DIY: Mod Podge Shoes

I have made an embarrassing number of purchases with the intention of customizing/ decorating whatever it may be.  While some get decorated right away, the majority kind of sit around until the last possible minute and I generally end up doing it all in the middle of the night (ironically like pretty much every school assignment I’ve ever had). A good example of this is my Archie Comics suitcase I posted about last year!

Today was my university graduation. Even though dresses are one of my guilty pleasure purchases, I’m a sucker for shoes. When it comes to grad ceremonies, the dress (or whatever outfit one decides to wear) becomes secondary to the shoes since that’s all that will be showing once the gown/ regalia goes on. Plus what’s the fun of walking across a stage if you don’t have a paralyzing fear of falling flat on your face because of your fancy shoes? It’s part of the experience.

I decided quite awhile ago that I wouldn’t go out to buy a new dress and would instead wear one of the many that hang in my closet. But because of that, I felt I could justify new shoes.

When I was going through my closet yesterday and trying on dresses I decided to go with a navy blue one. The shoes I had my eye on were the Steve Madden ‘Stecy’ in black, but with my new dress choice I didn’t feel it would match. Plus I didn’t really want to hand over $70+ for another pair of black heels when I already have three that I rarely wear.

The first pair of “big girl” heels I got were from Target in the states about ten years ago. They weren’t the nicest but they were cheap-ish and relatively comfortable.

And I bought them with the intention of decorating them.

So, naturally, at the last minute I decided that instead of adding another pair of Steve Maddens to my closet I would upcycle the pair I already had and hardly ever wore.

(Plus they’re closed toe and thus would hide the laughable amount of foot injuries I’ve sustained over the last couple months.)

At first I decided to do Archie Comics, using the leftovers from when I did my suitcase. When scrolling through Pinterest I then saw these:

Since I am graduating with a major in English and a minor in Publishing, what else could be more fitting? Total Cinderella moment.

So insted of buying those Steve Madden shoes I went to Value Village and bought a $2 copy of Romeo and Juliet. I have a soft spot for Shakespeare, my goal of 2017 being to read his complete works! Romeo and Juliet is the play I have studied the most and finding a Folgers copy was perfect since that is the version I like best! (I also have my nice collegiate Oxford copy but couldn’t bring myself to slice and dice that guy).

Since shoes are a lot less surface area than a suitcase (although definitely more difficult!) I started cutting out every line (or couple of lines if it was a good dialogue exchange). By Act I scene 2 I realized I would have way too many even before getting to the good stuff! To remedy this I took out the last page of every scene (minus the ones that were less than two pages long) and proceeded with those.

I then went through the remainder of the play and cut out quotes that I particularly like (or had to do so many close readings of that I feel like I should like them). I sorted all the cutouts into super long lines/ soliloquies, my favourites, and then just everything else. This process reminded me SO much of doing my quote boards!

Then to the Mod Podge! I have such a love/ hate relationship with this stuff but I will use it ’til the end of my days.

I went in first with a layer of the lines that I had no particular attachment to as they’d get covered in the different layers.  

When the shoes were entirely covered, I went through my pile of favourites and sorted them evenly so each shoe would have the same amount (totally not a necessary step but I am who I am). I wanted the prologue to be on one shoe with the Prince’s last line (“For never was a story of more woe/ than this of Juliet and her Romeo”) on the other, but in the same spot. Similarly I wanted the respective death lines of Romeo and Juliet to be mirrored as well. I also put the exchange between Benvolio and  Mercutio (“By my head, here come the Capulets”/ “By my heel, I care not”) exchange on… you guessed it, my heel. To oppose that on the other shoe I used Tybalt’s line, “I hate the word/ as I hate hell/ all Montagues/ and thee”. Which is probably my favourite line in the whole play because it’s just SO extra. Using the word extra when referring to Shakespeare seems wrong… but at the same time I think ol’ Billy S would approve.

I had originally thought of putting the title somewhere and my mom said I should put ‘Romeo’ on one shoe and ‘Juliet’ on the other. I decided against it because I didn’t want any specific words to be the focus. After everything had been stuck on, I went over the shoes with a sealing coat. Side note: this totally felt like an old school paper mâché project with newspaper.

After that was dry, I used an x-acto knife to cut the overhanging layers and corners so that the sole was not covered and nothing was sticking up/out. This was basically to clean them up a little bit. It took a really long time and was quite difficult (especially when you’re not a fan of x-acto knives) so this could be avoided by being conscious of where you put each piece of paper so that nothing crosses the threshold, but that is A LOT easier said than done when dealing with Mod Podge and thin paper.

When I finished (at 2:30 am haha) I put a final sealing coat on and let them dry overnight… or, well, for the three and a half hours ’til I had to get up.

I’m really happy with how they turned out! I think it just was such a perfect fit (so many Cinderella references, so little time) and made my ceremony a bit more special and memorable. Pro tip: not a great idea to wear these in the rain. I’m going to have to find some other kind of waterproof sealant but they held up except for a couple tears! Either way, they looked good and I got quite a few compliments!

I also posted about this on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook if you would like to like/ share/ leave comments there! Thanks so much! 😀

Thank you for reading this post! I’d love to hear what you think! Until next time… parting is such sweet sorrow!


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