Thursday, July 10, 2014

Canvas Shoe Decoration: Marauder's Map Edition

I wanted a pair of canvas shoes for summer.  I also wanted them in a natural so they'd go with all the crazy colors I wear.  When I saw this color my first thought was, "These are the same color as the Marauder's Map!"  Now, I'm making my Marauder's Map canvas shoe dreams are coming true and yours can, too.

Decorating canvas shoes of any kind (TOMS, Keds, Vans, Converse, etc.) is super easy.  Below are general instructions for decorating canvas shoes, then I'll show you how I made mine into a Marauder's Map.

General Instructions:

Materials:  Canvas shoes, acrylic paint (or paint pens), permanent markers, pencil, clear spray paint

1.  Sketch the design on your canvas shoes.  Using a pencil draw out what you want on your canvas shoes.

2.  Paint your design on your canvas shoes.  For text and small details, I recommend using sharpies or paint pens.  For larger coverage, use acrylic paint.  Don't apply the acrylic paint too thick or it will crack once you start wearing the shoes again.

3.  Let the paint dry completely.

4.  Seal the design.  Spray the clear spray paint over your shoes.  This will seal the paint on.

Marauder's Map Shoes:

Materials:  Canvas shoes (TOMS or similar knockoffs will work best), Painters tape, wax paper, pencil, small scissors, maroon acrylic paint, ultra fine tip sharpie, clear spray paint, sponge brush

1.  Using the below picture as a guide, carefully write "Marauder's Map" on your painter's tape.  Make the letters big enough that you will be able to cut them out but small enough that they will fit on your canvas shoes.

2.  Place your painter's tape on a piece of wax paper.  This essentially turns your painter's tape into stickers.

3.  Cut out each letter.  Use the most detailed scissors you have, carefully cut each letter.  If you accidentally cut through a letter, just draw the letter again and try again.  It happened to me on two of my letters.

4.  Stick each letter onto your canvas shoes.  Peel the wax paper off the back of each tape sticker and carefully place it on the shoes.  I placed mine on the larger section on the toe on the left shoe.

5.  Sponge your paint over the "Marauder's Map" text.  Using a sponge brush instead of a paint brush will allow you to sponge the paint on.  This will reduce the movement of the tape letters while you paint.  I taped around the area I was painting, so paint only got on the part of the shoe I want.  Don't worry about getting a super even coat.  As you can see in the original picture, the red has watermarks in it so we're trying to replicate that look.

6.  Let paint dry completely. A blow dryer will speed up this process.

7.  Peel the letters off your shoe.  This will reveal the "Marauder's Map" you worked so hard to cut out.  Some bleeding will have happened, but the lettering should still be legible.

8.  Draw some of the building that surround the "Marauder's Map" in the picture above on the other side of the toe.  You are not going for accuracy, just make the buildings look similar.

9.  For the remainder of the sides of that shoe, look at the picture of the Marauder's Map above for inspiration.  I drew the Hogwarts banner on one side, the Womping Willow on the other, and more building on the back.  However, you can freehand what ever you'd like.

11.  The second shoe is totally up to you, as well.  I referenced the first picture below and put that on the toe.  I drew the section of the map below on the inside side, and I put "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" on a banner on the outer side.



12.  Spray paint the entire shoe to seal it. Stuff the inside of your shoes with newspaper, so you don't get spray paint inside.  Do not get the spray paint too close to the shoes.  Give a light and even coat over all the shoes.  I recommend holding the shoes so you can spray them from all angles.  Do this in a well ventilated area.

13.  Let the shoes dry completely.  Place the shoes on a flat surface and leave them to dry.

14.  Show off your awesome Marauder's Map shoes to all your friends and everyone at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  They are going to be totally jealous!

Marauder's Map Shoes overwhelming you?  Here's some other Harry Potter themed ideas to decorate your canvas shoes with.
  1. Draw Harry's glasses, lightning bolts, and the Deathly Hallows symbol all over your shoes with a fine tip sharpie
  2. Write different Harry Potter spells all over your shoes with a fine tip sharpie.  Use different colored sharpies (house colors anyone?!) for added affect.
  3. House Pride!  Paint your shoes to your house colors.  Use a sharpie or a paint pen to write your house name.


  1. Courtney, your shoes are awesome and your tutorial is excellent! Wouldn't it be fun for a reading teacher to make shoes to go along with each book the class is studying? Kids would love that!

    1. That's such a great idea! I would love to see a reading teacher do that!