SHOE MAKEOVERS: Covering with Fabric, Lace, and Paper

We all have shoes that could use a make over. For shoes that have damage, like scraps or color wear, covering them is a great way to revitalize them! For this segment of the Shoe Makeovers series, I'm sharing with you several great tutorials on how to cover your shoes with fabric, lace and paper. You can cover a portion, only the heels, or the whole shoe. That's up to use. Use the techniques and ideas you'll learn below to transform a pair of old shoes into something new and fantastic.


As a long time sewing lover, I have TONS of fabric. That might be literal...I have a serious fabric addiction. Because of this, I have a lot of scraps and old fabric just waiting to be use. Shoes are fairly small and are great for covering in fabric. You won't need much fabric to make a big difference for a pair of old shoes!

Love Maegan created Houndstooth Pumps. Since you are manipulating fabric around the shape of the shoe, you will need a lot of patience, and perhaps some extra fabric, just in cause it goes horribly wrong. She gives some great tips on getting the fabric smooth to the upper and heel. You can do this with any thin fabric, but houndstooth is a classic print! If you use a fabric with lines (stripe or plaid), try hard to match up the lines in the back. Otherwise, with a small print like this, or a more random one, you don't need to worry about the back seams matching up.

Ashley on Make It and Love It made Fabric covered flats. These are done very similar to the heels above. I just wanted to share a great flats tutorial. This one is probably easier for stripes and plaid...and general fabric manipulation.

Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky created Polka Dot Floral Wedges using circle stickers and paint for the uppers, and floral fabric for the heels. I love how this covers both the painting concept that I showed a few weeks ago, and the fabric concept I'm sharing today. Also, these are very adorable! The stickers make me think that you could cover shoes in stickers and seal them with a couple even layers of Mod Podge!


I'm a girlie girl...or um, lady. I LOVE LACE and any feminine fabrics. I don't care that someone people see lace as an old lady fabric. I think it's classic, elegant, and beautiful. If you aren't like me and don't feel comfortable in head to toe lace, then perhaps something just for your toes is better for you.

Corinne Leigh on Craftzine created these Doily Wedge Shoes. I've loved doilies since I was a little girl, seeing them along the backs of Victorian chairs and on wooden furniture at my great aunt's house. They are a big reason why I learned how to crochet. This technique of doily application is perfect for stiffer shoes like the ones Corinne used. However, for fabric shoes without a thick lining or no lining, you can attach the doilies with a few stitches. They would look great at just the toes, or heels, if you only wanted doily accents, vs. a fully covered shoe.

Style Haul shows us how to create Neon Lace Flats. I'm not big on the neon trend, but this shade of pink is rather nice. Also, if you dislike those nude shoes you bought while that trend was hot...cover them up with something lace. I wear flats more than heels since I stopped working in call center. I do wear heels occasionally for fun when I'm doing more than errands and meeting Alex at the bus stop. I'd love to dress up my old flats with something nicer like lace.

Jennet Chow shared her love of lace and showed several ways to Add Lace to Your Shoes. Sometimes just a little lace goes a long way on a pair of shoes. There are many ways to add lace accents, and also this takes less time. Instant gratification crafts are fantastic!

Singer Kerli shows us how she turned an old pair of boots from Shabby to Chic. If you like being over the top with lace (raises hand) then try making these super fancy boots. These use lace, appliques, tulle, and beading to transform an old pair of boots into something extremely fancy. These are very over the top and costumey, but that's not a bad thing. I wear a lot of costumes and love wearable art, so I would love to have these!


Crafts that require recycling can be very fun. These paper shoe makeover will make you look at the paper around you in a different way!

Anna Lidstrom covered a pair of heels in Floral Decoupage. The post is in Swedish, but I have Google Chrome which translates it automatically for me. If you don't have that, use Google Translate. Input Anna's text and translate it to what ever your preferred language is. Ok, after you've done that, you will see that she mentioned she used "bookmarks" as her floral paper. This might be lost in translation, or a cultural difference. Either way, this technique can be used with magazines, book pages, napkins, wrapping paper, or any type of decorative paper. Just make sure you seal it well! Mod Podge's outdoor formula would be perfect for this! It works with wood (which is paper is made of) and you'll wear your shoes outside some too, so the outdoor protection is needed.

Ironspy created Comic Book Heels using an old copy of Forbidden Planet. I recommend using comic books with nice glossy pages, vs the ones with thin paper. The glossy coating will help the image last and not degrade with the layers of Mod Podge. This is just my theory though, feel free to use the thinner paper. You will have some sheer image overlap. I think I'll use this concept to make awesome shoes for a League of Space Pirates costume.

While we're talking about neat paper ideas to cover your shoes with, Visual Muse-ic shared on Craftster the Concert Ticket Wedges she made. There is no tutorial for these, but you can use the same techniques for paper, to apply the concert tickets to your shoes. Use small scissors and light pencil marks to make the tickets fit nicely. Lay out your design on one side before adhering it. Make sure you sand the heels 1st before adding the Mod Podge and tickets. Finish off with another layer of Mod Podge. Do this for each side, letting the sides dry before moving on to the opposite sides.

What ever material you cover your shoes in, I hope you have fun doing it!


  1. Hiya can i ask what mod podge is best to use when applying paper to shoes? Iv been using gloss. Do you think i should go over them in outdoor mod podge to be on the safe side?

    1. Great question. Yes, seal the decoupaged shoes with a coat or two of Mod Podge Outdoor. It's supposed to be waterproof, but I don't recommend wearing those shoes in damp or wet weather, just in case.

  2. Thank you for the inspiring article! A pair of my dance shoes had been stepped on by a wayward heel and the leather on the toe was badly ripped. I Mod Podged a silk ranunculus (flower) and leaves to the toe of each shoe and smaller blossoms onto the ankle straps. The are getting all kinds of compliments! Wish I knew how to post a pic!

  3. Here's a photo of the fabulous results of my first try at Mod-Podging shoes:

  4. Hi there,
    I've made some amazing comic book held with Mod Podge but they rip and crack. Is there anything else I can use other than Mod Podge that won't crack and rip?

    1. Sorry, I don't have any additional adhesive suggestions for your project. Paper isn't typically used for footwear & isn't known to be durable for long term use.

    2. I do these and have had success sealing with yacht varnish...waterproof and stops cracks! X
      Yacht varnish is found in the diy range in Pound land in the UK too xx

  5. What kind of adhesive do you use to attach the fabric to the shoes? And the mod podge goes over top to seal them?

    1. Please follow the tutorial links for information on how to cover shoes with fabric.

  6. Can you do this with fabric over a faux suede? I have some boots I want to steampunk with plaid fabric. One has a stain on it anyway.

    1. I've never covered any pair of shoes, so I can't accurately answer any shoe covering questions. I have painted faux suede shoes. Tulip Soft Fabric Paint works well on most fabric and shoes.


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