For this idea, the spiral scarf pattern had to wait a few more days. SHOES. I’ve always wanted to make shoes. Any shoes. The closest I’ve come are some knitted and felted Mary Janes. They’re nice, but they’re house shoes and that put them in the same category as socks. My fantasy has been to walk in town in my very own handmade shoes. It seemed so exciting and yet impossible at the same time.
Summer shoes are a challenge for me. I don’t own flip flops, because I can’t find anything to like about them except maybe their price tag. My toes hate to be separated by a rubber thingy and I’m neither a fan of the sound they make nor the name. How can anyone trust a shoe called a “flip flop”. Needless to say, you can’t run in them. Admitted there are some nice designs out there and some people can really pull them off, but the toe issue has forever prevented me from getting the “number one” summer shoe. That is until last week.
Why have I converted? Well, I haven’t, but I thought the soles were quite useful and maybe, just maybe I could figure a way to attach something somehow to make them into wearable footwear. When you look at the construction of shoes, the concept is quite simple. There’s the sole and an upper part glued to it. I don’t like glue that much in any of my work, but I understand its necessity in many applications. Shoes are one of them. And then I tried a few short cuts and used an existing flip flop sole (because every once in a while I try things) and……..IT WORKED. Look at this. You can make your own pair of summer sandals in no time. And you can be very creative in customizing – just what I like. And here’s how:
- flip flops (preferably used)
- piece of chalk or marker
- craft knife
- heavy duty waterproof glue
- recycled t-shirts
- screw driver
- flat butter knife or thin plastic ruler to stuff fabric into the soles. (Not shown)
- clamps (or heavy books)
Cut the rubber bits at the point where they come through the sole. Leave just the “plug” between your toes in place (the one that hold the foot down. Glue that in place) Remove the other two in the rear.
These holes will be used for the ties around your ankles.
Take a long strip (2in wide and long enough to wrap around you ankle) and knot one end. Thread it through the hole with a screwdriver and glue in place. The knot will nestle nicely into the hole from the plug you’ve removed, so you’re not walking on it.
Make 2 horizontal slits on each side of the the foam sole of your flip flop.
Cut 2 strips of t-shirts 3″ wide and approx. 8″ long. You will need to experiment a bit. Every foot is different and the t-shirt material has a different stretch.
Stuff the strips into the incision you’ve made crossing them over the foot. I used a protractor because that was the only thing I could find in my creative frenzy.
When you are happy with the look, glue the strips in place, following the direction for the glue you are using. Be sure to use a waterproof glue.
Clamp together and wait an hour or two, until the glue is really dry. You’ve done it.
There are a million variations on this theme:
Instead of 2 incisions at each side, you can also make a longer incision and squeeze a wider strip into the gap. Or squeeze 1 separate strip into each gap and tie them into a bow across your foot.
You could decorate the shoe. Flowers, buttons, brooches.
Use different colors for the two strips, maybe really bold primary ones.
My idea was to make many pairs to show different ideas, but I got so excited and wanted to share this before everyone runs off to the beach for the month of August (well, at least the French do) and I trust that you are perfectly able to experiment yourselves. I’m already thinking of some fun winter shoes.
What is not very cool is that flip flops are not environmental friendly. They’re made from petroleum and travel all the way from China to be sold for USD2.99. That sounds awfully wrong, doesn’t it?
I wonder if yoga mats will work as well? They would have even more fun colors…….maybe they could be stacked, to make plateau shoes. That’ll give my 5’3″ some boost…So I don’t have to stand on my tip toes like Nicolas Sarkozy.
If you make these sandals, will you please show me some of your ideas and results?