DIY Wedding Shoes

As you walk down the aisle, all eyes will be on you from your head to your feet. And speaking of your feet, what will they be wearing? If you want to make a grand entrance, there’s nothing like a fabulous pair of shoes.

Unlike the flower arrangements, the fondue fountain, or the DJ’s tie (sorry, bridezillas), wedding shoes actually need to be perfect. Wearing uncomfortable footwear can ruin your enjoyment of your wedding and give you a pained smile in every photo. You don’t want to mentally complete “I do!” with, “…wish I could kick these things off finally.”

When you find a great pair of wedding shoes, you just know. They’re comfortable to wear and they make you feel like a million bucks. But what happens if they’re the wrong color? Or they’re too plain? Or you just want to add some personality of your own? Luckily, it’s fairly easy to take your wedding shoes from “almost there” to perfect.

Hard Glitter

Add a spectacular sparkle by imbuing your wedding shoes with glitter. This is no “arts and crafts day” project; rather than leaving a single speck of glitter on the aisle, the sparkles will be entirely fused to your shoe. No one will be able to tell that the shoes weren’t made that way.

How much glitter? That’s your choice. You can glitter the entire shoe, or tape off some preferred areas. Consider a glitter stripe down the heel, accents on the toes, or even a stencil along the side.

First, find a clear, strong glue (Mod Podge works well) and the glitter of your choice at any art supply or craft store. A super-fine glitter will look like the sparkles are coming from deep inside the shoe, whereas a coarser glitter will add texture and cast disco ball reflections as you walk.

You can choose several glitter colors if you want to paint a gradient from the front of the shoe to the back, but keep in mind that the more complex the project you’re attempting, the more important it is to try it on a spare pair of shoes first.

Carefully tape off any sections of the shoe that you don’t want covered in glitter. (This includes the inside of the shoe.) For hard-to-tape curves, you can also press in a layer of putty to shield the shoe from glitter spills. Make sure the putty is non-greasy and a neutral color so it doesn’t leave residue on the inside of your shoe.

Before you start painting, score the surface you’ll be glittering with sandpaper or another abrasive material. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, it helps to crosshatch slight cuts in the surface of the shoe with a very sharp knife–just be careful you don’t cut through the shoe.

Mix the glitter with the glue, stir thoroughly, and paint it onto the shoe with a small, firm paintbrush. Use several coats, making sure the previous one is completely dry before starting on the next.

Add as many coats as you like until the shoes are shinier and more magical than Dorothy’s ruby slippers. If any glitter comes off on your hands after the shoes are dry, add one additional coat of clear glue on top.

Good for the Sole

Shoe soles are the perfect place to add a little jazz to your wedding ensemble. Perfectly straddling the line between subtle and sassy, flashy soles tell the world that this bride isn’t afraid to show some spirit. Whether you’re looking for a way to add “something blue” or you just aren’t satisfied with plain white pumps, fancy soles are a good place to start.

You can paint your soles with glitter and glue (see “Hard Glitter” above). If you’re feeling artistic, you can even paint your own designs onto the soles with acrylic artist’s paint before covering them with Mod Podge or clear glue. This is a great place to add your initials (or a romantic quote, if you have a small enough paintbrush and a steady enough hand) in a place that won’t compete with the rest of your look.

While it’s possible to find premade shoe sole covers in stores, if you buy them you will still need to apply the covers to your shoes carefully and cut around the edges with a sharp knife. As long as you’ll need such precision and creativity anyway, you may as well take matters into your own hands (and feet!) and pick the exact pattern you like.

You can expand your sole-cover selection to encompass the wide range of colors, textures, and patterns offered by… contact paper! Yes, the same material you’d buy to line your shelves and drawers can also be turned into a striking addition to your bridal footwear. Simply apply the sticky side to the bottom of your shoe (pressing firmly into the middle of the sole first, with ever-widening strokes, to avoid trapping air bubbles) and cut away the excess with a sharp knife. If you want a shiny look, cover the end result with a layer of glossy epoxy.

Go On, Get Attached

Forget diamonds; a hot glue gun is a girl’s best friend. Of course, once you have the glue, you can have the diamonds too. Take your cue from Paul Simon and throw a few diamonds on the soles of your high-heeled shoes–or rhinestones, as the case may be. Be sure the heels are high enough to keep the sparkles off the ground. Whether you want to spell out something cute like, “I do!” or try something more complicated, like reproducing your fiancé’s and your zodiac constellations, there’s nothing like a shiny collection of gems to make the message sparkle.

Don’t forget, hot glue works wonders for attaching any embellishments you like. From bows and ruffles to beading and silk flowers, your shoes are a blank canvas. The tips of the toes and the spike of the heel are great places to start. Just remember that less is generally more. Pick one style of embellishment and leave it at that.

Leave Something for Later

Your wedding shoes are a perfect opportunity to create a memento that will last a lifetime. If you want to imbue your keepsake with the mood of your wedding day, leave your shoes plain and ask your wedding party to sign them after the ceremony. You can epoxy both shoes afterward, ensuring that the signatures never rub off or fade.

Whether you add enough rhinestones to dazzle your guests the moment you step into the sunshine, or you keep your decoration subtle, your footwear is a perfect opportunity to flaunt your style. Let your personality show with every step down the aisle.