deglazer, because I had it handy.  Next time, I might do a little research to find a less toxic alternative, because it was a bit hairy.

Evil-Smelling, but So Useful

Note the scary blue gloves. The deglazer is wildly volatile, evil-smelling, and also flammable.  I should have taken it outside, only it was snowing, so I ended up with a chemical-induced headache instead.  Yes, I tried the vented glue table, but I think these fumes are lighter than glue fumes, because the vents didn’t suck them up quickly enough.

But hey, it did the job. I don’t know how well you can see it in the photo, but the only the right-hand piece was deglazed; it’s much less shiny and more porous-looking. . It also smoothed out the work surface nicely.

Before & After De-Glazing

When I was done coughing my lungs up after inhaling deglazer exhaust, I finally set about painting.  I used paint especially formulated for leather, not regular acrylic craft paint.  The leather paint costs a LOT more, but it has much better durability and stays more elastic after drying.  Remember, dear kittens – leather STRETCHES.  If your paint doesn’t, it may “craze”, or form lots of tiny cracks, and eventually chip off, when your foot moves and bends during walking.

This (below) is after I put in the basic galaxies.  I swirled on five or six colours with round brushes, blending out any hard lines with a cotton rag.  It took longer than I expected to get everything the way I liked, but nobody wants stick-figure galaxies.

Next, I added stars. The key here is to add points of different sizes and concentrate them more near the hearts of the galaxies.  I used brighter white stars as well as duller gray and beige ones to add a little depth.  Finally, I drew in the TARDIS. Painting crisp lines on the pebbly surface of the textured leather proved trickier than anticipated, and my draftsmanship has never been my strength, but it’s the suggestion of TARDIShness that counts! 


I decided to put the TARDIS on only one shoe, because, after all, there’s only one out there.  The foot without the TARDIS was given the consolation prize of a shooting star and an extra half-galaxy or so.  

Once everything was well dry to the touch, it was time for the topcoat.  I could have left it as is, but after spending the better part of five hours painting, I was &*$# well going to make sure my work sticks around. The finished seals and protects the paint and helps make it more weather-resistant.  This is the kind I used:


At this point, I had to wait for everything to dry completely before hand-sewing it all together, and also for Felix to cut and polish the outsoles, so I could actually wear this in the real world.  There were a LOT more steps to this process than I had realized before I started.

But next time, these funny-looking puzzle pieces get turned into actual, wearable boots!   And then it will all be worth it, right?  Right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *