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How To Prepare and Paint Air Force 1's (with photos)

If you're looking into painting your Air Force 1's for fun or to start your very own business venture in the custom game, then one priority you need to focus on is preparing, painting and finishing the shoes.

Air Force 1's are the most common shoes for painting on due to the space it provides covered in leather allowing a blank canvas, but you need to know the basics to working with leather before you start expressing your art on them. First, you need to prep the shoes correctly so the paint lasts long while being worn by the customer or yourself.

I will share the essentials you need to this in this blog or you can visit my amazon storefront for more products I use:

Preparing the Leather

1. Leather preparer and cotton pads

First you will need to get any type of Leather preparer, I use deglazers from or, for the Angelus Direct leather prepaper I use, click here, but any strong nail polish remover is fine anyway.

For the cotton wool pads, you can use any found on amazon, click here for what I use

2. Remove factory layer of paint from leather

Next, you need to apply the preparer/acetone to the cotton pad and rub on the parts you will paint until the white from the leather appears on the cotton pad.

These are the basic of leather preparation for Angelus Direct leather paints, other shoes that have different materials like plastic or suede for example would need more and different preperation.

Painting the Leather

1. Angelus Direct Leather Paint and Brushes

For the paintwork you will need any high quality acrylic leather paint, the most popular in the customiser market is called Angelus Direct. I have and always do use these paints as they're highly reliable for withstanding scratches and weather etc.

click here for Angelus Direct paints

I use a variety of branded/non-branded paint brushes all together, but the most important ones you will need are Angelus basic brushes for large coverage areas and a very fine detail brush from Windsor and Newton that is perfect for outlining and small detailing. I use a Windsor and Newton brush sized 0000.

click here for Angelus Direct brushes

click here for Windsor and Newton detail brush

2. Paint leather in multiple thin layers

The best way to make the paint long lasting on the leather is to paint in multiple thin layers and allow paint to dry in between with either time or a heat gun. This is important as you don't get a build up of thick layers that will easily peel or crack, along with reducing paint strokes from appearing.

click here for Heat Gun

Sealing the Leather

After painting the shoes is finished, you will need to seal the acrylic paint so that it increases the life of the paint on the leather, you will need a scratch resistant sealer that will make the paintwork water and scratch proof.

I have found the best sealer for the paintwork that I use and it is a company that specifically focuses on top coats for leather paints, it is called Liquid Kicks Top Coats.

I use LK Leather top Coat- Matte Finish for a perfect matte looking effect on the shoes.

click here for LK Top Coat Matte Finisher (use code: "CAMCREATEZ" for 10% OFF)

Aaaand... BOOM! There you go, you have now painted a masterpiece!

Get painting and show me your designs by tagging me on Instagram @camcreatez



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