I love shoe designs that are a little bit in your face. So when I saw these leather “barbed wire” Milo sandals by Gio Diev last summer, I was intrigued. Then serendipity took me to Fire Mountain Gems, a jewelry-supply site, and I found they were selling barbed-wire-design leather cord. It was more than I could do not to order some!
I immediately stared searching through our shoe stash for just the right sandals, with straps I could replace with the “barbed wire.” I found a pair with genuine cork wedges and manmade leather straps.
The key to swapping out the straps on sandals like this is to use the existing straps to anchor the new ones. First I MEASURED the existing straps. (Dont’ forget this part!). Then I cut off the ankle strap and two toe straps, leaving a scant inch anchored into the wedge. I prepped and painted the remaining straps and the little stubs with Neopaque Black (since the leather barbed wire was black).
Before we go any further, I want to apologize for not taking work-in-progress pictures. But I do have “after” shots and closeups to show you.
The next step was to fold each little stub in half and stich it closed, leaving a loop through which I could thread the barbed wire. (Don’t just glue these loops — I have tried that in the past and they invariably pop open after a certain amount of stress. Not. Good.) I used a leather needle and Fireline beading thread to do the stitching.
Once the loops were secure, I measured out the necessary lengths of barbed wire cord for the toe straps, added an inch to each one (allowing for a half inch extra on each end to fold into connecting loops), and cut my new straps. I threaded one end of each barbed wire cord through a folded stub, then used fairly hefty silver jewelry wire to TIGHTLY wrap the end to the new strap and hold everything closed.
Now, I am NOT a beader or jewelry maker, so if I can do this, so can you. Look at the pictures and you’ll see what I did. (The ends of the wire are bent back upon themselves and squashed flat with needlenose pliers so they won’t poke the foot.) All this was actually much easier to do than to describe!
For cutting new ankle straps, I added the extra inch to each strap, then a generous amount extra so the ends could be crossed around the ankle several times and tied. (The original straps had buckles, but the “barbs” on the new straps wouldn’t allow for that.)
Once I had all the new straps in place, Destiny and took a look and said, “What ELSE can we do??” We are never satisfied with just a little change, barbed wire or not. I recalled having some black chain maille left over from a previous project, so I got that out and headed off to the hardware store for black brads I could use to nail the maille to the wedge. I did so, cutting raggedy edges in it with my metal shears.
Of course, even that wasn’t enough for Destiny and me. We added little brass and black safety pins and a few silver charms to dangle from the chain maille. Only then we were satisfied!
And this concludes tonight’s episode of “Art Girlz Adventures in the DIY Shoe Studio” with Destiny and Margot. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!
P.S. Our next blog will feature THREE articles we have just had published in Altered Couture magazine.