DIY Rainbow Vans

Before starting this post, let’s first just make it known that I am aware of how “omg so high school” this is of me and frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn. 🙂

Now that we’ve got that tiny little disclaimer out of the way – onto the ‘tutorial’! I spent ages on Pinterest and Google trying to find something to clearly explain/show me what the before and after looked like and to give tips on the best way to do this (without it turning into an awful mess once worn), and failed spectacularly because at the time, no such thing existed. I could find random pairs of used (????) rainbow Vans for sale on Etsy, but nothing that would lead me on the path of rainbow footdom that I felt destined to travel with my own creation.

Suffice it to say, in case the existence of this little blog post hasn’t already clued you in, I decided to just wing it – which is typically my approach to most things I haven’t yet learned how to do, and so far so good! (Don’t quote me on that)

I started with the classic checkered slip-on Vans (because I could win an award for laziness when it comes to my wardrobe and HOW CONVENIENT ARE THESE SHOES, SERIOUSLY??) in black and white, but if you’re feeling frisky there are a bunch of others you could try to color and make your own. My local mall has a Journeys shoe store, but if yours doesn’t (or you don’t have access to Vans in some other way), you can try their website here!

Next, I had to decide what to use for my coloring experiment. I know that there are actual fabric markers or paints or whatever, but I’m an adventurous sort of person and also an efficient one – so I branched out of my normally-only-black Sharpie zone with the lovely little sweethearts below – which I figured would work on my shoes and for anything else I decided to subject to the full force of my desperate quest to Rainbowify EverythingTM *.

(* Disclaimer, I don’t actually own a trademark for that, you can have it, don’t sue me.)

Did you even know they made 24 packs of Sharpies?! I did not. Did you also even know that some of them have special colors, and that I will automatically justify a purchase if the packaging screams “COLOR BURST” at me? We’ve all learned something here today I think, you’re welcome!

You can get your own on Amazon here!

Now, I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on permanent (?) markers, coloring shoes, Vans, or anything really. I don’t wear my shoes every single day out on rugged terrain or do any strenuous activities in them, and I don’t have a tendency to puddle jump when it rains – so my shoes are still looking mighty fine 6 months later. That said, you may want to be careful and heed my warning that when I went into this, I knew there was a possibility that I’d mess everything up and it’d look terrible in the end. But I accepted that, soldiered on, and I’m soooo pleased because LOOK:

They’re probably my favorite shoes that I own and they instantly brighten up everything else I wear! I’ve gotten compliments on them, I’ve had people ask me where to buy them, I’ve been asked by people if I’d color theirs for them – it’s bananas! These bright little beauties don’t just bring me happiness, but other people who see them sometimes, too! 😀

Here are a few tips for those who may want to undertake an act of Vans-dalism (hahahahahaimsorryicanthelpit) of their very own!:

  • Plan ahead! I feel like almost all of my blog posts end up screeching “PLAN!! PLANNING IS GOOD! PLANNNNNNNN!!!!”, but it really is amazingly beneficial preparation for everything tbh. I used a sheet of notebook paper, sketched out an overview of the shoes, counted the number of checkers in the pattern to ensure that whole ‘life imitating art imitating life’ thing, and got to work planning which colors would go where.
  • Try to place colors next to each other that would blend well if they touch. This is a tip I use in so many ways – these shoes, my paintings, my hair dye. As beautiful as every color is, when some of them clash, they can turn into an unfortunate mess – so try to be careful of the colors you’re placing next to one another!
  • Use tape to block off the white parts of the shoes. I didn’t do this and there is a tiny purple mark on the back of one of these – you live and you learn! LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES, PEOPLE! 😛
  • Don’t puddle jump when wearing these. Honestly, just keep in mind that these are shoes covered in marker – it may be permanent marker, but it can still get dirty and gross!

If you end up creating some colorful shoes of your own, send pictures my way! I’d love to see them and already have some ideas for future coloring possibilities — maybe some Vincent “Vans” Gogh inspired Starry Night shoes? (itoldyouicouldnthelpithahahahaha) 😀

Good luck!!


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