Snake chain collage resized

Big initial MLast Sunday I took a break from writing about painting shoes and showed you several of the ways I’d simply embellished some yummy heels I’d scored at the Steve Madden site back when I fancied myself  still vamp-y. One of those pairs of heels was a beautiful dark chocolate suede, and I promised that I’d tell you how I made the coiled-chain embellishment I put on the toes.

Gluing on snake chain-005 resized

The easiest way to cut all but the flimsiest chain is to use real metal shears

The chain is called flat snake chain, it’s tarnished (okay by me) brass, measures 4.0mm wide, and is fabulously flexible, just like…uh…a snake.  I found a couple long pieces of it several years ago at Kit Kraft in Studio City, a suburb of Los Angeles, and was entranced by how supple it was. Since then, though, it’s been sitting in my box of chains waiting for me to figure out how to attach it to a shoe.

Usually I recommend stitching chain to shoes, but there are no holes in snake chain. So I knew I would have to glue it. That meant two things: First, I would have to attach it to an area of the shoe that wouldn’t need to bend a lot; and second, I would have to figure out how to get glue on the chain and NOT on the shoe. The latter was going to be a REAL challenge for me.

Gluing on snake chain-006 resized

Gluing on snake chain-001 resized

That’s because I’m just not tidy. (My mother used to say, when referring to the disatrously messy state of my room, “Margot isn’t sloppy, she’s just very very busy….”) So when I glue stuff, I get glue ALL OVER THE PLACE. Which is why this cool chain had sat in a box for four or five years. However, I AM ingenious. So I decided to try transferring some of the glue I wanted to use (E6000) into a plastic syringe so I could squeeze out a tiny line onto the back of the chain as I coiled it in place.

Lo and behold, it worked!! I started from the bottom, made a big circle and worked my way up, creating a sort of bee hive shape. (I was making this up as I went along. If you haven’t discovered yet, sassifying your shoes requires you to be willing to take risks.)  When I got to the top, I just lapped the tail down to the bottom coil and around a bit more.

Gluing on snake chain-011 resized

Then I cut it off. I did the same thing with the second shoe and although it didn’t come out identical, it did quite well. The only caveat is, you can’t reuse the syringe. (But they are pretty cheap to buy.)

Glue in process collage resized I use a similar trick when I’m applying glue to piping or other trim. It SAVES my hands when I have a long line of glue to apply and it helps me from doing a messy job. We sell little glue applicator bottles like this in our online store for the outrageous price of 89 cents each. I keep one filled with Fabri-Tac which I use to glue fabric trim to unpainted leather) and the other filled with The Ultimate (for gluing fabric trim to painted leather or manmade leather).

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