Based on the number of sparkly shoe pins on Pinterest wedding boards, a lot of you guys are interested in dancing the night away in some sweet disco ball kicks. Unfortunately, some of those babies can cost you multiple thousands of dollars because shoe manufacturers enjoy taking refreshing swims in pools of your tears. Today, we take the power back!
I demonstrated on a pair of Converse as they had excitingly sparkly sides but boring toe caps, and as a person with child-size, hoof-like feet, my pants tend to cover up the majority of the shoe other than the toe cap, so clearly said toe caps needed to be kicked up a notch, namely to “Super-sparkle-unicorn-fart-SHAZAM” levels, but you can use this method on anything that’s not currently alive. Take the item you want to funkify, and clean it until there’s no more dirt and grime or gross buildup. Rubbing alcohol works magic on white shoes. Get some Gem-Tac or E-6000 (both work well, but the E-6000 is super stinky so I prefer Gem-Tac), a china marker, and an approximate buttload of flat-back rhinestones in the color of your choice. You’ll want to make sure you’re buying glass rhinestones rather than acrylic–even though glass is more expensive, it’s also more reflective and plastic will get scuffed up easily and look cheap, rendering your item ugly and your time wasted. Get more than you think you’ll need; you can calculate the approximate amount you’ll need here. A rule of thumb for crystal estimation–to fill a square inch of space with an 7ss stone, you’ll need 144 crystals. To replicate the sparkliest of shoes, you’ll need somewhere in the realm of 30 gross (or more!), which is why I suggest buying them all at once from an online store that gives you bulk pricing, because the small packets in the retail craft stores are a total rip. To take a shoe from plain to drag superstar isn’t cheap–prepare to spend around $100 on rhinestones…but it’s still significantly cheaper than a pair of Louboutins! You can use whatever size rhinestones you want. The smaller the stone, the more more sparklicious impact the project will have and the more luxe it will look, but bear in mind it will be fussier and require many many more stones per square inch, driving up your costs in time and materials. I used SS16 (4mm)on this project, for example, but on something smaller like a cell phone, I’d want to use a smaller stone. Spread some Gem-Tac on the area you intend to cover (it’s easier to work a bit at a time than covering the whole surface with glue, because it dries relatively quickly.) and pick up and place the rhinestones with the tip of the china marker. You can use tweezers instead if you’re a fan of frustration, I won’t judge. Rinse and repeat until you’re done. Once you’ve let the glue dry, you’ve got a piece of eye-searing sunshine on your hands. Take that, manufacturers of overly-expensive shoes!
BLAM. Sparkle time!
You can create a more high-fashion look by mixing a variety of stone sizes like I did on the lenses of my gaga-esque sunglasses. Just place the stones randomly in a way that looks good to you, working one small area at a time. It’s ok if there are small gaps, the glue dries clear, and if it bothers you, you can always put a tiny stone in the gap later.
Use this power wisely. Or go nuts! But when everything you own is covered in rhinestones, don’t say I didn’t use the word “moderation”, because I did, just now.
BONUS: If you’re looking to make a pair of wedding fauxboutins, you’ll want to get your red sole in place before doing any crystal work. Here’s how you do that:
*Carefully tape off all the areas on the shoe that you don’t want to be red. Don’t skimp on the tape, buy the best stuff you can find as your edges need to be crisp to look right. If you’re taping on lace, I’d recommend wrapping the shoe in cling wrap and then taping over that so you don’t risk damage to the fabric from the tape, because even delicate surface tape is intended for tougher stuff than lace.
*Prime the sole with a multipurpose primer. Aerosol primers and paints are great but make sure you have covered every single surface on the shoe you don’t want painted or you’ll be very upset.
*Paint the soles the red of your choice. You can use spray paint, house paint, auto paint…the original runway Louboutins were done with red nail polish! Keep your coats thin and even, with a minimal amount of brushstrokes for the best results. If you want to coordinate further, go with an orange based red if your wedding incorporates warm colors or a blue based red if you’re going cool. Just like with lipstick and teeth, orange reds make offwhites look more yellow, and blue reds make them look more white, so keep that in mind if your shoe is not pure white.
*Let them dry thoroughly before doing anything else. Don’t poke, prod, lick, wear, or otherwise touch the shoes for at least 24 hours. I mean it!
*Use a surface sealant to make the color last longer. Again, aerosol works fine.
Your red paint job should look great but it’s not entirely impervious to scuffs and scrapes–after all, you’ll be walking and dancing in these babies on a variety of surfaces. Be careful when walking on your new soles, they can be slippery! If you want a flash of red on the heel but to keep the grip of the sole, tape off the toebox when you’re doing your paint job.
May the crafts be with you,