SHOES TUTORIAL: My Silver Glitter Boots
One day while I was playing around on Polyvore, I came across these silver glittery Lita boots by Jeffrey Campbell from Harvey Nichols. They are gorgeous, but out of my price range for shoes, even if they are amazing (plus they are sold out there). Also, I don't like the wood heel with the silver glitter. I decided I could make my own pair, but with chrome heels. I bought faux Lita boots in beige on Ebay. I didn't want to buy the real thing since I planned on altering them. The fake version did just fine. I'm going to show you how I transformed the beige boots into beautiful silver glittery boots fit for any female Space Pirate...but really just for me. You can use this same tutorial for any shoes of similar fabrics. The beige boots are faux leather uppers with faux wood heels.
- A pair of beige faux leather boots (but any light color will do fine) - I bought mine on Ebay, but since this style of boot is a current trend, you might be able to find them in a physical shop. Again, you can use a different style shoe if needed
- Grey acrylic paint - I made my own by mixing a little black into some white paint on a plate
- Fabric medium - I added a little fabric medium to my grey acrylic paint mixture, so the paint would bond better to the faux leather. Follow the instructions on the bottle to use it with the grey acrylic paint
- An old soft paint brush - Mine is a favorite trusted one that is probably largish for a paint brush...about an inch wide. The larger ones help cover the surface better for the painting and the Mod Podge...different steps
- A smaller soft brush - I used a 1/2" flat angled brush, so I could get into small spaces, and keep the coverage even
- Wax paper - I love this for painting. You can find it in large rolls in a grocery store, where the plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and sealing bags are. It's great for protecting a work surface and releasing from your project if it gets stuck from paint
- Clear plastic primer spray paint - To prime the plastic coated heels. Mine have a faux wood covering
- Silver Chrome spray paint - To transform the faux wood heels into shiny beautiful chrome heels. You do NOT want to seal this paint with a clear finish. If you do that, you will lose the chrome finish. Trust me, I've screwed that up enough in past projects to remember not to do that again
- A cut up open trash bag - I use this to cover my work surface outside on my balcony. Works great! In the photos for this step, you'll notice that I have the boots sitting on paper towels. This is because my trusty trashbag is covered in various colors of spray paint from other projects. I need to replace it. I don't use newsprint to cover my work surface for spray painting, because the paper can stick to the project easily
- Painter's Tape - I used the blue kind, but another brand is fine too. You'll need to tape off the heels and cover the boots for the spray paint step
- Newsprint or any other kind of paper - This is also for the taping off of the heels
- [OPTIONAL] Fine sand paper - You can lightly sand your heels with sand paper before doing the spray paint...or as an alternative, cover them in glitter too
- Mod Podge Gloss - You need the Gloss formula, so it will keep the glittery shiny. This acts as a glue to adhere the glitter, and as a top coat to secure the glitter more and provide a shiny finish
- Chunky silver glitter - This provides a high sparkle and great coverage. I bought a big jar of silver glitter at Michaels
- Fine silver glitter - This is great for small areas like where the lacing is. It's not as sparkly as the chunky glitter. It was needed along the lacing area since the chunky glitter might noticeably flake off from the friction of the laces
- A plastic spoon - For pouring the glitter onto the shoes, in a controlled way
- Newpaper - To cover your work surface. Glitter is EXTREMELY MESSY! If you want to attempt to contain it (which isn't 100% effective anyway) you need to cover your work surface
- [OPTIONAL] File folders - These are great for catching the glitter, so you can pour the excess back into the jar. I didn't have any, but I did have some small sales papers, which had nice folds. They worked fine for catching the excess glitter and pouring it back into the jars
I separated the heel Supplies in BLUE, because if you don't have heels on your chosen shoes, you can skip that section of supplies. Also, I'll code it again in the Instructions, so you know to skip that part if you don't have heels...or if you have chosen to cover them in glitter instead of painting them chrome. We'll get to that below.
Read ALL of the instructions before doing this project! There is no going back!
1) Grab your boots and make sure they are clean. Mine are brand new. If yours aren't gently wipe them clean with a damp cloth. Make sure they are completely dry before proceeding in this project!
2) Remove the laces and stuff the shoes with paper. The newspaper will do fine for this step. You need to fill in the interior space, to prevent paint from getting inside. Glitter is terribly messy...so this didn't prevent the glitter from getting inside, but it probably helped from the amount being huge. This also provides some stability to the uppers as you work on them.
These next few BLUE NUMBERED steps will be for the heels. Skip this section if your shoes don't have heels (flats or wedges) or if you want to cover the heels with glitter instead. We'll get to that 2nd option towards the end. Put on some old clothes for this step. Spray paint can be messy. we're heading outside for this, so prep your work area with that large trashbag. You can cut it down the sides and fully open it to have a nice large work space. Grab a cardboard or shoe box too (perhaps the box the shoes came in?) to lean the shoes against while they dry.
3) Use some newspaper or other paper, and the painter's tape to tape off around the heels and cover the body of the shoe. I stuffed down some ends of the paper into the top of the shoe. Do this to both shoes.
4) With the plastic primer spray paint, give all sides of each heel an even light coat. Since the boot uppers are covered with paper and tape, you can easily handle them, so you can make sure you paint the entire heel. When it dries, the heel will be Matte. Drying time depends on altitude, air temperature, and air moisture. To check if it's dry, after at least 30 minutes, touch the inside of the heel (the side the faces the bottom of the heel lift). If it's dry, proceed to the next step. I let my heels dry in the position you see, but slightly resting against opposite sides of a box.
5) With the Chrome spray paint, give each heel a light coat. You can handle the boots by the uppers, so you can make sure you painted the whole heel. I got Chrome paint on my hands while doing this, but it mostly washed off. It will ruin your nail polish, so wear gloves if you need to. Wait for it to completely dry, and give it another coat. I let my heels dry in the position you see, but slightly resting against opposite sides of a box.
Moving on to the more exciting part, adding glitter! We're back to the Green Numbered steps. We're heading back inside for the remaining steps of this tutorial. Make sure you prep your work space with lots of newspaper.
[OPTIONAL] If you plan on covering your heels with glitter, you want to lightly sand the heels. Wipe off the sanding dust with a damp cloth, and dry them off with a dry cloth. This is if the heels aren't the same material as the uppers (ie: the uppers are faux leather and the heels are wood or plastic). If they are the same (ie: both faux leather), you don't need to sand them.
6) Put a large piece of wax paper over your newsprint covered work surface. You can reuse the wax paper again for a different painting project. With your grey acrylic paint already mixed with the fabric medium, and your paint brushes, carefully paint the uppers. You want this coat of paint to be light and even. If you are using a different colored glitter, then your paint color needs to closely match the glitter color. Let this fully dry. Acrylic paint drys quickly! Wash your brush and let it dry. You're going to need the brush again.
7) Fold up your wax paper and put it back with your craft supplies. You can use it again the next time you have a small painting project. If you are using a folder to catch your glitter, put this down. Otherwise, use a thick (or layered) sales paper. You will have a lot of glitter fallout, and there is no reason to waste it. You'll pour the excess glitter back into the jar of glitter after you're done with each large section. It's pretty easy to do. You'll use that paper crease to your advantage by bringing the sides together, to shake the loose glitter towards the fold. Do this slowly and tap the sides lightly. Tip the paper and pour the glitter back into the jar. Remember this part for the remaining glittery steps...and for future glittery projects.
8) Lay your boot down on one side (if you have flats, just put the sole flat on the paper) onto the file folder or sale paper. Open your Mod Podge jar. Open the glitter jar. I don't mind if I get glitter in my bottle of Mod Podge, but if you do, you can pour a little in a disposable bowl or plate. With your larger brush, dip it into the Mod Podge. Brush the Mod Podge evenly on a section of the main part of the upper, not the lacing area. The white shiny section you see is as big as I did at once. Don't worry that it's white, just like many other glues, this one dries clear.
9) Quickly after painting the Mod Podge onto the boot upper, scoop up a little glitter with your spoon. Sprinkle the glitter gently onto the glue section. You will have some excess. This is normal. After you have applied the glitter to the glue section, pick your boot up and tap it on the paper below it. Sit it aside and pour the excess glitter back into the jar, like I described above.
10) Keep doing Steps 8 and 9 until all of the boot, except the lacing area is covered in glitter. You want to overlap the next glue application on top of the edge of the previous section. This is where you might get glitter in your Mod Podge, since the edges can have some loose glitter. If you are doing the heels, the same steps apply. I did one side at a time, allowing each side to dry completely before proceeding to the other side. After the sides were done, I finished up the toe sections and the tongue. This process takes several hours. I actually did this across several days, since I wanted each side to be completely dry before moving on.
11) After the glitter is all dry on the bottom layer of Mod Podge, take that same large brush dip it back into the jar of Mod Podge and apply an even coat all over the glittered boot. This is messy and will seal the glitter to the boot. You can leave the boots standing up for this part, if you want to do the whole shoe at once. I did the sides, back, and part of the toe area with glitter and then sealed it. Then, I moved onto the remaining part of the toe, and the tongue. I don't think there is a "best way" to do this. Like I said before, I spread the project out over several days. This was just a time management and priority thing.
12) After that top coat is all sealed, check for any places missing glitter (other than the lacing area). Use the smaller brush to paint a coat of Mod Podge over those sections and sprinkle some chunky glitter on them. Seal them like you did before, when they are dry. It won't hurt the boots to give the whole boot another full layer of Mod Podge top coat. The gloss finish makes the glitter extra shiny.
13) Put the file folder or sales paper under the boots. With the angled brush, paint on Mod Podge onto the lacing area. Sprinkle some fine glitter with the spoon onto that section. Tap off the excess glitter onto the paper the same way you have with the chunky glitter. Pour the excess fine glitter back into it's jar. I chose to use the fine glitter here, because the lacing section gets the most friction. I think the chunky glitter would be more noticeable if it flaked off around the lacing area, than the fine glitter.
14) After the fine glitter has dried, use the smaller brush to paint on a layer of Mod Podge on top of the fine glitter to seal it onto the boots. You are done with the glitter step...though you will never get rid of the escapee glitter...NEVER! If you didn't love glitter, you wouldn't do this craft anyway!
15) You have a few options with the laces. You can paint them grey with that same grey paint. You can paint them silver by using silver paint with the fabric medium mixed in. Or, you can use lace trim, other laces, rat tail cording, ribbon, real or faux leather cord, chain, braided trim, thin tubing (check the jewelry making section)...etc. I showed these with the beige cords in them, but I plan on using silver ribbon to lace them up!
[OPTIONAL] Cover the lift of the shoe (the section of the sole that goes up to create the angle of the shoe towards the heel) with Mod Podge and fine glitter. Or, spray them with plastic primer, followed by Chrome paint. If you want to do the Chrome paint, then do this before you add the paint to the uppers in Step 6. Tape off the boot like I described in Step 3 for the Chrome heels, but only the lift area will be uncovered. Making the lift sparkly adds to the overall glittery effect of the shoes. The soles of my boots are rubber, so you will want to rough up the lift with a little sand paper before adding any decoration to it!
I recommend storing these in a shoe box, to protect them when you aren't wearing them. If you have any glitter come loose in noticeable areas, use step 12 to patch up the spots.
Have fun with them! If you do recreate these, please email me an image and I'll share them on my Facebook page, and on a blog post! firstname.lastname@example.org
OTHER DECORATIVE OPTIONS:
- Instead of glitter, use metallic confetti! A large bag goes a long way. You can find this around New Year's Eve or online
- A glittery alternative to confetti is that sparkly faux snow. Not the fabric or the spray, but the kind you can sprinkle on things. You should be able to find this around the Winter holidays, or online
- Use colored sand! It's a similar consistency to glitter and should adhere fine. You might want to use a Matte Mod Podge instead of the glossy if you want to keep the flat color of the sand. However, you can use the gloss too
- Use tiny seed beads. This would be neat for a huichol art inspired design
- Use your imagination...
I plan on wearing my silver boots for League of Space Pirates costumes, as Chroma. The word "chroma" basically means "a quality of color combining hue and saturation". My outfits don't normally have much if any chroma, but they do have a lot of sparkle...or chrome. Our color palette for the band is red, silver, grey, black, and white. I love wearing red makeup, because it's unexpected. The outfit below is a play on a few costume ideas I had. I already have the corset, several large statement necklaces fit for a Space Pirate, a similar fascinator that I did make, the gun, a similar skirt, and similar gloves. I plan on making or buying a bustle similar to the one I altered below, and making a weapons holster. You can wear the boots with a non-costume outfit. I probably will! They are too divine not to try them with other things!