Bored Squiggly

Boredom is bad for you.

Warnings against the dangers of idleness have circulated for centuries, and people resort to all kinds of pointless activities (or worse) when they’re bored to tears.

Doodling, on the other hand, has been officially sanctioned and hailed for its many psychological benefits.

This tactic has saved my under-stimulated brain from destruction more than once. And these shoes elevate doodles from a last-ditch defense against boredom to a wearable art form.


This project was inspired on a long train ride, when I spotted a girl coloring shoes with Sharpies to stave off boredom.

I have years of practice drawing flowers, paisley and puzzles in notebooks, so it was easy to create these designs.


Granted, I haven’t worn these shoes with every outfit. But after three years, they look every bit as good as the day I finished them.

So I’m ready to call this experiment a success and offer up the secrets of my method.


Doodle Shoes


  • Canvas shoes
  • Pencil
  • Tiny paintbrush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Fine-tip permanent marker
  • Scotchgard spray

First, remove laces and draw your design with pencil (mechanical is best).

Then take your paintbrush, squirt a small amount of paint, and fill in the designs with color.


This project doesn’t require much paint. I used the leftovers from four tiny bottles my sisters bought for another project (mixing to create more colors), and I didn’t run out.

Also, I used a black paint pen for the background. You might find this easier than using a tiny brush.


Then, use a fine-tip permanent marker to outline your shapes. It’s still important to paint carefully, but this goes a long way to cleaning them up.

I left the stitched sections of my shoes white for greater contrast. To make the edges sharp, I lifted these pieces with my fingernail and painted underneath.


When finished, spray with Scotchgard to protect your masterpiece. I especially wanted to keep the white sections clean and bright—and it worked!


Obviously, this project takes many hours.

The process is relaxing—like doodling—but I have refused all requests for custom, crazy shoes. I’ve told you how to make your own, so go for it!

Although, if I could sneak this project into lectures and meetings, we might have a deal.



8 thoughts on “Bored Squiggly

  1. With so many of my business meetings happening on-line, I could be making a pair of those and no one would even know!

  2. Pingback: Quirky | Spicy Life

  3. I’ve gotten the smallest paint brush and still can’t make those refined edges and small sections without making it too thick. What brush are you using? Will any permanent maker work or does it have to be specific for fabric?

    • I used a tiny paint brush for all the color, a black paint pen for tiny background areas and a fine point Sharpie for the final outlines. I’m not sure how wide my brush was – only a millimeter or two. Hope that helps!

  4. Pingback: Fun ways to decorate your sneakers! - A girl and a glue gun

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s