After the recent death of my cheap, $20 pair of knock-off wingtips (rest in peace), I decided to take matters into my own hands. Though I’m saving up for a pair whose soles won’t literally snap in half, my wingtips were a staple of my style, and one of the few pairs of flats that I actually enjoyed wearing. I decided to make my own.
I inherited these hand-me-down red flats from a friend upstate, and though I like feeling like Dorothy, there’s not much room for red shoes in my wardrobe. Thus, my newest DIY project was born!
This project is simple, though time-consuming, thus it’s great for a lazy spring break day. Furthermore, all the supplies (save for the ballet flats and glitter) can be bought at SLC’s bookstore, thus saving you a run to Bronxville or Yonkers to pick up anything. As an added bonus, the basic steps of this project can lead you to creating your own DIY shoe-revamp. So get your supplies, get creative, and let’s get started!
What you’ll need:
· A pair of old ballet flats, heels, etc—just make sure the shoe’s material is either canvas or vinyl
· A set of cheap paint brushes—one large, one medium-ish, and a small, fine-tipped one for detail
· Acrylic paint in black and white (I differentiated here; the white paint I used was actually screen-printing acrylic, which is tackier in texture and primed the shoes well. If you have the money or the stipend to buy different types of paint, I would recommend it)
· Rubber cement
· A tube of silver glitter (children’s aisle at CVS)
· Clear varnish
· An old towel to paint on
· Two pens: one to write with, and one you don’t mind destroying
· Optional: cleaning cloth, brush cleaning compound
Make sure there’s no loose dirt or debris on your shoes. Clean with a wet cloth if necessary, and dry thoroughly. Once the shoes are ready (I had to cut off the tiny bow at the top of mine), set them on your old towel, tie your hair back if it’s going to get in the way, and take your large brush. Using the white acrylic, paint the entire shoe.
Wait for the paint to dry (I would suggest watching an episode of Scrubs). When you can touch the shoes without paint sticking to your fingers, assess whether or not you need a second coat. Since my shoes were fairly dark red and there was still a pink tint to them, I decided to go ahead. Repeat this process as many times as needed.
After the paint is dry once more, find a picture or an actual wingtip shoe for reference. This is the only surviving member of my former pair of wingtips, pictured here missing her brother dearly.
Using the reference, take your writing pen and draw the outline of the wingtip on the toe of the shoe. My shoes had annoying bunching that I had to work around, but if you’re using a standard pair of ballet flats, you should be fine.
Taking the medium sized brush and following your outline, fill in the wingtip with your black paint. Allow to dry.
Step 6 (optional):
On my old pair of wingtips, there were small triangles along the edges, detailing the black. So, with the small detail brush, draw tiny black triangles around the edge of the black.
Repeat this process with the back of the shoe—outline with a pen, fill in with black, and detail with tiny triangles. Allow to dry.
Taking the pen you don’t mind destroying, dip the tip into the white acrylic and place dots along the inner edge of the wingtip to create the standard ‘rivet’ effect. Try and make them uniform and follow the curve of the wingtip. Allow to dry.
NOTE: If you don’t wish to glitter your shoes, this is your end step! All you have to do after the shoes dry is to coat them with clear varnish, following the instructions on the bottle, and allow them to set overnight. You now have a pair of plain, classy wingtips.
However, for those of you who love glitter as much as I do, tally forth!
After the paint has dried on the shoes, take rubber cement and brush it on a small area of the white part of the shoe. Working over a sheet of paper or the same towel, shake the silver glitter onto the area, coating evenly. Knock off any excess onto the paper/towel, and wait for the area to dry a few minutes.
Repeat until the entire white area of the shoe has been covered in glitter.
Once the shoes have all their glitter, follow the instructions on the clear varnish bottle and coat the shoes evenly several times. (It’s best if you do this outside; otherwise your dorm will reek!) Allow them to set overnight. You’re done!
My new faux glitter wingtips are pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself. They took a lot of time and a lot of my patience, but until I can buy a fancier pair, they give me something to jazz up my wardrobe (and something to be proud of).
Here’s to being classy (yet sparkly),
Photography by: Cecily Lane