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Sparkle-tastic Shoe Rejuvenation

August 19, 2012

I'm pretty open about the fact that I'm a shoe hoarder. I get emotionally attached to footwear and often hang onto it long past its prime. Lately, I've been feeling guilty about keeping shoes I don't wear around, so I'm working on ways to make old shoes new-ish again, which will in theory prevent me from buying more shoes. I don't know if this mind game I'm playing with myself will pan out, but I sure am having fun bringing new life to old kicks! This is a project that's also great for sprucing up footwear to custom match costumes. It's great to have shoes that you already know are comfy when you're trick-or-treating or dancing the night away.

WARNING: Extreme glitter ahead.

For my first shoes-periment, I decided to work with a pair of sport Mary Janes. I love these shoes -- so much that I bought several identical pair when they were available. So I can easily spare a pair for a crafty project.

After cleaning the shoes thoroughly with a wipe and some rubbing alcohol, I applied a generous amount of Mod Podge to one section of shoe at a time using a wide paint brush. Because of the sticky nature of this project, it's really best to only do a little at a time. The sectional nature of the design lines on this shoe made it a breeze to do so.

2-glitter-shoes.jpgOnce I had a section of glue applied, I doused that area with glitter. In the photo below, you'll notice that I did my glitter dousing over a large Glad Ware container. That way, I can collect all unused glitter and return it to its container. Once I had my gluey section thoroughly covered, I shook all stray glitter into my container.

3-glitter-shoes.jpgI repeated the same application method, section by section, working all the way around both shoes. I let each of my sections set for 15 to 20 minutes before moving on to the next section, but if you are adept, you can probably move around the shoe without having to wait in between sections.

My new glitter shoes are ready to sparkle all over the place! 

4-glitter-shoes.jpgI will absolutely be wearing these under some of my witch costumes this year. In truth, I'll also wear them to work, to the movies, to the grocery store, to the park ... basically, everywhere.

The next project in Operation: Shoe Sparkles involves a beloved old pair of red Converse that I have had for years. They're battered and bruised, but I really love them. Even though they've been through the wash many times, they had funky stains on the white rubber toes and sidewalls (about 73 percent of those stains were the result of spilled coffee). I first gave them a good scrub with a 1:1 mixture of toothpaste and hydrogen peroxide, which I left on while the shoes sat in the sun for about 45 minutes before I rinsed them. They didn't come out perfectly white, but as you'll see in subsequent photos, the dinginess was substantially improved.

6-glitter-shoes.jpgThe other trouble spot on these shoes was the heel cup. The fabric had worn away, and the rubber was exposed, and even cracking in some places. I first cut all this shaggy, raggy fabric away.

Then, to re-cushion the heel area, I cut scraps of fleece into arc shapes about 6 inches long by 1.5 inches high to set into the heel cups.

8-glitter-shoes.jpgI used a tacky glue to apply the fleece to the interior of the shoes, also making sure any loose rubber was secured along the way. They key here is to make sure that all edges of the fleece are secure. As you slip your shoes on and off, any areas that are loose will pull.

9-glitter-shoes.jpgOnce my heels were in better shape, I started applying Mod Podge to the shoes in sections, just as I did with my Mary Janes. Working around the grommets with the paint brush is a little tricky, and my application definitely was NOT perfect. I wiped glue away when I got it onto the grommets, but I wasn't terribly worried about it. I figure all the sparkle will distract from little imperfections. For a little extra dimension on these, I used tinsel glitter. Whenever I sprinkled it onto the shoe, I actually patted it into place VERY LIGHTLY before shaking off my excess. As before, I worked my way around each shoe in sections. For the tongue, I only applied glue and glitter to the center; I left the edges alone to avoid unnecessary bulk.

10-glittershoes.jpgTo finish off my shiny new Chucks, I replaced the old laces with double-sided satin ribbon to make them extra girlie. (Because, you know, the glitter was not girlie enough. :p )
11-glitter-shoes.jpgThese are now ready for walks down yellow brick roads, Xmas elf duty, and even New Year's Eve dancing. One note: With fabric shoes like these,  the glue does stiffen and tighten the fit a tiny bit. You make have to break your shoes in gently over a couple of wearings.

12-glitter-shoes.jpgOf course, now I'm looking at other shoes in my closet with renewed interest and a madness for creation that might even rival Dr. Frankenstein. I'm going to need glitter in every color of the rainbow.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on August 19, 2012 4:30 PM.

Getting Ready for Baby: Designer Hospital Gown was the previous entry in this blog.

Halloween Votive Luminary is the next entry in this blog.

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