DIY Day of the Dead Shoes Tutorial

DIY Day of the Dead shoesYou can make your own Day of the Dead shoes for under $15, this tutorial shows you how and you won’t believe how easy it is!

In our house we are currently a little obsessed with Day of the Dead. It’s not only that it is probably one of our favorite holidays as it’s a time for celebrating life and remembering and honoring our loved ones who have passed away but it’s also that it’s a tradition that we have come to embrace even more since we moved to the United States. For us it’s a way of showing off our pride in our Latino roots, our love for traditions that have their roots in our Mayan ancestors and for imagery and iconography that keeps us connected to our heritage.

As a graphic designer the Day of the Dead imagery makes me happy. Every year I wait to see the designs and artwork that people have come up with and both Paula and I hoard on everything Day of the Dead inspired. And though for us the highlight of the season is our annual Day of the Dead inspired Halloween party we have Day of the Dead decorations around the house, t-shirts and all sorts of Day of the Dead themed stuff.

DIY Day of the Dead shoes

Ever since I saw the craft tutorial from ComiconFamily for creating your own shoes using paper napkins I have been wanting to try it out. It’s such a genius idea and it looked so easy (they made Avenger’s inspired shoes). De sure to check it out on their blog!

DIY Day of the Dead shoes

When I found these great Day of the Dead paper napkins I knew that I wanted to use them to create a pair of shoes which would be perfect for my wife to wear.

DIY Day of the Dead shoes

How To Make Your Own Day of The Dead Shoes


• 1 pair of canvas shoes, the same color as the background of your napkins

• Day of the Dead napkins, I got mine at Pier 1

• Water resistant Mod Podge

• Foam brushes

• Painter’s tape

• X-acto Craft Knife

• Water resistant spray

DIY Day of the Dead shoes


Instructions For Day of the Dead DIY shoes

1. Start by separating the lawyers o the party napkins. You will only be using the top layer which is where the printed images are.

2. Look at the shoes and plan where you will be placing the different images. I decided to place the main image: the sugar skull on the front of the shoes and decorate the rest of the shoe with flowers.

DIY Day of the Dead shoes
3. Cut the images you will be using with scissors. I used a shoe that was the same color as the background of the napkins. This meant that I did not have to cover all of the surface with the napkin paper. If you are using napkins that have a background color that is different from the color of your shoes you will want to use a different method: it will be best to tear the napkins instead of cutting them and you careful planning where everything will go before starting to put it on your shoes will be even more important.

DIY Day of the Dead shoes
4. Protect the soles of the shoes with painter’s tape making sure to cover the plastic sole up to where the canvas starts.

5. Plan your design before you start so you have a clear idea of where everything will go.

6. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on a small section of the shoe using a foam brush.

DIY Day of the Dead shoes
7. Immediately apply one of the pieces of napkin that you cut to the shoe and smooth it out using your fingers making sure there are not wrinkles or air bubbles.

8. Continue doing this throughout the shoe until all of the pieces of paper have been applied and your design is finished.

DIY Day of the Dead shoes


9. Apply another thin coat of Mod Podge over the paper.

10. Let the shoes dry for a couple of hours.

11. Apply a coat of water resistant spray.

12. To remove the painter’s tape use an Xacto craft knife and cut along the edge of the tape making sure that you do not cut the shoe or the sole. If you just tear the tape off pieces of napkin that are touching the sole will be ripped along with the tape.

DIY Day of the Dead shoes
My wife just loved the way these Day of the Dead shoes came out and making them was fairly easy. The best part is that these DIY Day of the Dead shoes ended up costing around $12 only.
DIY Day of the Dead shoes

Cesar Diaz
Latest posts by Cesar Diaz (see all)

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.