As more environmentally-conscious consumers, it is important to wear things out before replacing them with a newer model. One way to make the process of wearing things out more fun, is to spruce up your older clothes and shoes. Even if your shoes are brand-new you can try out these ideas to add a personal touch. Here are 5 fun ways to customise your shoes:
Get your hands on fabric paint in the primary colours and get painting! This will work best if you are working with fabric shoes. Try to sketch a rough idea of what you want to paint on scrap paper first. You can replicate the design of your favourite cartoon character’s shoes, paint a masterpiece portrait of your sibling’s face, or opt for something more simple like polka dots.
If your shoes are already brightly coloured, you may need to paint them white first so you have a base to work with which will not overpower your masterpiece. In Camden Market, London, there is a talented artist who exclusively sells hand-painted shoes which he does right there in his stall! There are also many beautifully painted shoes on Etsy. Who knows? Maybe you will discover your hidden talent and start your own shop.
One of the simplest ways to customise your shoes is to change the laces. There are so many beautiful shoelaces out there for you to choose from! Some of them are patterned or made with glittery strands within them. Some of them are just strings and ribbons from craft shops but why not? If you tie the ends of the ribbons and embrace the eventual and inevitable fraying, they would be so much fun to lace through any shoes. Isn’t the image of pink ribbons against some rugged combat boots just delightful?
If you want something more long-lasting and intricate, braid or weave some strings together whether they be craft cord, yarn, or kitchen twine. You can even do it with a friend and make each other friendship shoelaces. Beads can be added to the laces simply by stringing them through the strings as you lace them into your shoes. They will look as though you spilled a handful of beads over your feet.
If you are good with needle and thread and your shoes are made of a relatively thin material, you can do some painting with colourful stitches. You can either approach this with a sketched-out plan or make it up as you go along.
Some simple designs you can try include: tiny x’s, a few flowers, or haphazard lines. Alternatively, you can embark on an elaborate embroidery project. Choose the colours of your embroidery thread with your shoes in mind. If you choose wisely, the finished product will perfectly contrast or complement the colour of your shoes.
Using dyes has a somewhat similar effect to fabric paints. However, with dyes, the effect will be more flowy like watercolour on paper whilst fabric paint will have a similar effect to acrylic on canvas. I recommend a powder fibre-reactive dye to be used on cotton. Carefully place a tiny pile of dye onto a plate with the end of your paintbrush handle. Once you have placed the colours you intend on using at opposite ends of the plate (remember to clean the end of your brush handle each time you are picking up a new colour), wet your brush and begin to water down the dye. You can choose to drag the colours across the plate to mix them or keep them separate. Apply the colourful dye solution onto the fabric of your shoes. You may even want to apply the powder directly onto the shoes for an intense pop of colour. However, start with diluted colours so you have a bit of practice before applying the dyes directly.
An effect you might want to try out with dyes that you cannot do with paint is a tie-dye or watercolour effect. By using diluted dyes and spreading them from one side of your shoes to another, you can create a gradient look. If you use colours like dark blue, purple, and pink, your shoes will look like a slice of the Milky Way!
With the help of a hot glue gun, you can stick almost anything onto your shoes. Some more subtle objects include: fake flowers, buttons, pipe cleaner designs, googly eyes, sequins, or wires arranged into spirals. You can also go to a craft store and check out what kind of patches and appliqués they sell. The scrapbook sticker aisle has an especially overwhelming range of options which may work well with your shoes.