Home / Swarovski Converse Tutorials / Leopard Print Converse Tutorial – How To Crystallize With Swarovski Elements

Leopard Print Converse Tutorial – How To Crystallize With Swarovski Elements

DIY How To Crystallize A Leopard Print Pattern With Flatback Crystals

The purpose of this tutorial created by Crystal and Glass Beads is to show you how to create your own unique Leopard print pattern on a converse toe which can be crystallized. Having a range of crystals will enable you to achieve a more pleasing result. The main crystal sizes used in the tutorial are ss5, ss7 and ss9 along with a small number of ss12 and 16. You DON’T have to have all these crystal sizes to complete the Leopard Print Converse tutorial but it’s recommended to have at least ss5, ss7 and ss9 crystals for filling in any gaps.

Equipment required:

  1. Fine Sandpaper or emery cloth/file for roughing up/scratching the rubber toe.
  2. Isopropyl Alcohol also called Rubbing Alcohol which is used for degreasing the rubber toe and removing any dust. (available on ebay which is where we get ours).
  3. Clean Cotton Cloth/hanky/tea towel for applying the Isopropyl alcohol.
  4. Flatback Non Hotfix Crystals – For this tutorial I have used Jet, Light Colorado Topaz and Smoked Topaz colour flatback crystals in a variety of sizes ss5, ss7, ss9 and ss12. (available here)
  5. Cocktail Stick which is a small wooden stick with a sharp point at both ends, they are usually used to skewer food or decorations and can be purchased from any supermarket.
  6. Converse Trainers to add crystals to.
  7. Gemtac Adhesive which is a strong craft adhesive that’s white when applied but dries clear and is non toxic. (available here)
  8. Crystal Katana Tool for applying non hotfix flatback crystals which is a really nice tool to use for all crystal sizes (available here)If you are on a tight budget or are only looking to use the tool once we also have a cheaper tool available which you can use called the Magic Pick Mini (available here)
  9. Fine Permanent Markers for colouring in the Leopard Print (3 colours used, black, brown and sand yellow). OPTIONAL EXTRAS
  10. Fine Pencil For drawing leopard print outline.


1. Place the Light Colorado Topaz crystals faceted side facing up on a clean flat surface, keeping the various crystal sizes in separate groups so that they are easy to locate. For this tutorial the main crystal sizes used are ss5 and ss7, ive also used a number of ss9, a small quantity of ss12 and 3 0r 4 ss16 crystals.

2. Give the flat face of the rubber toe a good rub down to scratch the surface, this creates a much better platform for the adhesive to bond to than a smooth surface.

3. Using a clean cotton cloth and some rubbing alcohol wipe down the surface of the toe to remove any grease or rubber particles. The alcohol will dry very quickly leaving no residue behind.

4. Once the toe is dry using a fine pencil draw the outline of the leopard print pattern you intend to crystallize. There are a couple of things you need to take into consideration when doing this.

i. Any gaps between patterns need to be at least as wide as your smallest crystal (if not wider so that you can use a larger crystal or combination of crystals to fill the gap).

ii. Both the squiggly patterns and inside the patterns are also going to be filled with crystals so don’t make hard work for yourself by creating shapes that tailor off into fine points or edges of shapes that are too fine to crystallize. Basically keep the shapes nice and rounded and not too thin.

5. One Leopard Print outline complete (I did mess the first one up and had to rub it out with a cotton cloth and some alcohol, which is why it’s drawn in pencil first and not with pen).

6. Using the Black permanent marker colour in the squiggles being careful to work towards you so that you don’t smudge any wet pen ink.

7. Next I fill in the squiggle centres with my brown permanent marker .

8. Finally colour in the yellow (Once the ink has dried the nasty dayglo yellow colour fades to a more acceptable sand yellow ; )


Start Crystallizing:

9. There you are.. Already the yellow is looking much more appealing. I did start this tutorial using e6000 but for some reason it just didn’t like the marker surface so I opted for trying gemtac which is white when you put it on but dries clear and doesn’t stink like e6000 does.

10. Now if you are used to using e6000 and have also tried gemtac for this tutorial you are going to notice a difference in working with the adhesive, so it’s worth me explaining their differences so that you don’t panic when it looks like the crystals are going to sink under the glue. When you apply e6000 it’s thick in consistency so the if it’s applied thickly, that’s the way it will dry that way same goes if it’s applied thinly. Gemtac on the other hand is a lot thinner in consistency so it’s very easy to apply it a little thicker than you perhaps intend to, this can leave the crystals looking like they are bogged down in a white goo. Unlike e6000 which comes out of the tube clear gemtac starts out white but dries clear, it also shrinks ( self levels) as it dries so initially it may look like you have a little too much glue but don’t panic as it will shrink and dry clear within a short time. As long as you don’t get glue over the face of the crystals then once gemtac is dry you will have a nice pleasing result.

11. Pick up your first crystal and set it into position on your adhesive, position and then press down on the crystal so that it’s securely bonded with the adhesive. (Try not to do it the other way around i.e. press down and then position of the crystal face will act like a scoop and you will get a nice build up of adhesive over the top of the crystal face. If this does happen remove the crystal and place another in it’s place.)

12. First few crystals fill the gap nicely.

13. Continue adding your light Colorado Topaz crystals (or whichever colour crystals you decide to use).

14. Again continue adding crystals, i prefer to work from the edges inwards so that the outside edge always looks neat (Just my personal preference).

15. That’s the last of the Light Colorado Topaz Crystals applied in a nice neat pattern.

16. Onto the Smoked Topaz crystals fill in the gaps as best as you can using the crystal sizes available to you.

17. And Finally onto the Jet crystals.


18. To achieve a more professional result which basically means a tighter fit for filling the gaps with crystals you may need to spend a little time working out the patterns before gluing. Until you become used to working with the various size crystals and judging which crystals fit which gap it will be worth you using the following method.

19. Trial and error….. fill the gap with the various size crystals you have available to provide the best fit DON’T USE ANY GLUE YET. Just place the crystals in the gap.

20. Once you are happy one by one maintaining the same order and pattern, place the crystals onto your work surface ready for gluing.

21. Glue up the gap using your cocktail stick tip.

22. Apply the crystals to the adhesive in the same pattern/order as laid out on your work surface.

23. Crystals give a nice fit and are applied to the adhesive quickly as the pattern is already worked out.

24. Voila…… 1 finished Swarovski Crystallized Leopard Print Converse Toe.

 Thank you for viewing the Leopard Print Converse tutorial we hope you found it useful and welcome your feedback.

Author: Crystal and Glass Beads

Check Also

Swarovski All Star Converse Tutorial

What you will need: a. Swarovski flatback rhinestones NON-HOTFIX: size ss5(1.8mm), ss7(2.2mm), ss9(2.6mm), ss12 (3.2mm) …


  1. Do you need to use the pens for completing the tutorial and if so where do you get them from?

    • Hi Lindsay
      You don’t need pens but when you are using a strong colour especially a darker shade having a colour base helps to emphasise the colour crystals and particularly the shape itself that you are crystallizing. Without the backing colour if you don’t keep the gaps between the crystals to a minimum it will detract from the overall effect as you will see white gaps wherever the rubber can be seen. Even if the backing isn’t exactly the same shade as the crystals it doesn’t matter as long as its the same colour i.e. yellow, green, blue etc. So in answer to your question no you don’t need pens but of you have them they will help to enhance the overall appearance of the design. As regards where you can get them from just do a search online for Sharpie, Staedtler or colour permanent markers or if you are purchasing them from your local high street you can get them from Staples, WHSmith in the UK or Walmart in the US. Hope this helps.

  2. Do you have any other suggestions for color combinations that would work for the leopard print?

    • Hi Roberta
      If it’s the browns and Golden colours you want to stay with for the leopard print there are a few colours you can look at Mocca you can use instead of jet as its a very dark brown, Topaz can be used instead of Smoked topaz its paler and more of an amber colour. If you are looking for a lighter colour than light colorado topaz there is golden shadow which is very similar to Light Col Topaz but a little lighter and sparklier as it’s a special coating colour. Fos something paler than both of these there is Light Silk which is a mid way between Silk and Light Colorado Topaz, not as pinky as silk or as dark as light col topaz. Other possible colours to look at are Tabac, crystal bronze and jet nut which will give more of a metallic effect to your design.

      For something a little different like a snow leopard you can look at black diamond (grey), Greige (grey brown), Crystal silver night (similar to black diamond but a little darker and sparklier being a special colour. Silver shade is a pewter/ pale grey colour or moonlight which is a vintage colour off clear as an alternative to clear crystal.

      Hope this helps.

  3. I want to follow the tutorial but for an ipad cover what would I need to do differently and how many crystals would it take?

    • Hi Chloe
      The principle would be the same for the ipad cover but things to consider?

      1. What is the ipad cover made from. Make sure that the adhesive you use is suitable for providing a strong bond and also suitable for the crystals you intend to use. For Swarovski or Preciosa adhesives like e6000 or epoxy resin are fine but if you intend to use these adhesives with acrylic rhinestones it can melt the fail backing and cloud the crystals.

      2. How big is the print going to be? You may decide to have a much larger print for an ipad cover in which case you can scale up the size of the crystals used which will be more cost effective than using tiny crystals. You will still need some smaller crystals for gaps but if your print is larger then most of the crystals you use can be ss12/ss16 or even ss20 which will cover a larger area for less cost.

      3. Consider the case base colour. If the case is available in various colours and you intend to colour the print in permanent markers before crystallizing then consider using a white case which is easier to colour or one where the base colour is similar to the lightest shade of crystal you intend to use. So you only have to colour in the darker parts (it’s easier to colour a pale case in pens than a darker one).

      As regards How many crystals it will take that will completely depend on the size of crystals you use and the size of the case so I wont be able to give you a figure sorry, but hopefully the advise has helped.

  4. Hiya

    Im wanting to hotfix onto my pram hood (Quinny Zapp xtra)

    Would it be the same general principle using a hotfix tool on a pram fabric? Any tips on marking out?

    • Hi Tashaa
      Before getting the crystals to use on the pram fabric give it a water test, apply a drop of water to the fabric in 2 or 3 places and see if it absorbs into the material quickly or just stays on the surface. If it absorbs quickly you can use hotfix crystals, if it just stays on the surface or takes a long time to absorb into the material as I suspect it will because it’s a water resistant rain cover then Hotfix won’t work. Your alternative is then non hotfix and a suitable glue, are you intending to just scatter the crystals, create a leopard print pattern or something else as there are other things to also consider with a fold away cover. If you are applying a solid pattern you can mark out the pattern using a permanent fine tip marker ( I would practise on paper first to get the hang of drawing the pattern in a suitable size before drawing on the pram cover, this may take several attempts before you are happy with the size of the print in comparison to the surface you are covering). One thing to note if its a solid pattern you are creating once you fold the material roof back it will put enormous stress on the adhesive as the material buckles and bends and you will loose a large amount of crystals, on a semi solid surface like a converse to or mobile phone cover this wont happen but I wouldn’t recommend creating a solid print on a surface that isn’t at least semi rigid. Creating a scatter pattern of different sized crystals will add some sparkle using e6000 and non hotfix and a few different sizes and wont be as likely to come off. If you try the water test and then let me know what the pattern is then hopefully I will be able to give you more precise advise but I hope this helps.

  5. I need help determining how many of each crystal to order, did you order each color in the 4 different sizes ? I am doing kids converse

    • Hi Kristina
      The amount will be different for everyone as no two patterns will be drawn the same, you can get away with using smaller crystals ss5, ss7 or ss9, but it will take up more crystals if you just use smaller sizes. I am lucky in that we are a Swarovski supplier so I already have the crystals in the various sizes at hand.

  6. How long is shipping to the us?

    • Hi Kayla
      Shipping to the US should take 10 days but often takes longer as it’s held by US Customs sometimes for a week or two once it arrives at the destination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *