When Margot told me about her simmering idea for metal leafing on shoes, I was dazzled by her ability to envision yet another unexpected application for this wonderful DIY craft she’s pioneering. Putting it shortly, I wanted in!
She had already done gold-toned mixed metal leafing on a pair of clogs (See: Rescuing Some Old Friends) and had a bag of silver (and some coppery red) she had yet to try. So, she sent me home with the all the sterling supplies and a pair of faux-straw patterned wedges to transform.
First, I painted a coat of Speedball metal leaf sealer (photo on our previous blog, as mentioned) onto the faux-straw wedges and allowed it to fully dry. Then, I applied a coat of adhesive. After about 30 minutes the adhesive was tacky enough to start applying the leafing.
I used a pair of tweezers to pull pieces of leafing from the bag and laid them onto the wedge. An old, junky soft paint brush works exceptionally well for burnishing the metal leaf smooth. Every so often, I would add a chunk of coppery leaf in random spots. After the whole wedge was covered, I inspected it for places I had missed. There were a few, so I brushed on a bit more adhesive, let it sit and applied more leaf. When all the spots were covered, I was applied another coat of sealer over the whole wedge.
Since the wedge had coppery koi-like “fishscales” within the silver, I chose to use Metallic Russet, Pewter and Black as my paint colors for the upper and insole. I used the larger, straight-edge brush in our kit to paint Black on everything but the undersides of the straps and footbed. (Since the main body was fabric, I didn’t need to do any prep.) If you aren’t as steady with a paintbrush as you’d like to be, you can use blue drafting tape to mask off the areas you don’t want painted.
Now for the insole! It was made of faux leather, so I prepped it t with a cotton ball dampened with 100% acetone). Then, using a fan brush, I painted the insole with two coats of Pewter. Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second. Metallic Russet was applied (2 coats, again) to the inside of the straps using the straight-edge brush. As an accent, I used a small round brush to paint some gear-shaped accents on the footbed.
The pièce de résistance was an excellent, handstacked-button embellishment created by Margot that had a very steampunk look about it. It was stitched on with a leather needle and Fireline to the gathered toe strap. I added a swarovski crystal to the center of the clockworks to finish it off.
This pair of wedges is now fit for any time-traveling, sterling silver, steampunk princess!