The best part of what Margot and I do with shoes is teaching others how to do it. We get great satisfaction out of sharing something new and then, literally, seeing the lightbulb click on above our students’ heads when they realize the world of possiblities that we just opened up for them.
A couple weeks ago, my friend Beth visited from Chicago and I told her I would teach her how to “do” shoes while she was here. She was very excited about this prospect.
After she arrived, we took a trip to Payless to search for some cheap shoes to upgrade. We saw this odd quasi-bootie/sandal/heel hybrid that we both had an immature chuckle over while it was sitting in its box. It was sort of silly looking, so we kept hunting. After a few moments, we decided maybe it was one of those shoes that looked better on the foot than in the box. Beth tried them on. This made a ton of difference. They looked FAR better AND, as a bonus, had a very large surface on which we could create a design.
When we got back to my house Beth was very excited to get started. She loves color and wanted to incorporate a lot of it, but was a little bit nervous about “screwing up.” I gently reminded her that we could always paint over what we had done (which is one of my favorite parts of altering shoes with paint). She thought a Day of the Dead sugar skull theme would be a good muse for tons of color. I took one shoe and she took the other so I could walk her through the process.
We started by prepping the shoe (which is faux leather) by rubbing it with a cotton ball dampened with plain acetone. Then we painted a base coat of Pearlescent Magenta on the upper portion of the shoe using a fan brush. Two coats were needed to cover evenly. Next we painted the lower portion with Bright Gold (2 coats again) as a base.
Beth had seen my blog about the shoes I did for the wonderful Vicki Leon and wanted that speckled look, so we broke out a natural sea sponge to apply the rest of the paint colors. On the upper portion of the shoe, over the Pealescent Magenta, we sponged Pearlescent Blue, then Pearlescent Violet. (It’s best to let each color dry before applying the next, but it dries really quickly.) Onto the Bright Gold base on the lower part of the shoe, we sponged Citrine, Pearlescent Turquoise, then Pearlescent Violet, in that order.
Beth created beautiful bows with some purple iridescent wired ribbon that we found at Lina G’s trim store in Morro Bay. She added a bone skull bead (picked up at Beads by the Bay) to each one. Luckily, Beth knows how to handle a leather needle and swiftly stiched the ribbon and skull onto the elastic strap at the back of the shoe, using some Fireline as her thread.
And damn they looked good!! A whole new shoe!