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Painting Synthetic Leather with Angelus Leather Paint

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I know Fé already wrote a tutorial for painting synthetic leather shoes with acrylic paint, so I guess that makes this one version 2! Anyway, I want to introduce a product that is now a staple in my stash of cosplay making supplies: Angelus leather paint.

Angelus leather paint sizes
1 ounce, 4 ounces and 1 pint bottles

Where to buy: Dharma Trading, Turtle Feathers

Price: $2-$2.69 (1 ounce), $4.49-$5 (4 ounces), $15 (1 pint, Turtle Feathers only)

Angelus paint is better to use than regular artist’s acrylic paint because it’s formulated to be applied on leather, synthetic or otherwise. The biggest benefit from using Angelus paint is that it won’t crack at all! That’s kind of a big deal when you need to paint shoes because the paint won’t be damaged after you walk in them for days at a convention, even where your shoes naturally crease. Compared to artist’s acrylic paint, it also needs less coats to get an even finish.

Boots and shoes painted with Angelus leather paint in colour Sapphire
Boots and shoes painted with Angelus leather paint in colour Sapphire

My one complaint about this product is that it’s only available online. Maybe you’ll be lucky and be able to find it locally, but I wouldn’t really count on it. That means you have to pay shipping fees and picking the right colour is kind of a gamble. In my experience, the colour charts available online have always been off to some extent.

It’s really easy to use and get good results. The key is to paint thin layers and wait 4-6 hours between each coat. The paint will feel dry to the touch before that, but applying subsequent coats too quickly doesn’t give the best results. You can use paintbrushes or sponge brushes according to your preference, but sponge brushes use more paint since a lot is absorbed by the sponge.

The paint gets a few shades darker once it’s dry, so mix your colours accordingly!

Angelus paint wet vs. dry
Left: wet paint, right: dry

Many sources mention that it helps the paint stick to the leather or fake leather surface if you remove the glossy finish on it before painting. To do this, just get some cotton pads and nail polish remover with acetone and rub the surface vigorously. Personally, my experience with this is inconclusive. I removed the glossy finish on my Margaret shoes before painting, however Fé didn’t do this step on her Elizabeth boots. After 2 conventions, the paint looks just as good on my shoes as it does on her boots.