Remember my previous post where I was on the hunt for the perfect wedding shoes? How I finally got my inspiration for my own personal/customised pair from the photo of Christian Louboutin’s multi glitter slingback heels?
After I wrote my previous post, I couldn’t help myself (I’ve got no patience when it comes to getting excited about anything, especially a project) from starting to look for supplies online to make myself the perfect wedding shoes to go with my mum’s Chinese wedding dress. I’ve already thought about it and decided that with a solid red glitter pair, it would be quite difficult for me to wear it again in the future. I didn’t want to buy a pair of shoes to customise to only wear it for my wedding day, so I want the pair that I make to be versatile enough to be worn with my dresses and outfits after the big day.
Getting the materials and tools I need to make the glitter court shoes I have in mind wasn’t at all difficult. It’d be surprising to know how much you can find online! If you know of any arts and crafts shops near you as well, that could be quite handy. (If you’re in Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Bargain Store on Nicolson Street or the Edinburgh Art Shop at Tollcross are quite good places to start).
To make your own pair not only gives you the satisfaction of having created something beautiful, but it’s also very pleasing and satisfying to know that you’re the only one who owns exactly the same pair that you’ve made. No two pairs, even if made by the same pair of hands, when made lovingly can ever be exactly the same. I’m hoping that my tutorial below will be easy for you to follow to get you your own perfect pair of shoes without the big price tag!
To give you an idea of how much you’ll be saving, a pair of A/W Christian Louboutin Ron Ron 100 framboise glitter court shoes are £395 from Pam Jenkins – I spent £31 total on all the materials I needed to make my own!
To kick it off, here are some other examples that gave me ideas for my own DIY glitter court shoes:
Here’s what you need to know to start making your own:
– shoes of choice in plain PU or genuine leather (some sites suggest suede or micro-suede shoes, but I think if you had a smooth surface it could adhere better). I got these court shoes for £14.99 from Shoesdays
– glitter (got 5 bags of different colours and shades for between £0.99-£1.49/bag from thebeautyboxboutique)
I got 20g bags of fine glitter in each of these colours: Metallic Gunmetal, Sand, Lilac, Rose, Rose Copper and Wine
– Paintbrush or sponge brush (I got my sponge brush from the Edinburgh Art Shop for £1)
– Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge (I ended up getting Mod Podge on Ebay as quite a few sites used this instead of Elmer’s glue and said it dried faster)
– Old newspapers or plastic bags
– Sanding paper (I used grade 800 on my shoes, or choose a grade that’s not too rough) or a nail file
– Masking tape
– Coloured spray paint (optional)
– Acrylic varnish spray paint (optional, I got Winsor & Newton’s Artists’ Matt Varnish from the Edinburgh Art Shop)
– Gloves (optional, to keep your hands clean!)
1) Cover the entire surface of the soles of your shoes (including the inside of the heel and don’t forget the heel caps!) with masking tape. You don’t want glitter to go there!
2) This step wasn’t suggested in Adventures in Dressmaking or on any other tutorials, but to allow the glitter to adhere better to the shoe, sand the surface slightly to produce a rough surface and to remove the polish/finish from the shoe (this is especially important if you’re using patent leather shoes)
You can see here that the colour of the shoe (right) has gotten slightly lighter after being sanded:
This is only the top coat (like polish) that’s been applied to the leather so you’re back to bare leather. It’s the same process as getting a manicure, when the beauticians use nail polish remover to make sure any remaining varnish etc is removed before they start
3) If you’ve got a dark pair of shoes that you want to change to a lighter colour (say, you’ve got black shoes and you want them to be coated with silver glitter), it’s advisable to spray paint them in the colour you’re planning to glitter your shoes to (ie silver) to hide any parts of the shoe that aren’t well-covered by the glitter (black patches would be quite obvious if there’s a thin layer of silver glitter on some parts).
As I bought nude coloured shoes and I was going to coat my shoes with red multi-toned glitter, it would be quite obvious to me where parts are missing glitter so I didn’t spray paint mine.
4) If you’re using different coloured glitter to make your shoes different shades/multi-coloured, to make sure you’ve got the right mix of coloured glitter add different amounts of the glitter in a small tub/bowl first until you get the right amount of each colour:
To get this colour mix, from the 20g bags of glitter I used about half the bag of Wine, about 1 tsp of the Rose Copper, Rose and Lilac, and approximately 2 tsp of the Sand and Gunmetal
As I am customising my court shoes to match my mum’s Chinese wedding dress, I could hold the bowl of glitter up against my mum’s dress to see if the colour goes well.
5) Once you’re happy with the colour combination, add your Elmer’s glue/Mod Podge to your glitter. You should have a good consistency that’s easy to apply – enough glitter to coat a small surface with your first stroke, but not thick enough that your glitter glue doesn’t stick to your shoe
6) Starting with a small section of your shoe (either the heel or the toe), start painting on your first layer, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
You should be wearing surgical gloves at this point if you decided to get them. I only mentioned that they’re optional because if you find your hands and fingers covered in glitter glue, wait till it dries, then scrape them off with your fingernail back into the pot so it doesn’t get wasted 😉
7) While you’re waiting for the first layer to dry, do the same with your other shoe.
8) Once the first layer is dry, apply the second coat.
9) Repeat this process until your shoes are evenly covered with glitter and it’s as thick as you want it to be
At this point, the shoes have had their third coat
10) Check the shoes over and cover any patches that seem a bit sparse in glitter.
11) I wanted to make sure the shoes didn’t look like I did them myself, so I also made sure glitter was applied to the the curves (where the outer leather meets the inner lining). To do this, add a wee spot of glitter to the edge of your paint/sponge brush and carefully dab this to the curved edge of your shoes:
12) Make sure it’s completely dry before you move on to the next step. You can tell by the colour of your glitter paint – when it’s completely dry you should only see the glitter because the glue dries clear. If it’s still got a milky colour to it, let it dry for a little longer.
The shoe on the left has completely dried. You can see the one on the right isn’t quite there by milky coloured film on the glitter
13) Once you’re happy with the glitter coverage and your shoes are thoroughly dry, you’ll need to add a top coat to keep too much (if any) glitter from coming off. I rubbed my finger on the toe of the shoe and none came off, but to be safe and to protect the glitter, I used this acrylic matte varnish spray for the top protective coat:
Make sure you’re in a well ventilated area and spray evenly over both shoes (this is also where the stuffing inside and the masking tape on the soles of each shoe comes in handy!) and let this dry.
Your other alternative would be to paint a clean (ie without glitter) layer of Elmer’s glue/Mod Podge over your dried top layer of glitter.
14) Now remove the stuffing (old newspaper or plastic bags) and masking tape from your shoes and show them off!
The colour doesn’t show up so well, but here’s a close up of my finished multi-coloured red glitter shoes:
It’s a matter of personal choice whether you prefer fine or chunky glitter, depending on the look you want to go for. I chose fine glitter for my wedding shoes so it’s got a more subtle shimmery look. I think it’s also more subtle and elegant with fine glitter as it doesn’t create as much of a surface on the shoe compared to chunky glitter.
I’ve still got leftover glitter, so I’ve already got a pair of flats that I got on sale that I’m also nearly done with adding glitter to!
The finished heels and the work-in-progress multi-coloured silver glitter flats
A closer look at the glitter on the flats, from a distance it looks like silver, but I might add a thin layer of mix-coloured glitter to the top to make it more colourful
What do you think of my finished wedding glitter court shoes? Have you made your own pair? Got any tips to share?