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DAbout a year ago, I went on a mini shoe shopping spree. Zappos.com was having a high heel sale, DSC04575 and I succumbed to five, yes FIVE, pairs of high-high-heeled shoes. I only spent $60 total. What, like you’ve never done it? … Don’t judge me! Point is, most of the pairs had something interesting going on: zebra stripes, black pyramid spiked heel, cheetah print, buckles, or patent leather. A few of the pairs have seen the light of day at this function or that one. But the plainest pair just milled about in their box way in the back of my closet, sad and lonely.

Last week Margot and I decided to have a shoe day together. It had been awhile since our last day of creative madness. I did a quick scan looking for the perfect pair of shoes to play with and grabbed my poor neglected pumps. My life has been transforming lately and I wanted to make myself something awesome.  I sat down with Margot and started in with what I was planning.

GolddetailThe one thing I knew was I didn’t want to repaint the entire shoe. It was covered with small metal studs and that would be a… well y’know… to paint around them. I figured I could paint above and below the studded area, though, so I masked that off, and prepped the “leatherette” surface by rubbing it with acetone. Then I painted the platform below the tape and the inside of the heel Sunset Gold.

At this point I was stuck. I was having a hard time deciding which colors looked best so I yelped at Margot for help. We both stared at our ring of paint chips, trying this color and that color. She mentioned using our sea sponging technique on the upper and I was sold. I decided on Metallic Bronze and poured some out, ready for the next step. Instead of a natural sea sponge like we normally use, however, she handed me a synthetic sponge made for cleaning George Foreman Grills.

These have an irregular pattern of little points, like a sea sponge, but since they are synthetic, those points never go soft from the wetness of the paint and lose their “pointiness.” They also create a much finer pattern than even sea silk sponges do. I dabbed on one coat of Metallic Bronze. That’s all I needed.

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Next, the embellishments. I wanted a strap! I played with different ideas but Margot lobbied for using chain. Who could resist chain? Not I. So I pawed through our amazingly diverse stash until I found two lengths of chain, one brass and one copper, two copper washers, and two brass nautical stars. I measured around my ankle, and marked each length of chain. (A very handy way to mark chain is to secure a safety pin in the last link you want to keep.)

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Margot nipped the chain for me (I wanted the copper chain to hang lower than the brass so I measured a longer length of copper), and we fixed split rings to both ends of each chain. The loop end of a toggle clasp was attached to a split ring on one end, then the three split rings were connected (see the photo above). On the other end, we used a lobster clasp on a split ring instead of the loop-and-ring combo. It was kind of like making an anklet.  The split ring with the clasp loop was stitched to the back of the shoe using a leather needle and Smoke Fireline thread.

The embellishment for the toe was created by stacking a brass nautical star onto a copper washer and gluing them together with E6000. I also glued dome findings onto the backs so they could be stitched onto the shoes. Once the E6000 had cured, all I needed was to mark where I wanted the embellishment on each shoe and sweet-talk Margot into using a leather needle and Smoke colored Fireline thread to attach them.

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Neither of us could believe how awesome the transformation was! The heels turned out really stunning. No one would ever believe they only cost $4.95! The best part is they are mine!! Now I need to wear them somewhere… Hmmmm. Maybe I can just put my feet up and enjoy them, for now.

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