One of the most popular Jordan silhouettes, the Jordan 11 is a great shoe for customizing and color swapping, but working with patent leather can be a little tricky if you haven't done it before. If you don't take the proper steps to prep and finish the material, you risk damaging it beyond repair.
To help you create your own custom Jordan 11s, Suheel from @feelgoodthreads stopped by to create a thorough tutorial on how to work with patent leather without damaging it.
Follow along below and make sure to check out the full video on YouTube to learn how to safely design a pair of custom 11s.
Custom Jordan 11 Walkthrough
Before getting started, here are the materials you're going to need to make these customs:
- Angelus Leather Paint
- Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer
- Masking Tape
- Adhesion Promoter
- Airbrush Filter
- Vinyl Tape
- Sand Paper
Once you have your materials ready to go, follow these steps to prep and paint the patent leather on a pair of Jordan 11s.
1. Sanding Patent Leather
To make sure your paint adheres to the shoe, you need to start by sanding the patent leather to remove the glossy top coat.
Use 320-grit wet sandpaper to carefully sand down the glossy finish, but be careful not to sand any of the threading on the leather.
Make sure to sand down the crease spots at the edges of the toe box. Otherwise, your paint will most likely crack when you wear the shoes and form a natural crease. After sanding use compressed air or a microfiber cloth to get rid of any remaining dust and debris.
2. Prepping Patent Leather
Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer helps promote adhesion by getting rid of the shoe's factory finish and leaving a completely clean surface for you to paint.
Simply use a microfiber cloth or cotton swab to apply the Leather Preparer and Deglazer to the shoe. Make sure to wipe down the entire leather portion of the shoe to ensure you have a smooth, even surface to work with. Let the solution completely dry before moving on.
Then, use masking tape to tape off the portions of the shoe that you don't want to paint. For this project, Suheel made sure to tape off the soles and the ankle collars to protect these areas while painting.
Lastly, to strengthen the bond between the leather and the paint, apply two to three light coats of adhesion promoter, waiting five to 10 minutes in between each coat to let the adhesion promoter dry.
4. Prepping the Paint
To help the paint adhere to the hard leather and plastic surfaces, you'll need to mix equal parts of Angelus 2-Hard and paint (for this project, Suheel used a 6:1 mixture of Fired Red and Tahitian Pink).
Since we're airbrushing these customs, you also need to prep the paint to make sure it flows through the airbrush without clumping and causing the airbrush to clog. Generally, we suggest using a 1 part 2-thin to 4 parts paint ratio (1:4).
Before adding the paint to the airbrush, it's important to strain the paint to get rid of any dust, paint pigments, and other imperfections. Without straining the paint, this debris will be sprayed onto the shoe, creating a rough surface,
5. Painting Patent Leather
After prepping the paint, it's time to start painting the shoe. Use your airbrush to apply several light coats of paint to the shoe, and make sure to let each coat dry completely before moving on to the next.
To achieve a completely solid, even paint job, you'll likely need to apply four to five coats.
After painting, if you notice any imperfections that need to be smoothed out, you can use wet sandpaper to get rid of these rough spots. Make sure to let the paint completely dry for 24 hours before doing this, and hold the shoes upside down while sanding to avoid runoff onto the midsoles.
You can also use a detail brush to fill in the small details, like the Jumpman logos, with Flat White paint.
6. Applying Finisher
To seal in the paint job and restore the glossy finish of the original shoe, you can use an airbrush to apply several light layers of High Gloss Acrylic Finisher.
Not only will this add a glossy finish to the shoe, but it will also help protect your custom paint job from minor scratches and scrapes.
7. Dying the Soles
To finish the shoe, Suheel dyed the soles to match the new red colorway.
As you can see, the Jordan 11 has a patch on the sole that matches the shoe's colorway. The shoe on the right still has the original blue sole, while the one on the left showcases what it looks like after the dye job.
To dye the sole, use a paintbrush to carefully apply the dye to this area. Dye stains very easily, so take your time and be cautious not to get any dye on the upper or the icy midsole as you will not be able to reverse this.
After letting the dye dry for about 10 minutes, apply the Acrylic Finisher to the sole to seal in the dye.
Then, to finish the shoe, Suheel swapped the stock laces for a matching pair of red rope laces.
Check Out More Tutorials
If you want to check out more helpful tutorials like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Angelus YouTube channel to learn tips and tricks from experienced custom sneaker artists.