October 14, 2009
As the white linen oxfords I got deeply discounted a few weeks back were slowly collecting stains and scuffs, they were rapidly becoming a little too bland for my taste. Seeing as I purchased them with the intention of possibly customizing them in the future, I decided that now is the time to turn them into induct them into my small family of mutant DIY footwear.
I was somewhat inspired by this pair of suede and pearlized metallic leather Lanvin lace-ups, but I wanted a bolder contrast than just white suede and pearlized lavender leather. After a while of brainstorming, consultations with friends, and a long chat with the lovely lady at the arts supplies store, I decided on what to do: I would make cap-toes out of copper glitter. I think copper is highly underrated. The underdog of the metallics, copper is warmer than cold chrome silver and less garish than gold.
You can adapt this procedure to create cap-toes out of beads, confetti, perhaps even feathers, human hair, or macaroni, knock yourself out. Here’s what you’ll need:
paintbrush, glitter, water-based glue, paper plates, measuring tape, masking tape, pencil
and here’s what I did:
I marked off where I want the cap toe to end, taking the exact measure so I can evenly replicate it on the other shoe. (A good cap toe would go roughly half way between the tip of the shoe and the end of the flap on which the shoelace holes are punched, slightly closer to the flap than to the tip.)
I then taped off the area to be graced with glitter, making sure to cover the soles too. I painted the glue on thinly and evenly, waited a few moments for it to dry partially, and started showering it with glitter.
The first sprinkling of glitter was dazzling, hundreds of tiny mirrors were beaming variedly with the slightest twitch of the wrist. It helps to hold a paper plate under to catch the excess glitter, which you could then sprinkle on to the shoe in the following coats.
I allowed the glue to dry completely after each coat. Use a hair dryer if you’re as impatient as I am.
I did three coats of glue and glitter to eliminate bald spots, and then finished it off with a light sealant (roughly two parts glue one part water) to keep the glitter from shedding.
I was so tempted to keep the glitter in this freeform flame-like shape, with the masking tape as an absurd contrast trim. But I stuck with the idea of the rigidly defined cap-toe to retain some semblance of masculinity in an otherwise theatrical pair of shoes.
Freshly un-taped, here’s a sneak preview of my twinkle toes.
Though I still haven’t figured out the social situation where the wearing of these shoes would be deemed appropriate, I quite like what came out of this project. The copper glitter makes for an unexpected, warm contrast to the plain white fabric, and I think the cap toes were sized perfectly proportional to the rest of the shoe.
Here they are worn, in a silly attempt to recreate the feel of Tommy Ton‘s shoe pornography shots.