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Angelus Tutorials: Custom Canvas Vans

While you might be familiar with the process of customizing leather sneakers, canvas sneakers are great for customizing too. @sneakerqueenscustoms stopped by Angelus Direct to show how she does her swirl design on a pair of classic Ward Low canvas Vans.

Follow these steps to create your own.


-Masking tape

-A shoe tree, tissue paper or something else to give the shoe structure

-Angelus White Paint

-Angelus Purple Paint

-Angelus Light Blue Paint

-Angelus Pale Blue Paint

-Angelus Lilac Paint

-Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium

-Angelus Paint Brush - #6 Filbert

-Leather Preparer and Deglazer

-Flat 4-Coat

1. Prep

Canvas shoes don't require as much prep work as a leather shoe since you don't need to do anything to the canvas to get it ready for painting. Simply remove the laces and tape off any area you want to keep from getting painted. @sneakerqueenscustoms likes to put a shoe tree inside the shoe to give a little more support since the canvas isn't very thick and can be hard to keep from moving. You could also fill the shoe with tissue paper or whatever you have on hand to make the shoe more firm.

2. Mix Your Paint

For this swirled design @sneakerqueenscustoms uses Angelus Lilac Paint for the purple base paint and an 80 percent and 20 percent mix of Angelus Pale Blue Paint and Angelus Light Blue Paint for the blue base color.

Both base colors get a one to one ratio of the Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium added to them so they properly adhere to the fabric. When you add Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium make sure you heat set your design with a heat gun or hair dryer for three to five minutes.

 3. Paint

Using an Angelus Paint Brush - #6 Filbert @sneakerqueenscustoms covers the uppers with her base colors. Don't be surprised if the canvas soaks up more paint than leather shoes normally do. Be careful not to put too much paint on your brush, the the canvas can soak up a lot of paint and cause your design to bleed. Heat set each layer of paint. Touch up any areas that need more paint and heat set again.

While you can't fix any mistakes on canvas with Leather Preparer and Deglazer, you can use it to clean up any paint you get on the eyelets.

4. Swirls

For the purples swirls @sneakerqueenscustoms uses a fifty-fifty mix of Angelus Purple Paint and Angelus Lilac Paint. For the blue swirls she uses a seventy-five and twenty-five mixture of Angelus Light Blue Paint and Angelus Pale Blue Paint. She doesn't feel the need to add Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium to this paint as it's not going to cover as much of the shoe.

She paints on an abstract swirl design using a combination of thin and thick lines for variation.

5. Finishing

Finish with a layer of Flat 4-Coat to keep your design protected and there you have it, your own custom canvas Vans!

More Custom Tutorials

If you want to see more custom tutorials like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Angelus YouTube channel to learn tips and techniques.

Also, make sure to follow Angelus on Instagram and check out our online store to grab the materials you need to create your own custom designs!

How to Paint & Dye Old Skool Vans

Suede can be a tricky material to customize. Keeping suede soft and smooth is extremely important, so you don't want to use the wrong products or techniques when working on it.

We typically don't recommend using paint on suede as it can cause the material to harden and lose its factory finish.

That's where Angelus Suede Dye comes in. Dye will change the color of suede by penetrating the surface without damaging it.


To show you how to do this, Enzo from @ehkcustoms stopped by to create a quick tutorial on some easy techniques to properly paint and dye a pair of Vans Old Skools.

Check out the key points below, and make sure to watch the full video for a detailed tutorial.

Prepping the Shoes

To get started, you're going to want to prep your Vans to make sure there isn't any dust, dirt, or grime left on them before you start customizing.

For the suede, simply use a cleaning brush to get rid of any excess dirt or dust sitting on the material.

Angelus Cleaning Brush

After doing that, prep the leather with Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer by applying the solution to the leather parts of your shoes with a cotton swab. This helps get rid of the factory finish so that your paint will adhere to the shoe.

Dying Suede & Painting Canvas

Now that your shoe is prepped, you can move on to customizing the Vans.

Dye Liners

To start, Enzo uses Dye Liners to cleanly dye the edges. These pens make it easy to use dye for fine detail work.

Take the foam piece out of the dye pen and dip it into the dye, then use the pen to carefully de the edges of your Vans.

Dying the shoe

After finishing the edges, use a paintbrush to apply one to two light coats of dye to the suede parts of the shoe. By using dye instead of paint, you'll be able to get your desired colorway without making the suede stiff.

Once you're done applying the dye, make sure to use a cloth and alcohol or water to wipe away any excess dye to avoid being left with an iridescent finish.


For canvas, we recommend mixing Angelus 2-Soft with paint in a 50/50 ratio. Like using dye on suede, this mixture will help make sure the canvas keeps its natural softness and flexibility.

Then, use a heat gun to heat set your paint for three to five minutes once. This step is important to ensure your paint sets correctly.

Shoe Protection

Once your customs are finished, it's important to use finishing products to protect the paint and dye from damage.

Water repellent

Water and Stain Repellent is a great way to give your customs an invisible coating that protects them from water and stains.

When your shoes are completely dry, apply two to three even coats of the spray to your shoes without about 30 minutes of drying time in between coats. Then, let them dry for at least 12 hours and your shoes will be ready to go.

To check out more customs and tutorials, make sure to follow us on Instagram, and stop by our store to grab the materials you need to customize your sneakers.