How To Prevent Acrylic Paint From Cracking On Shoes

In this article, you will see how to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes .

Did you know that you can give your shoes a more fabulous look by adding color patterns with acrylic paints? My personal favorite is to draw a smiling or crying emoji on the shoes with acrylic paint. It gives them a nice facelift!

There is no doubt that acrylic paint is the best option for you to color your shoes. However, if you do not know how to paint shoes without cracking, you can cause them irreversible damage. Therefore, you need to really know how to paint shoes.

Now, the issue is not just acrylic paint cracking. Rather, it is also about preventing your shoes from cracking when you pain them. Therefore, here, we are going to consider the main things that you should do to leave your shoes in superb condition all the time.

How To Keep Acrylic Paint from Cracking

Acrylic paint is the best option for you if you would like to embellish your shoes. There are many reasons for this.  See some of them below:

First, it is easy to use for how to paint shoes without cracking. When it is wet, it is quite easy to work with. However, when it dries, it can start cracking.

Secondly, this paint dries fast. Therefore, you can have your shoes ready to wear in no time at all. Thirdly, because of the popularity of this paint, it is so readily available. You can also choose specific acrylic paints or just go for craft paints.

However, there is a catch!

If you do not paint your shoes just right, this paint will start cracking. Therefore, you can find out how to apply it, and how to prepare your shoes so that the paint or the shoes do not crack.

Keep reading to see how to paint shoes with acrylic paint and keep it from cracking.

Prepare the shoes for painting

A painter does not just wake up with brushes and paints and hit the canvas. First, he takes time to prepare the painting surface.

In this case, as you ask: can you paint shoes with acrylic paint, the answer is yes you can. However, make sure that the shoes are clean and free of dust.

If your shoes are old, you need to clean them with water and then leave them to dry completely. Paint does not do very well on wet surfaces. Therefore, let the shoes dry in the sun.

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.

Choose your paints and brushes

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

You can do some research to find out what kind of paint to use on shoes. With so many of these paints in the market, you might need some help to choose the best.

Many sources recommend that you choose just a single brand of paint. There is a good reason for that. For instance, different manufacturers 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 recommend that you use one paint brand. If you mix two, the ingredients might fail to mix properly or “agree” with each other.

If you use different types of acrylic paints, you might not succeed in preventing acrylic paint cracking. However, you can buy as many different colors as possible from one brand name.

In future, if you need to redo the paint job, perhaps you can choose a different brand. Mostly, if you choose a good brand at first, you might not need to redo the painting work at all.

Also, choose good brushes, specifically made for acrylic paints. However, if you have old brushes, you can use them. However, you have to make sure they are clean.

Can I use acrylic paint on shoes made of leather?

Can I use acrylic paint on shoes made of leather? Well, this is one of the questions that most people ask. However, you would do much better not to use. It is best that you use acrylic paint on canvas, fabric and rubber shoes.

Please note that we are not saying that you cannot apply this paint on leather shoes because you can. What we are saying is that you would take more time to prepare the shoes for painting.

For instance, you would need to apply a leather deglazer on them and allow it some time to work, up to 24 hours.

Apply the paint in the correct way

Having clean shoes, the right brushes and high quality acrylic paint is not enough. You also need to know the correct way to apply paint. The good thing is that it is not hard at all, as you will see here.

First, you need to thin your acrylic paint. Of course, there is a good reason for that. For instance, thin paint spreads out in a much better way. In addition, thinner paint is also easier to spread, so you are going to use less effort and less work.

Image of how to paint shoes without cracking

Also, when you use thinner paint layers. It will penetrate the fibers of the shoes much better. Therefore, the paint will also last longer than when you use thicker 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.

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.

Apply A Few Layers

You need to apply a few layers of paint on the shoes. In fact, this is one of the ways of how to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes. However, when you apply the first layer, give it time to dry up completely before you can apply the second layer. You can apply up to three or more layers, but make sure one is dry before you can lay another one on top of it.

Therefore, to give the paint layers enough time to dry up, you need to have enough time to paint the shoes. That way, you will not rush them at all. On the same note, if you are attending an occasion in the week, paint the shoes a few days before.

This is going to give you enough time to correct any mistakes that you might have made.

Dry the painted shoes correctly

One of the reasons why acrylic paint on shoes cracks too soon is not letting the shoes dry properly. Once you have painted one layer, you need to let it dry completely. In addition, it is also best to let the paint layer dry up in the air. Do not place it by an artificial heat source.

When you are painting the shoes to attend a certain occasion in them, you need to do it in advance. That way, there will be enough time to allow the paint to set and dry in good time. In addition, avoid using a hairdryer to make the paint dry faster. If you blow hot air on the paint, you won’t allow the paint to set properly. Therefore, it is going to start cracking within a short time.

How to seal acrylic paint on leather or other shoes

Knowing how to stop acrylic paint from peeling or cracking is not enough.  After applying the acrylic paint on your shoes, you need to use a paint sealer for shoes so that you can lock in the paint and enable it to last a long time.

Now, it is time for you to apply the sealant. To do this you need a clean brush, probably the one that comes with the sealant. Apply this compound lightly and thoroughly and then give it time to settle. That way, it helps the freshly applied acrylic paint to retain its luster for a long time.

Acrylic paint sealant dries quickly. Therefore, you will not need to use any articifial means dry the sealer. Of course, acrylic paint without a sealer will start to show cracks sooner than one that has it.

Finally, when the sealer is dry, you need to apply a waterproofing spray on the shoes, especially on all the areas that you have painted and sealed. This is the final step. You can then admire your handiwork and store your shoes so that you can wear them the following day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most people ask: can you paint shoes with acrylic paint, can you use acrylic paint on shoes and many other questions. Therefore, if you have read this far and you still have doubts in your mind; here are a few most asked questions to clarify this topic further.

Can you use acrylic paint on leather?

Yes you can. However, there are acrylic-based paints that are specifically made for use on leather. Therefore, it is such paints that you really need to get. However, for the other materials, you know fabrics, canvas and rubber, you could use craft acrylic paints without any problem.

Also, remember even when you are using acrylic paints on leather, you should use a deglazer to prep the leather for the painting.

Does acrylic paint crack on shoes?

Yes it does especially when it is not applied, dried or sealed properly. However, there are some things that you can do for how to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes. Here are a few of them:

  • Prep the shoes well by cleaning and drying them
  • Apply the acrylic paint in thin layers and let each layer dry completely before applying another one
  • Seal the paint and you are done

These three steps should prevent the acrylic paint from cracking on the shoes.

Why does acrylic paint crack?

The main reason is when you use too thick acrylic paint. In addition, the cracking can also happen when you do not let the first layers settle and dry completely before adding other layers. The reason for this is that when the first layer dries, it will pull the second layer, causing it to crack. Therefore, lack of proper drying is the main cause of acrylic paint on shoes cracking.

Is acrylic paint permanent?

Acrylic paint is permanent. Therefore, if you are not sure about letting it stay on your shoes to the end of their life, just clean it out when it is still wet. On the same note, only use this paint to rehabilitate old shoes, to give them a new leash of life. That way, you can wear the shoes with the paint to the end of their life.

What are the best shoes to paint with acrylic paint?

These are definitely canvas shoes. However, you can also use this paint on fabric and leather shoes. Of course, you need to read the instructions for use. In addition, unless they are canvas shoes, we suggest not using the paint on your new leather shoes or fabric shoes. That way, you will not destroy them. Canvas soaks the paint best.


That is it for how to prevent acrylic paint from cracking on shoes. As you have seen here, painting your shoes can be a lot of fun. In addition, it is a good way of rehabilitating old shoes so that you can wear them without feeling that they are too worn out.

Another thing that you can try is to do this project with your children. It is simple enough and it is a lot of fun. However, only do this with old shoes, or inexpensive new shoes. You can also find out how to paint rubber without cracking so that you pull of a successful process.