DIY: Trompe L’Oeil Shoes

by | Aug 21, 2013 | Uncategorised | 1 comment

trompe l'oeiltrompe l'oeil shoes

So for my DIY today I’m taking a little inspiration from optical illusions. I’m an art history nerd so I have been longing to incorporate this style into a DIY feature. Now, there’s several things I thought of but when I spied these rather plain looking shoes in Primark for a mere £1 (yes, one whole British pound- pretty amazing!) I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them!

And today I’m showing you how these plain white shoes can be transformed into some brogues. Trompe l’oeil in case you don’t know literally translates from French to mean ‘fools the eye.’ The eye is tricked into thinking the painting, or the thing in front of you, is something real and thus becomes an optical illusion. It is often used in murals to give the appearance that a solid wall is a space opening up further into the distance and paintings of this nature have been around since the Antiquity to the Renaissance where painters were fond of using trompe l’oeil painting techniques, to even today as seen on everything from buildings, subways and how seen a way into fashion too. 
Some Trompe l’oeil examples:
                                                 Left to right: Fresco with trompe l’œil dome painted on low vaulting, Jesuit ChurchVienna, byAndrea Pozzo, 1703, Escaping Criticism by Pere Borrell del Caso, 1874 and a Chinese subway.
Some Trompe l’oeil fashion designs by Elsa Schiaparelli (all images from here):
To see how tromple l’oeil works in fashion one would start with the work of Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli whose first collection consisted of sweaters adorned with surrealist trompe l’oeil images (as seen above with the bow jumper), and so much so that this effect because a theme that could be argued became her trademark with her work with The Surrealists. I’ve studied the work of Elsa Schiaparelli and art in quite a lot of detail over the years (her work is incredibly inspirational to me) so I’ll stop with the history lesson today but perhaps I should re-visit for a separate post? 
Anyway, onto the DIY ;),
You will need:
trompe l'oeil diy
  • Plain shoes
  • Kitchen Towel (or similar)
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Black fabric pen
  • Photo of some brogues/inspiration
Now Make It!

trompe l'oeil fashion

trompe l'oeil accessory
1. First things first it’s a good idea to place some kitchen towel or similar into the shoes so that it’s just easier to draw onto.
2. Find a photo of some brogues for inspiration or maybe you have some brogues oft your own, either way it’s useful to have something to work from.
3. With your pencil carefully sketch out your design. If you make a mistake don’t sweat and simply rub away and start again.
4. Take your fabric marker pen and go over your pencil markings. Be careful because there’s no going back so take your time!
5. Section by section just let it dry for a moment so you don’t smudge any of the pen.
6. Finally, rub away any pencil markings but be super careful not to rub too much as you may smudge the pen working you have done so beautifully. But once you have finished up, you’re all done!

I really hope you enjoyed the DIY and didn’t find the trompe l’oeil history lesson too boring. Please let me know any DIY requests I love to know :).


Share and Enjoy !


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1 Comment

  1. Lex Talonted

    This is such a cool idea, will have to try this. And the history section was really interesting, love hearing people talk about things about which they are passionate 🙂

    Lex Talonted Lex


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I’m Georgie, founder of the enchanted living blog ‘Georgie xoxo’, ‘The Art Of Blogging’ and ‘Art Of Pinterest’ E-Courses and creator of an art and history online school called ‘Academy Of The Enchanted Arts.’  



I invite you to direct your heart, curiosity, creativity and wisdom to the re-enchantment of our world through art and music history education through the lens of enchantment so that you can deepen your reverence for your own life and all the magic and miracles around you.

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