How to Create Charizard-Inspired Custom AJ1

Whether you’re a Pokémon fan looking to show off, or wanting to learn new techniques when it comes to customizing shoes, this blog will teach you what you want you need to know. We’ll take you through the step-by-step process to upcycle/customize your ordinary sneakers into Charizard-Inspired masterpieces. Read on and learn the steps to coffee dyeing the soles, properly mixing shades, painting the shoes, and more. For even more in-depth instructions, watch the full video here!

1. Coffee Dye the Soles

First, we want to start off the customs by coffee-dying the soles to give the shoe that vintage look. Instead of dip-dying the shoes, we are going to brush the coffee onto the soles since the rest of the shoes will be painted. This method will require much less coffee and much less mess!

Coffee Dyeing Soles with an Angelus Paint Brush

2. Mix your Colors and Shades

Next let’s get our colors ready for the shoe. After you have mixed your Angelus Paints and found your desired base colors, you will want to create shades of each of those colors. The easiest way to do this is to add some black or grey to your base color mixture. For darker color mixtures, such as our blue, we will use black to create our shade. Since black can quickly overpower a paint mixture, for our lighter colors, we will use grey to darken the paint.

Mixing Angelus Paints and Shades

3. Prepping the Shoe and Painting the Base Colors

It’s almost time to paint! First and foremost, make sure to prep your shoe before painting. To do this, use Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer to remove the factory finish and ensure the paint can properly bond to the shoe. Do 3-5 Passes with the Leather Preparer. You can also do a light sanding with a high grit sandpaper (instead or in addition to) to remove this factory finish. After the Shoe is prepped, paint your base colors onto the shoe using multiple thin coats until you achieve your desired opacity.

Prepping with Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer and Painting Shoes with Angelus Paints 

4. Adding the Shading

Time to create that shadow/cartoon look! Pick a spot you want your light source to be, and paint your shadows accordingly using your darkened paint mixture of each base color. You can sketch these shadows out with a pencil first to make sure you like their placement, and use a smaller brush (such as one from our Micro Brush Pack) to paint the thin sections. For the orange on our shoe, we also painted a border using our darker shade to add to the cartoon look.

Painting Shadows with Angelus Paints

5. Finishing Touches

After your shadows are completely painted, add 1-2 Layers of your finisher of choice, we went with 4-Coat Flat! Then lace up your shoes and go show them off!

Adding Angelus 4-Coat Flat on Custom AJ1

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