Sunday, March 25, 2012

tutorial: glitter monster shoe makeover

So I had these shoes collecting dust in my closet. I bought them ages ago and haven't worn them much. They were cute, but not really my style anymore. Feeling the need for some craft therapy a few days ago, I dug them out, dusted them off, and took them from this...

sweeeeeeeet. this! Cute, right? Creepy, sparkly, cartoony, totally me. And now I'm going to show you how I did it. I know what you're thinking. "Dude, I could never make those totally badass shoes. They look way too complicated. Only someone as awesome, craftacular and not to mention stunningly beautiful and charming as Alternamommy could make those."

Never fear, reader! For you are also craftacular and stunningly beautiful and charming, and these are easier than they look. All you need is a pair of shoes and some basic supplies you probably already have lying around. Let's get started.

1. Gather your supplies:
  • old shoes -- Mine were black matte leather. This can also work on canvas, faux leather, patent leather, or suede.
  • white glue
  • gesso
  • fine glitter in your colors of choice --Michael's has a great selection of vibrantly colored glitter in their $1 bin.
  • acrylic craft paint in colors that match your glitter (This doesn't have to be a perfect match. Just get as close as possible)
  • clear polyurethane spray
  • hair spray (yes, really)
  • pencil
  • soft, fine bristled paint brush

2. Clean your shoes with a damp paper towel and remove any embellishments you don't want. I cut the bows off of mine. Prime shoes with 3-4 coats of gesso until they are stark white.

3. Using a sharp pencil, draw your design onto your shoes. I drew drippy slime all around the edges. You can freehand it or use stencils if you like. Anything goes! Just keep your lines clean and simple. The more detailed your design, the more work you'll do later. But hey, if you're into that sort of thing, you can draw the dang Sistine Chapel. It's a free country.

4. With a small brush, apply paint to the shoes. I used two coats of paint, but you can use as much or as little as you need. This doesn't have to be pretty. It just serves as a base coat to make the colors pop. Now it's time for the fun part: SPARKLE TIME OMG!

5. I didn't take step by step pictures of this process on the shoes, so I'm demonstrating it here with a piece of cardboard.
Working in small sections, brush a thin layer of glue over the dry paint.
I've gotten a few questions about how to keep the glitter from getting lumpy. This is where the quality of your paint brush is very important. It's all about applying the glue as thinly and evenly as possible. If you use a brush with coarse bristles, your glue will be streaky and lumpy. The softer the brush, the better.

6. Sprinkle glitter onto the wet glue and shake off the excess. I do this over a deep plastic tub to prevent messes. You can return the excess glitter to its container and use it again. Repeat in sections until your first color is done.

7. Spray your shoes with a light coat of hair spray. This will set the glitter in place and prevent it from shedding while you continue working. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with your next color. Doing one color at a time keeps the colors from blending.

8. Once all of your glitter has been applied, seal the shoes with a few coats of polyurethane. You can stop here, or add embellishments with a strong glue. Rhinestones, ribbon, googly eyes, buttons, anything goes! I used a pair of felt eyeball appliques here.

You're done! Now you have an amazing pair of unique shoes that cost just pennies and a couple of hours to make. When people ask you, "Where did you get those shoes?!" (and they will, trust me) you can reply, "I made them, because I am AWESOME LIKE THAT." Bam. You're welcome.

If you have any questions about this project, feel free to comment here or email me at If you make your own pair of glitter shoes, I want to see pics!

1 comment:

  1. I love your shoes! So very cute! It's time for me to hit the thrift stores for some shoes to practice on! Thank you for sharing!