Dec 17, 2005
what kind of paint do you use? just regular paint? and how do you prevent paint from going where you dont want it to go... like the checks on AF1's..just going around it..
if you got any more tips it would be appreciated. thanks
angelus is wack. **IMO**

why? cuz you have to mailorder it, which is inconvenient, it isnt as flexible as it claims and it is WAAAY too glossy. (i know you can degloss it).

what i use:

any acrylic + textile medium.

delta brand textile medium can be gotten in an 8 ounce bottle for like 4 bucks at michaels or most craft stores and works perfectly.

you will need to treat the leather with acetone (it removes the waterproofing and plastic coating (the color). rub it on with a paper towel or cotton swab. then after that dries, start painting...make sure your paint isnt too thick. thin it out with a bit of water before you start painting...otherwise its harder to avoid brush stroke lines. make your coats REAAAALY thin and do enough to make the coat look solid and uniform, with no light spots. certain colors dont coat that if its a dark color, do 1 black coat and then do the dark color over will save you time (if youre painting on a white shoe). you can mask off panels, but if youre careful it will be fine and there will be no difference in time saved

how to do croc and snake patterns-
get a wood burning pen, or soldering iron. draw the pattern on and follow the pattern. id practice this on some cheap shoes first.

***you can actually do this with a dremel if you use a TIIIINY routing bit****

elephant print-
stare at a pair of jordans or supreme lows. COPY. bear in mind that elephant prints change slightly from year to year so it doenst have to be perfect. just keep the lines from being straight and make sure they are broken up everyonce in a while.

US VERSUS THEM AM90s dropping Dec 26th!(click here for info)
alright thanks for the tips. :smile:
steppingrazor, i will guarantee that angelus will outlast any paint formula you can make. i know bikers that have been using acrylic/textile medium mixes for 30 years on jackets and immediatly changed when i showed them angelus because it is so much better.
i realy do not care who says it, if prepared properly and finished it is the best.

angelus is regarded as the finest leathercare manufacturer in the world(ask a shoe polisher in an expensive hotel)
its likely that they will use their polish and such.

angelus is quite a large company and its likeley that they spent thousands and thousands of dollars developing their paint. do you honestly think that a mix of paint that you have slopped together will beat it. i think your fooling yourself if you do.

you can post up whatever you like as a reply to this but its kinda like saying that you could make a better tv than sony or a better car than audi.
and before anybody starts quoting names of "people" who we all know mix their own paint, with the exeption on jor one ive seen a few so called professionals customs on ebay showing signs that they are on there way to cracking.

im not getting at you so dont take it personally but you obviously havnt used angelus enough to be able to make these kind of statements. ive used around 150 bottles of angelus for hundreds of customs and because i ALWAYS prep my customs correctly have never had any trouble painting leather with it (no cracking, fading nothing period) i wouldnt waste my time mixing my own paint.

this post doesnt change my opinion on your customs though, there still exeedingly good.
is the paint duller necessary? and can it be storebought? i'm looking for a dull finish, would angelus paint be too glossy without the duller? also, can the same paint be used on the midsole?
also, what type of brushes are needed? do i need to spend excessive amounts of money on these brushes?
just get good quality brushes from a good artstore.

and yes for a factory finish you would need duller.

although the glossyness of angelus isnt a problem because you can use it to create patterns in one colour or other effects.
i would be a lot less happy with it as a paint if it was always matte.
Angelus paint is NOT god's gift to mankind.
it is extremely good as an entry level paint especially for its price and what you get for it. if you are starting out, i would definitely recommend you use angelus off the bat because it is just convenient.

however i absolutely can not agree it is THE BEST @#%$ out there. also, Angelus is actually a relatively small company, not a mega factory corporation. to say they are the best because they are the biggest is not valid. i am pretty sure they started out as makers of Gourd paint. a Gourd is like a squash or pumpkin that people paint on. they didnt get into the "custom shoe paint game" until well after i had already posted my home-made leather paint formula in the Jurassic "less then 3000 members" Era of niketalk (chances are very probable that whatever "custom paint formula" you read on the internet was a decendent of this formula, and usually an uncredited one at that).

i have used angelus paint 5 or 6 years ago and i still use it today when i dont have time to mix something up. the formula definitely has changed since then. to say they have been using this formula since Adam and Eve is absolutely untrue.

here's the bottom line. Angelus is a great and convenient "off the shelf" paint. its cheap and ready to use. and its the best recommendation i can give you if you are starting out and unsure what to do.

just had to say that claiming Angelus being undisputedly the best in the world is really not likely. best in its price range? probably.

it's all relative anyway. paint is only one tool. it's a personal preference depending on how well it suits you. there is no such thing as a definitive "best out there" paint you can buy. you'll have to find a formula that's best for you based on trial and error and "customize" that paint to suit your needs. in case you didnt know, not all paint is the same even when it comes from the same company.

there are parameters that make paint "good" or "bad"

pigmentation: how opaque the paint is
viscosity: how fluid or thick the paint is
elasticity: how flexible the paint is after it dries
durability: how strong it will hold to wear OVER TIME
finish: how matte or glossy the paint is.

now 2 paints from the same company will vary in all parameters. thats why ANGELUS WHITE is inferior to FOLK ART's WHITE in the pigmentation department, but superior to folk in the elasticity dept. there is no such thing as paint that exceeds in all parameters in ALL COLORS... off the shelf. Angelus has irregular and inconsistent pigmentation with different colors. ever wonder why high end art paint prices differ depending on the color? primarily because of varying pigmentation characteristics of different colors and materials used to ensure proper pigmentation across the spectrum.

it is possible to tweak your own paint to strengthen store-bought paint in the areas where it lacks. you just have to mix them and have a good knowledge of what exactly it is youre doing. that takes years of experience or just luck or a natural sense for it. there are ways to increase or decrease any parameter of any paint, you just have to know what materials to add to what.

here is a extremely vague and general guideline to how you can tweak your own paint to fit your needs:

changing pigmentation: you cant. you need to find a good base to begin with, preferably something incredibly opaque. this is the most crucial step.

viscosity: i personally find that making paint more fluid and slightly watery is the best for use on sneakers, especially when doing lines or details. there are a few good ways of reducing viscosity. NEVER ADD WATER. instead go for acrylic ******er or airbrush agent (which slows the drying of the paint giving a finish that has no brush strokes) also 70% isopropyl alcohol is good.

elasticity: acetone does a good job of destroying acrylic paint in its fluid state making it elastic when it dries. you can also add textile medium.

durability: honestly there isnt a whole lot you can do to initially change this parameter. you can increase durability by adding Liquitex Matte Varnish (the ONLY thing liquitex makes that is worth buying). its not a lot but it definitely will help.

finish: if paint is too dull then add Liquitex Gloss Varnish. if the paint is too glossy then add Angelus Duller. adding duller does lower the paint's overall durability due to the fact that the duller is somewhat of a powder-based substance.

keep in mind that anything you ADD to paint also lowers its overall pigmention (opacity). i find the best way to handle Paint Parameter Customization is to find different paints that are already strong in certain areas and mix them with paints that are strong in other areas.

for example:
here's a quick rundown of how i achieve my black paint. I start with:
Createx Airbrush Acrylic Black. Pros: good elasticity, good durability, and already has acrylic ******er for a smooth brushless finish. Cons: high gloss finish, moderate pigmentation.
Speedball Acrylic Textile Screenprinting Ink. Pros: extremely high pigmentation. already has textile medium for elasticity and superior durability. Cons: viscosity is like paste, extremely matte.

theres a lot of other stuff i add to it as well as some isopropyl alcohol and acetone, but for the sake of example, you see the 2 paints balance each other out. the createx is not super opaque. but the speedball is. the speedball is not fluid, but the createx is. the createx is ultra shiny, the speedball is ultra dull...etc. the result is an incredibly opaque, incredibly durable and smooth paint with a factory finish. both the speedball and createx have agents which ****** the paint and cause it to dry very very slow, which is both good and bad. but the acetone and alcohol does help dry the paint faster. but in any case the slow drying removes the brush strokes.

i come from an extinct, forgotten, and disrespected old-school philosophy that believes that "there's no better way of doing something then Doing-It-Yourself." whether thats a DIY sneaker or DIY paint to make the DIY sneaker.

There are far superior quality cars in this world then Audi
There are far superior quality electronics in this world then Sony
There are far superior quality shoes in this world then Nike
There is far superior quality paint out there then Angelus

all of which has probably never seen the inside of a huge factory assembly line.

i'm not trying to sway anyone's opinion with this post. if Angelus works perfectly FOR YOU (probably a majority of you customizers out there) then no one can dispute that. but, claiming angelus is the best on earth is discouraging people to find better alternative product on their own

and correct me if im wrong but isnt that the entire point of customizing to begin with?

dont limit yourself ONLY to factory-issue, store-bought, preset handouts.
at least thats the whole reason why i started painting in the first place.

somebody please save all that cause i hope i never have to write that all out again in my life.

PS - all this nonsense over what paint is the best is really less significant in comparison to HOW WELL YOU PREPARE the leather. use acetone to completely remove all the waxy weatherproof coating and it doesnt matter THAT MUCH what kind of paint you use. you'll end up with differing levels from GOOD to EXCELLENT. in any case as long as you do a good job in the acetone prep phase, the overall strength of the paint will be GOOD ENOUGH no matter what paint you use as long as it is a respectable paint to begin with (in other words no kiddie paint or off the shelf liquitex)

Updated 1/1/06

A winner is YOU
there is no such thing as a DEFINITIVE PAINT GUIDE or CUSTOM SHOE GUIDE. just take from what everyone says and try them out yourself, then you can develop your own technique the way it suits you best.

that, in its bare essense, is the definition of CUSTOM.

Updated 1/1/06

A winner is YOU
lets not get pedantic with the comparisons, sony, audi etc.
im sure you got my point.

i agree angelus does have its faults but it certainly remains the best one stop package for customs that there is.
i dont use the metallic colours though as they as you say lack viscosity and pigmentation.
i prefer a mix of a neutral base with a pigment for tha actual metallic colour.
saying that a mix of cheap acrylic and textile medium could be superior is ill informed.

anelus as a company though did not start out making gourd paints.
it is a leathercare company(the original founders were shining shoes almost straight off the boat from ellis island at the turn of the last century) they realy do have a very well established reputation for some of the best leather colouring/care products.

as i said i agree with you it can be improved upon but it certainly still remains the best as a whole product.

i know that your paint formulas are well developed and varied to achieve different finishes and so on but i think also that it wouldnt be a good idea to throw lots of ideas at someone who has no idea how to start, on the many many methods to get a lasting finish. if you dont know what your doing then 99% of home spun attempts at mixing a lasting paint will fail.

the golden rule of customizing(where paint is involved) in my opinion though is preparation which im sure you`ll agree.
ive seen so many posts on forums where someone has asked what to do about flaking or cracking paint and the only answer that ever seems to be the case is a lack of prep on the shoe.

id still stick by angelus being the be all and end all to any amateur customizer.
i applaud anybody who does develop their own mixtures.
one point id make though is that angelus have a speciality as far as leather care goes of shoes which as im sure you understand is only a small side of the leather clouring/care industry. theres not a huge demand for specific shoe paint(and lets not kid ourselves that a shoe isnt a specific leather/properties of leather)therefore although as you point out it isnt exactly a multinational and in reality far from it, it is because of this lack of demand for shoe specific paint a small fish in a very small pond.

i use a few mixes of paint, mainly to make up for the water like properties of angelus yellow blue and metallics and to replace the as you point out garbage white they have but i have had cracking on some shoes with a few completely different paints as i know you have and id put this down to "that" paint not having the right properties for "that" leather.
youve got to agree though that there is nothing better for the amateur(as you kind of said)
and schooling the amatuer was i thought what this post was all about.

i hope you agree with me.
my main issue with what steppingrazor said was that he damned angelus for the incorrect reasons. it doesnt crack. can often do a damn good job of hiding a poor prep job and frankly there is no other complete product out there that can compete.
as i said i myself mix some colours to replace angelus`s poor ones but i wouldnt reccomend anyone to do it because it takes some knowledge of the properties/ingrediants needed and somebody that had the knowledge of paints wouldnt be asking in the first place.

youve kinda reaffirmed what i said anyway about it being the best allround. im not going to claim it as the be all and end all
for people wishing to go further but you coudnt find better off the shelf in as many colours.

damn i love a good discussion.

incidently meth, do you ever use an airbrush as it makes up for the watery/transparent properties of angelus meaning a good finishg of even an awfull colour like yellow would only take around 3 thin coats.(wasnt sure if id ever seen you use one on a pair)
^ yeah i definitely agree with your points in this above post. also my post wasnt just answering the first kids question. i wouldnt have typed all that out for just one kid. it was a general sharing of knowledge i collected for a very long period of time and intended for whoever can benefit from it. so im not just replying to "beginners".

i've been accused of "hoarding info" in the past and not telling "trade secrets" for god knows why. there is really no such thing as "magical paint mixes" or "super secret" paint formulas. anything you heard was a urban myth or misinformed 'word of mouth' spread by people who didnt have the right intentions.

like i said before, and as you agree as well, for beginners: starting out with an array of angelus paint is the best and cheapest way to go to get your foot in the door. but honestly if angelus really fits you and you see no problems with it, there is no need for you to search out other paints. it really is good enough as it is for what it is. also, to the guy who said using regular acrylics with medium... thats good enough as well. may or may not be the best for his application but i have used something similar long in the past and it was good enough at the time (granted he isnt talking about Liquitex or any other "kiddie" or "school" paint)

once you realize that angelus doesnt exactly satisfy very specific and particular needs, you would need to go about mixing your own paint (which is why i included that whole dissertation on paint mixing.... for those who have already passed that point).

anyways, about the metallics. seriously... Straight out the tube LASCAUX STUDIO BRONZE metallic acrylic is the truth. you only need to reduce its viscosity by adding something along the lines of a Alcohol + Matte Varnish mix. do not add acetone to this. i never recommend store-bought paints for serious use, but Lascaux metallic is the finest @#%$ money can buy (its expensive and well worth it).

about airbrushing shoes. ive done airbrush work back wehn i was really into doing comic book art (high school era) and never really much bothered it with shoes mainly because i dont like that particular "sprayed gradient" look on shoes. you look at my particular style and its more of a very high contrast, hard-edged, illustration-based stuff which really doesnt suit the aesthetic that airbrushing provides.

nothing against using airbrushes. just personal preference.

Updated 1/1/06

A winner is YOU
if after you've gotten your basic colors of Angelus and you find that they dont perform the way you need them to... heres a short list of stuff i found that works well as far as heavy opacity goes.

it took me many years to find a very solid and heavy pigmented RED PAINT. even angelus' red isnt that great. if you need a super pure red with heavy pigment i recommend Golden Fluid Acrylic - Pyrolle Red. its like blood in a bottle.

actually a lot of Golden Fluid Acrylic paint is very good for the brighter colors. Hansa Yellow, Titan buff for awesome beige tone and mixing into black to get a true neutral grey color. they have a very good standard green color but i forgot its exact name. Ultramarine blue is good for both Royal and Navy, but you need to mix the right colors to get the right shade. also note Golden paints are very shiny so mix them with something dull to even it out if necessary.

for black pigment the best ive seen as a base is Speedball Textile screen ink. you have to mix this with either angelus black or createx airbrush black to get any kind of usable black paint.

the best white pigment i have seen is Speedball textile white, or for the price get Folk Art. even though this paint is generally not all that great and should NEVER BE USED by itself. i would suggest you mix Folk into your Angelus white or Createx white to get a paint that has a decent pigmentation. Golden Fluid acrylic white is troublesome i dont recommend using it.

again, best metallics by far IMO is Lascaux.

Liquitex is good for some of that gimmickey stuff like interference medium or pearlescent medium etc.. but none of its paints should be used for shoes.

some other good brands of paint to check out: Windsor & Newton tube acrylic (the high end one), Lascaux studio acrylic, basically most of the high end art acrylic are good, but in all honesty they arent much better if at all, compared to the price you are paying for them.

angelus is like $2 a 4 oz bottle or something like that, which is hard to beat. most high end paints can reach up to $10 a tube (which does yield more paint in the end but still a bit pricey, and not much better unless it has the exact properties you need).

anyways that should cover a broad range of DIY paint mixes in case thats what you need.

Updated 1/1/06

A winner is YOU

i dont just pick any acrylic off the shelf and start using it. delta may be good for the textile medium but id wouldnt think of using their paint. Yes, i have used angelus, and i know how to prep the leather. and yes, it has cracked on me. granted i havent used it in YEARS. i still wont buy it tho. my major beef with angelus is that i cant just go down the street to pick some up.

a couple mixes ive used thatve worked well for me...

Golden Fluid Acrylic + Golden Textile Medium + small amounts of acohol

Windsor and newton Finity + golden silkscreen gel + alcohol

Golden GAC 900 + pigment (waaaay too much work...making your own paint, which needs to be heat set)

My best black - artist grade tube paint + high pigment ink + acetone

Most general artist grade fluid acrylics (preferably Golden) + any textile medium = better than angelus level paint IMO

the point i make when defending my point of view is that i can add extra textile medium (or silkscreen gel) and make the paint as flexible as i want. granted that you lose some opacity when you do that, but if you start with a heavy acrylic there isnt really any problem. i also tend to blow dry my shoes after they are completely finished to heat set the paint onto the leather. then i rewaterproof it with a semi flat medium. it probably takes the same amount of time to mix that stuff together as it would to put on the extra coat of angelus that is always required when using that stuff.

and sorry to get hung up on the electronic analogy but-

televisions and cars = thousands of parts, knowledge of computer programming, physics, electical, manufacturing, etc needed

acrylic paint = acrylic suspension + pigment (and maybe some dyes)

Making a paint isnt rocket science. first year college chemistry can teach you pretty much everything you need to know to make a high end quality paint completely from scratch (although it would be a bit cost prohibitive in such small quantities) and what we're talking about here is much less involved even than that....taking premade products and mixing them to get the desired effect.
Steppingrazor x Reebok!! I won!(
dont worry about the analogy`s dude they were all just to get you to say a little more about your preferences, i reckon just a straight answer saying acrylic/textile medium isnt going to help anyone whos new so i applaud you for adding a bit of detail to your explanation.

and meth i agree that many many people seem to think that not just yourself but most customizers keep all their paint formulas and teqniques a closely guarded secret, in my opinion its simply because its such a broad field and there realy is soooo much that can be done its not easily explainable.

ive been asked so many times about various things such as how to do crisp lettering, making straps, fitting eyelets, masking before using an airbrush.
i dont hold back when asked anything but sometimes the answers arent what the person wants, such as the making straps bit. i just literally cut the strap out of leather glue it to double thickness then stitch it together then to the shoe all by hand, i guess it (and things such as masking) is so simple but the important part being a little bit of skill, care and time that the answers that you can give someone never seem enough.

on a loose note id say that the most important thing to get a good factory finish on a shoe is to not rush it, take your time prepping(masking if needed) and painting.

theres other issues though that people always seem to want to find an answer for.

the first being painting midsoles and maybe myself and you two could pool recources here.
in my opinion there is no straight answer as to how to paint rubber midsoles.
ive tried the following.
1.penetrating rubber dyes( these colour the rubber but nowhere near leave a solid colour finish) you end up with that kind of recycled rubber look and its also not a pleasant substance to work with.
2. tyre paint for whitewalls. works to an extent but doesnt have the capability to be mixed properly to give a finish that isnt too powdery and cant be made into any other colours with any ease.
3.the acrylics used to spray car dashboards(cant remeber the brand but theres plenty) limited success with this one but ids not a definitive answer.
certain shoes (dunks) seem to take it and with a few additives like acohol seem to do a pretty good job of lasting but i certainly dont think they are the definative answer to the problem.
4. the formula that hustleman from uptowns came up with which was dickblix matte medium onto the rubber then angelus then a finisher does work from when i tried it and is an ingenious method of trying to make a colour stay on the sole of most rubber soled sneaks but imo the application of so many coats to achieve it not only starts to smooth over the rough pattern of the rubber and give it an undesirable glossy plastic look so i figure the only way to achieve good midsole colouration is gonna be a brand of paint/dye that can be applied and finished in 1/2 coats which im yet to find.

foam midsoles.
from my experience this is a much simpler answer and as im sure you will know steppingrazor that a latex based silkscreening ink/gel as its very very similar to what nike/other brands actually use in factory. this gives a good permanent finish that although can be a bit glossy is flat and in most parts un-noticable from a factory finish.

im sure you both will have tried a few methods of painting midsoles wether foam or rubber and id appreciate your own ideas on it.
im probably going to add some more stuff to this thread when i can think of it but i reckon weve got a good discussion going on here thats dispelling a lot of myths about how to make customs.

id say lets keep it going cos theres already to much good information in this post to let it de a death.

meth, steppingrazor your thoughts on midsoles?
damn there are some long post in here

anyway get some angelus paint
and a VERY nice shader brush and ur good to go....
the brush u use matters a lot.
i dont mess with midsoles anymore but these guys claim fault-proof dying of rubber

never tried it before. and its very expensive, but it sounds good.
i assume the process is a dye (penetrating or chemical) rather then a coating or layering effect.

they also have leather paint on their website, but again... very expensive stuff

Updated 1/1/06

A winner is YOU
i agree the brushes definitely matter

in my experience, the finest brushes available for this kind of thing (for its price) has to be Japanese made LOEW-CORNELL and ASHLEY

i use 000 spotter for lines and details
1/8 angular shader for other fine details
1/8 dagger for anal-retentive micro @#%$ details
1/2 and 3/8 flats for most of the base coating
1/2 angular for getting those pesky corners in the panels

a lot of the really expensive brushes dont hold up to the acetone content in the paint (even the natural fiber brushes). they fray on the edges and its not worth the effort to maintain them.

if by accident you let the paint set on the brushes and you really need to salvage it i suggest you get some Murphy's saddle soap and let the brush soak in it.

Updated 1/1/06

A winner is YOU
ive saved it all for future reference. its understandable that people cant get information like this out because of the long windedness of typing it out, i certainly think its worth keeping just for that.

doesnt mean anybody should stop throwing ideas in though.
theres plenty more people here on nt that have knowledge to spread.
and that dye is the same kind of thing that ive tried. it gives rubber that playground swing kind of patchy rubber colour, as if its been recycled.
its good for some jobs where that effect could look good but as you say its expensive and theres no getting a flat solid colour in my experience.
oh yeah.
paint containers

seriously. invest in some decent containers to store the paint. if you are just using angelus the bottles they come in are fine. i generally prefer a squeeze bottle, the kind that has a FLIP CAP as opposed to a SPOUT (these things get clogged very easilly).

you can get good squeeze bottles from any pharmacy in the hair dye section.

i use MUJI squeeze bottles (which is very OD but.... style 8)

you can get disc-style flip cap bottles from here (disc style is not bad, but i prefer a hinged flip cap). they look nice too and clear for easy color identification

Updated 1/1/06

A winner is YOU
Wow I just Paint, lol.........Pete where the hell have you been? Ive been trying to get ahold of you forever now, they not letting you back in the states with the "product" your trying to bring back lol
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