Shoeprint Designs

By John Bomhoff
Art Studio Manager, Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Children will learn about designs and patterns with this creative project from the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

Ages: 5 and up.

Materials: tennis shoes, 6” X 9” piece of white drawing paper, crayons which have the paper covering removed, scissors and markers. (Note: In the Art Studio we are using basketball shoes donated by the Phoenix Suns, sizes 15-18!).


Review the information regarding designs which follows.

Take off your tennis shoe. Place a piece of paper on the sole of the shoe. Have a friend hold the paper in place while you use the flat side of a crayon to rub gently on the paper. You will create a rubbing of the sole of the shoe.

Take the paper off the shoe and trace around the shoeprint with a crayon.

Cut out the shoe.

Using markers, color in the repeated designs.


This project provides an excellent opportunity to review how throughout history, cultures have created designs on useful objects by repeating shapes. The designs not only were decorative; in some cases they conveyed meanings. Such is the case with Native American pottery, which often is decorated with beautiful geometric designs or pictures that can be symbolic in nature. You may want to show your children pictures of some of this pottery. Then look around your house and find objects that are decorated with designs (i.e., dishes, clothing, wall coverings, etc.) Ask, “Why are items decorated?” (People throughout the world enjoy wearing and using items that are decorated with designs.) Then show how designs are created by repeating a shape over and over, just like on the bottom of shoes. By the way, you can also ask what the purpose is for those designs on the soles. (They provide traction so you can stop and start quickly!) If you have a group of children creating the projects, mount the shoes on butcher paper to create an eye-catching mural!


The mission of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is to engage the minds, muscles and imaginations of children and the grown-ups who care about them. With hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for children ages birth to 10, the Museum focuses on learning through play, with emphasis on early childhood education and school-readiness.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is located at 215 N. 7th St. in downtown Phoenix, at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Van Buren in the historic Monroe School Building.


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