The great Lumberjocks shoe challenge #16: The end - tips on texturing and painting

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Blog entry by Jordan posted 10-19-2010 06:00 PM 2630 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Reminder to challengees Part 16 of The great Lumberjocks shoe challenge series Part 17: Time to finish up and get ready for the unveiling »

Here we are – the final blog in the shoe challenge series. I know some of you are finished and some of you are nearing the end and some of you are half way through. That’s fine, there’s still lots of time.

I wanted to give you some tips on finishing your shoe and because some of the details probably can’t be seen by camera until painted over, I’m going to draw some of my texture on my shoe just to shoe you what I mean. I will do this throughout today.

If you have any questions specific to your own shoe, please let me know because some of you have not sent me the shoe your working on.

1. Wrinkles – for those of you who are doing leather, in the creases of your shoe, use your pointed diamond to score them. Don’t overdo it but you can overlap some of the webbing of the wrinkles. I’m not going to do it in this part of my shoe because it’s not leather but I will do it on the leather part of the banding. Lightly sand off the edges the bit leaves. I’ll try do do it on this shoe but I can’t be sure it will show, but nevertheless, this is the type of pattern I would want.

I turned the contrast way up to try to capture this.

2. Stippling – I often do this for other carvings as it lends itself to a really neat appearance.

For the rubber part of my sole, I’m going to take a round diamond and dot the entire area with little half holes, overlapping them until they look all mushed together – not like a dot pattern. Once again, I will smooth the fluffs off with sandpaper.

3. Netting – On my shoe, there are large holes in the netting fabric but that doesn’t seem practical for a carving so I basically took my cylinder diamond and drew lines vertically and horizontally. You don’t have to score in one sweep as if you boob on a line, there will be so many, nobody would ever notice.

4. Stitching – there are many ways to simulate stitches including wood burning, simple little holes with a sharp diamond, indents with a small cylinder(which I did to save time) or actually leaving a stitch high by grinding v-grooves around it. I do that on my larger pieces.

So if you look at my shoe, you’ll see that I textured, stippled and stitched and now all of my carving is done! Once again I increased the contrast so this would show up.


I hate white! I think it was Bateman who says he rarely uses pure white or pure black in his paintings. Basswood is quite a white wood so for my white, ie.laces or rubber sole sides, I’m going to use a simple craft multi purpose sealer. Once dry, your wood will be the same color as before it was applied. If I wanted it to be a bit yellow like a debarked log, I might use a Flecto satin finish but again, sometimes it turns your wood a bit yellowish and would definitely pick up any browner streaks in the wood.

I also have to decide every time if I want my piece to be painted or stained. If I use paint for a black or brown leather shoe, I would use a craft acrylic and then finish it with a satin clear coat. If I was going to use a stain, I would choose a transparent non glossy stain – I use Minwax and most often Golden Oak or Puritan pine for a bit browner weathered look. The more coats you apply, the shinier it will get as well as darker.

If you want to roughen the look of your item, take some fine steel wool and rub the high spots, this will remove some of the stain.

If you’re using black, remember, it’s the finish that will determine the shade of your black. You can use the same acrylic on all of the black except for the fabric areas, use thin washes of the black rather than full strength. The color will show when it’s dry and it will sink in somewhat so you may need to do a few washes. On total black shoes, you must separate your blacks somehow so if your sole is also black, make the washes thinner for faded rubber or add a satin clear coat for shiny rubber. The same goes for the laces.

So if you have a nice black leather shoe with a satin clear coat, you can leave your laces flat by just washing them with a thin black. Then leave your sole either as shiny or dull as your original.

I have discovered, since starting to paint pictures, that light washes are far more versatile than full strength paint and I doubt that I will ever buy premixed colors again as the basic magenta, black, yellow, white and blue are where they all come from.

I will work on painting my shoe now and provide a photo soon.

In the meantime, I’ve just completed my own challenge, my first ever painting. I’m more pleased with the painting than the photo of it, hope I get a new camera for Christmas. Nevertheless, I learned so much throughout and can’t wait to start on a second.

It’s been a pleasure tutoring you.


16 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4158 days

#1 posted 10-19-2010 11:01 PM

hmmm my shoe sure doesn’t look like your shoe (saying with a grin)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3089 days

#2 posted 10-20-2010 03:44 AM

thats awesome you can get it to look so amazing! Wish i had the time to try! but unfortunately school beckons!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View hairy's profile


2703 posts in 3530 days

#3 posted 10-20-2010 08:31 PM

Jordan, I plan on painting all black. I will use either a brush or a spray can. I don’t have, and have never airbrushed.

I don’t understand what “wash” is. How should I proceed ? Thanks!!!!!!

-- My reality check bounced...

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3123 days

#4 posted 10-20-2010 09:54 PM

Hairy, a wash is taking an acrylic paint and thinning it down so it is very light. It doesn’t blacken immediately. BUt you can’t do it from a spray can, it is a brushing method. I think the little bottles of craft paint($2 – $5 in price) are much more versatile than spray paint but you can use what you have.


View hairy's profile


2703 posts in 3530 days

#5 posted 10-20-2010 11:09 PM

Thanks! Wow, awesome painting. It looks like a photo.

-- My reality check bounced...

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3048 days

#6 posted 10-21-2010 07:51 AM

Love your finished painting.
Are they your horses?

-- Theresa,

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3123 days

#7 posted 10-21-2010 06:01 PM

Thank you Theresa, they are the horses of my landlords. It’s a surprise gift for her husband.


View lainemech's profile


5 posts in 3007 days

#8 posted 10-25-2010 06:58 PM

Hey everyone.

Jordan, I have been checking in on your shoe carving tutorial from time to time. I have done a few carvings in the past, a few boots (the exaggerated kind, not to scale) and some other things. I think you did a great job with the step-by-step lessons and I may have to give it a try some time using your well ordered techniques.

The painting you created is fantastic! I find it hard to believe that was a “first ever painting”. At first, I thought it was a photo till I read on.

I have to say, thumbs up to you for going through all the trouble, and especially all the precious time involved in completing such a detailed lesson from start to finish!

-- Bob, Upstate SC

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3123 days

#9 posted 10-25-2010 10:09 PM

Thanks kindly Bob, I’m sure eager to see what everyone has accomplished! We’re just waiting on everyone to finish up to select the unveiling date.


View sticks4walking's profile


125 posts in 3049 days

#10 posted 10-27-2010 09:23 AM

Jordan: I have found out that I don’t really care for shoe carving, WOW. I didnt think the shoe strings would be soooo hard. I am not happy with it but it is ok for a first shoe. Also, you couldnt have picked a harder pic to paint. It came out great. Looks like you have been doing it for years. My shoe is not painted yet but the carving is about complete. When are we posting?

-- Mike, Somewhere in Indiana with a splinter or two!

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3123 days

#11 posted 10-27-2010 09:52 AM

Hi Mike – I’ll bet yours is fabulous and you are just playing with us. I am just posting the final blog this evening, I will add your name and please email me your full name and address.


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3113 days

#12 posted 10-27-2010 07:45 PM

sofare it has been an exciding toturial to follow on the sideline Jordan thankĀ“s

and congratĀ“s on the finished painting :-)

have a great day both of you

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3123 days

#13 posted 10-28-2010 12:00 AM

Thanks for following along Dennis – we expect to see your wonderful comments on unveiling day!!!!


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3113 days

#14 posted 10-28-2010 12:10 AM

now you scare me Jordan
thats a honour to be invited to

take care

View davedarlene's profile


29 posts in 3294 days

#15 posted 11-08-2010 12:16 AM

Loved following the shoe challenge and I can’t wait to see all of the shoes that everyone made. I’ve been working on a carved potholder out of basswood as my challenge! I’ve got the quilted part almost done, I’ve got the stitching to complete and then I’ll work on a design to paint on the front. I’ll post it on my profile once it’s done, maybe next time I’ll try a shoe.

-- David W./Central Florida

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