I know Margot and I are always painting, clipping, stitching, gluing, tying, and re-fabricating various elements of the shoes we create. In all of our many posts, we've only given this fairly simple transformation a footnote in our bible of DIY shoes. Shoelaces! What could you really do with a 1/4" strip of fabric? Oh, let me show you.
The easiest shoe lace transformation is to replace them. If the shoelaces aren't "load bearing" you can use lengths of decorative ribbon. If the laces are imperative to keeping the shoe closed tightly, use something a little heavier that can withstand the pressure of walking. Buy an extra couple yards of whatever you want to use so you can replace it when and if it gets ragged.
Oh, and the little nibs on the end, the aglets, can be created very inexpensively by using some heat-shrink tubing around the end of your ribbon. It comes in a multitude of colors and sizes. You can also wrap heavyweight matching thread around the ends of the laces, then dab fabric glue all around so it stays put.
The next way you can fancy-up your laces is with paint. Dilute your favorite color of Lumiere or Neopaque with about 25% water, and "dye" your boring laces fabulous. You can do something simple and just make them one solid color, or you can add a few colors to spice it up.
Many of you are also sewing pros, so the last technique I'm going to discuss today is decorative stitching. To do this, use topstitching thread in the bobbin and the needle. Be sure to also use a topstitching needle, which has a bigger eye that makes it easier to thread. It also helps prevent the thread from fraying and breaking. Then run your shoelace through your machine using one of its built-in decorative stitches. Depending on how fancy your machine is, the range of patterns can be incredibly large.
What's more, it isn't all about what you do TO those laces. It's also about what you do WITH those laces! Try one of these cool lacing patterns from Lifehack.org!
Don't be afraid. Try something fancy with those laces. They can do a lot more than hold the sides of your shoes together!