Shoe Lacing Project

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My girls wear Crocs, flip flops, boots, and random slip on shoes year round. Truth be told they do not own a pair of traditional sneakers. This dawned on me the other day and I then realized that I had skipped over one childhood right of passage in the conquering of shoe lace tying! My eldest daughter Keeley is 7yrs old and she still doesn’t know how to tie a shoe. Shame on me. I’ll bet my shame is not solely mine though which is exactly why I want to share this fun craft with everyone. The following are rough directions for paper shoe’s with ribbon laces.

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To start this project I studied a diagram of a shoe online and hand drew my own version. I made a fold down the center of my paper and cut half of my drawing around to ensure that the shoe would be even on both sides. I then traced my detailed sections like the toe cover and the side stripe to cut out separately and use as templates.

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Once the templates were all cut and ready, I rounded out small pieces of scotch tape and attached them to the back of each template. Then came the most fun part, I chose combinations of scrapbook paper to cut out for each section of the shoes. This probably took way more time than it needed to, but for those of you out there who scrapbook, you will understand when I say this activity can be very cathartic! Once I had made my choices, I got to cutting and grouping my shoe pieces together. I also chose to cut out an extra shoe base with heavy card stock to strengthen each of my shoes. Cardboard would be an even sturdier choice for this if you prefer.

My next step was to assemble my shoes. This step was incredibly fun too, because it’s the first time I saw my creations come together. Since I intended to decoupage the entire shoe, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time tacking down each piece with a glue runner. There were inconsistencies and imperfections once the shoes were assembled. Some of my pieces were hanging over the shoe. To fix this problem I simply cut around the perimeter to even everything out again.

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Once I was satisfied with my shoes, it was time to decoupage. I did have some modpage on hand, but it’s a fairly expensive product and I didn’t want to waste it. Modpage is better than homemade recipes for those projects that include photos because elmers glue will yellow over time. For this particular project however I wasn’t overly concerned with that.  So I choice to follow a recipe that combines one part elmers glue with one part water. I combined each of these in a mason jar and shook vigorously. That’s all there was to it. I placed each of my shoes on a piece of wax paper and applied the glue all over with a sponge brush. I noticed right away that some of the thinner scrap pages I chose for my shoes started to bubble up. For that reason I would suggest using heavier card stock-weighted pages for your shoes. Live and learn I suppose. After each shoe was glued I allowed it to dry on a baker’s rack overnight.

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After the shoes were dried completely, my final step was to lace them! But of course this requires holes. I measured out where I wanted the holes on my template first and used a hole punch on my marks. Then I placed my template out over each finished shoe and traced these holes with a pencil. Afterward I carefully punched those out and followed up with a careful eye and an eraser to make sure none of my pencil marks were left behind. Last but not least I made my ribbon choices and measured out how much I would need for each shoe (I would suggest being very generous with your cuts because you can always trim a longer piece down, but you cannot add more to a short piece). I laced the ribbon through each shoe and stood back to sigh happily at my work. I could hardly wait to show my girls!

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My first born Keeley is 7 and quite the little artist. I thought she would take to her tying right away, but instead she became frustrated when she could not get her bow perfect the first time and a crying fest took over. I should have known she would be hard on herself.

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My second born Bree is 5 and I expected her to struggle and even be disinterested because of her young age, but surprisingly she had a great attitude and wanted to tie her bow over and again. Of course I had to help her each time and she never was able to tie one solo, but that’s the beauty of these shoes, I will always have them for her to practice and improve with!

All in all this was a load of fun and I think time well spent. Now my girls can proudly complete the shoe lacing right of passage 🙂

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