DIY: Gatsby Heels

A few months ago I wrote this post on my love for Carey Mulligan’s Gatsby-inspired Vogue spread last year. I decided to recreate the blush pink shoes she is wearing in one of the photos, and the process was actually really fun, although time consuming. Today I wanted to share with you all some pictures of the process along with details.

I have to preface this by saying I really didn’t know what I was doing until I started, and it just happened to work out! So if any of you want to try DIY projects but aren’t really 100% sure you know what to do, just try! The worst thing that can happen is a messed-up shoe and maybe some gluey fingers.

What I wanted:

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So, I started with black and white heels from Alibaba, that kind of cheap online store with shoes that tend to smell funny:

IMG_4872 IMG_5004And I bought two kinds of metallic paint (same finish is important), lots of jewels and beads, paintbrushes, E-6000 glue, and high gloss finishing spray. I also borrowed a box cutter (very sharp!) and laid down some old rags to work on. J5184x3456-82031J5184x3456-82041J5184x3456-82044J5184x3456-82053J5184x3456-82066J5184x3456-82096-2As you can see from these pictures, first I stenciled out the cut-outs that appear on the original heel. Then, because I got nervous, I switched over to painting the black heel the same off-white as the shoe upper. I used a Martha Stewart acrylic paint with a satin finish and it came out so well! See more…

After painting the heel and stenciling the design, I carefully used to box cutter to slice into the shoe. I did this in a quick, strong swipe to make the cut smooth. It’s dangerous, so be careful! I put a pincushion inside the shoe to absorb the blade on the other side.

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Then it was time to paint the shoe. I used a combination of copper metallic paint and silver metallic paint to achieve a blush pink tone. I painted two coats of the mixture on the toe and then swiped a bit of the paint on the rim of the shoe to cover all the black. I also dabbed a little of the pink paint on the inside of the cuts I made, to match the original shoe.

After came the fun, but very meticulous, bedazzling of the heel. This challenged my patience but it was also really satisfying in a way!

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I used a tweezer to dip the rhinestone into a pool of glue and then stuck it on the heel–about 200 times (this took a couple weeks. My stubborn personality was a major factor in the success of this project). I bought bigger stones for the top of the heel and also put some pearls in there for good measure.   J5184x3456-82033Finally, they were finished and dried. I sprayed a light coat of high shine spray on the cap toe and it came out dazzling. The E-6000 glue is supposed to hold up to anything, but just in case, I’ve saved a few stones to replace should any go missing!

The inspiration:

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The finished project:

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Hope you enjoyed! See my other shoe DIYs by clicking the tab above or going here.

 

 

DIY: Flapper Shoes

A few months ago, I got it into my head that I wanted a flapper birthday. Or, more specifically, a Gatsby-esque birthday, complete with cloches, bottomless champagne, and an attentive Leonardo DiCaprio. I told my sister my great idea, telling her that everyone can wear cute hairbands and glittery skirts with fringe and bob their hair (extreme, but still) and she says, “Um, isn’t that a little weird? Like, for all of us to go out dressed like flappers like it’s Halloween?”

And so, with her judgmental reaction, my dreams were crushed. But it had gotten me thinking about the outfit I wanted to wear on my birthday, and the shoes. In the Twenties, and even until the Forties, designer shoes were custom-made, and the heels were specially ordered by style. These heels were made from celluloid to create a marbled look and came in all colors, jewel-tone and pastel alike. Oh, and they were also bedazzled to the extreme. The amount of detail on these heels are so phenomenal that particular ones are featured in fashion-related museum exhibitions and carefully preserved.

I wanted them.

Here are some examples:

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So I collected all these pictures and prepared to make my very own flapper-inspired shoes. (Seriously, I need an intervention.)

I started with the heel:

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I found these for $25 at my local Easy Pickins (Modcloth had them for $40 + shipping!) and then I ordered two sample-size swatches of fabric from a fabric website. They were 3 x 5″ swatches, which was the perfect size for the back of the shoe.

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Then, I ordered a beaded appliqué piece from Etsy that I tore apart to reveal only the jeweled parts, along with some blue rhinestones from a craft store. I also picked up white paint.

Photo Oct 01, 5 54 28 PM Photo Oct 01, 1 15 18 AM (1)I started by making patterns of the back of the shoe with muslin, then cutting out the correct size fabric:

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Glued it on with simple fabric glue.

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Lovely! Now the heel…

I used white paint with a little shimmer in it to duplicate that shiny, celluloid effect. It’s not perfect, but I like the way it came out:

Photo Oct 02, 2 30 04 PM Photo Oct 02, 3 33 44 PMI put two coats and then cleaned up any “coloring outside the lines” with a toothpick. Then it was time to bedazzle!

Photo Oct 02, 11 23 08 PMI glued the appliqué on the heel with E-5000 glue, the strongest thing known to man. I also used it to attach little blue rhinestones to the outline of the heel, shown below!

Photo Oct 03, 1 05 09 AM (2)Here they are! My very own bespoke Twenties-inspired heels.