When we printed a design on the Converse Chuck Taylor shoes at the NBM Show, it was a huge hit. Posting pictures of the shoes being printed and the finished job got even more attention. People have asked how it was done and the design is actually quite easy. The magic is all done by the Brother GT-3 Digital Garment Printer. It allows designs to be printed on objects that just can’t be done on other digital garment printers.
Below you can see a photo of shoes attached to the special platen. You’ll also notice a grid has been placed on top of the shoes to help with measurements and alignment.
I brought this photo into CorelDRAW and used it to draw the shapes representing the canvas available for printing. Trying to align the artwork perfectly so that it only prints on the canvas would be nearly impossible. When printing, tape is place over the rubber of the shoes to mask off the part we don’t want to print. To be extra careful, you may want to also put some sticky dots over the eyelets where the laces will go.
Anyone who has attended my training knows that I preach the importance of the Bezier tool for drawing shapes and it was used to draw the shape for each of the shoes. Just like designing a brochure with color to the edge of the paper, a little bit of extra was added for a bleed. Those shapes were filled with a pattern and then other artwork was added on top. The shoes I designed at the show took all of about ten minutes. Now that I’m back in the office, I’m going to spend a bit more time to create some more shoe designs. This is definitely one of those projects that is really fun!