DIY Shoe Alteration Ideas

Shoe art with sharpies. CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr.
Shoe art with sharpies. CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr. | Source

Why DIY Shoe Alterations?

When your favorite pair of shoes wears out or stops being current, what do you do? Throw them away? Donate them to Goodwill? Let them hide in the closet for years before you finally decide to do something about it?

You don’t have to do any of those things. Instead, give your old shoes new life by altering them. There are lots of easy, inexpensive ways to alter your shoes. You may even have the perfect alteration supplies laying around the house.

Add buttons to your shoes for a cute new look. CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.
Add buttons to your shoes for a cute new look. CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr. | Source

Common alteration supplies include:

  • Buttons
  • Clip on earrings / clip on brooches
  • Comic books / graphic novels
  • Fabric
  • Glitter
  • Lace
  • Magazines
  • Mod Podge
  • Nail Polish
  • Paint
  • Sharpie Markers

Common Alteration Themes

When it comes to altering shoes, the sky really is the limit, so think outside the shoebox and come up with a design that makes you smile.

Common shoe alteration themes include:

The Comic Book Shoe – Using Mod Podge or other adhesive, decoupage your favorite comic book onto your shoes.

The Doodle Shoe – Using sharpies, doodle all over your shoes. Draw stars, circles, and crazy shapes – whatever gets you going.

The Fabric Shoe – Similar to the comic book shoe, use Mod Podge or similar adhesive to decoupage fabric onto your shoes for a whole new look. This works great for hiding any obvious holes.

The Glitter Shoe – Mix glitter and Mod Podge, pain the mixture onto your shoe, then let it dry. There are some great glitter shoe tutorials listed below.

The Video Game Shoe – Do you have a favorite video game? Why not memorialize your love by using sharpies to draw the game’s characters on your shoe? This works especially well for canvas shoes.

And this is just the start of ways you can alter your shoes. Couple the supplies above with a healthy dose of creativity and a dash of inspiration and you’re sure to come up with some fantastic, unique ideas.

But if you still want a little help coming up with your own awesome DIY ideas, try one of the tutorials listed below. Just click on the blue link to access the tutorial.

DIY Shoes? Fun or Crazy?

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DIY Shoe Clips Tutorials

Back of Shoe Bow Clips

This tutorial by Made by Girl showcases a great way to add a little flare to otherwise fine, but boring shoes. Bows are made with a glue gun and bobby pins, making for a quick, easy project.

Fancy Ruffle Shoe Clips

Looking for a shoe clip that’s a little bit different? Try these fancy ruffle shoe clips. Still easy to make, the ruffles are made by folding lots of fabric circles and stitching them together.

Ric-Rac Rose Shoe Clips

These cute rose shoe clips are made by rolling up a long strip of ric-rac, adding some felt leaves, and hot gluing the whole thing to a clip. The color / fabric combination possibilities are endless.

We Heart Bow-tiful Shoes

A two-in-one tutorial for making heart or bow shoe clips. These clips are extremely easy to make, and are the perfect accessory for a Valentine’s dinner date.

Adding Fringe to Shoes

Not quite a shoe clip, this tutorial shows how to add fringe to the top of boots. However, this would probably look cute on a pair of laced shoes, depending on the style.

Decoupaged shoes. CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.
Decoupaged shoes. CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr. | Source

Mod Podge Tutorials

Mod Podge, a decoupaging glue, is a crafty person’s go to for sticking fabric, paper, glitter, or similar types of items to just about any object. You can use it on wood, plastic, fabric, metal, and more, which is what makes it a great go to item for DIY shoe alterations.

Here are some great tutorials that involve the use of Mod Podge.

Electric Blue Heels

This tutorial shows you how to dye a piece of fabric, and then use that fabric as an insole piece. Additionally, use the dyed fabric to create a bow on the toe of the shoe.

Floral Boots

Add cute accents to your boots with some lightweight fabric, some glue, Mod Podge, and an exacto knife. This technique could be used to cover unsightly blemishes on boots or shoes as well.

Glitter Flats with Trim

Transform a plane pair of flats into a glittery masterpiece with some glitter, Mod Podge, and bias tape.

Red Ruffle Flat

Complete transform a pair of shoes by decoupaging them with fabric, and sewing a cute ruffle around the toe. This tutorial will show you how.

Sand and Sea Shoes

Use stripped nautical fabric to create a cute bow that wraps around the toe of a pair of flats. This would be a great look for summer.

Create polka dots with paint for a whole new look. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.
Create polka dots with paint for a whole new look. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr. | Source

Painted Shoe Tutorials

If you want to give your shoes a completely new look, try recoloring them with paint. You can use craft paint, fabric paint, and even nail polish to completely change the look of your shoes.

Dip Dye Ombre Ballet Flats

Dip your shoes into RIT dye to achieve an ombre effect. Try mixing and matching various colors for a bright new look.

DIY Neon Shoes

While this tutorial is technically for children’s shoes, you could use this technique on any pair of shoes, big or small. Use painter’s tape to block off the toes, cover them in neon paint, and finish with a cute accent ribbon.

DIY Shoe Redo

This tutorial shows you how to completely change a pair of shoes, by painting them a different color, and changing the soles and inserts. Top off with a little flourish of pizazz and you have a cute new pair of shoes.

DIY Shoe Re-vamp

This quick and easy tutorial involves using craft paint to change the color of some accent trim, giving a whole new life to a pair of shoes.

Not Quite DIY Shoes

A super quick project for sprucing up a blah pair of shoes. Just take nail polish, and apply to some key accent areas to create a whole new look.

Tie Die Galaxy Shoe

Paint canvas shoes using a tie dye technique and white to make them look like a distant galaxy. Works great on canvas shoes. Try using darker colors for a deep space look.

Trendy Chevron Flats

If you have a pair of shoes that is dingy or discolored, and is in desperate need of changing, try this chevron flats tutorial. All you need is painter’s tape and a can of spray paint.

Embellished Dolce & Gabanna pumps. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.
Embellished Dolce & Gabanna pumps. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr. | Source
Bling your flip-flops with Swarovski crystals. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.
Bling your flip-flops with Swarovski crystals. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr. | Source

Other DIY Shoe Tutorials

DIY Miu Miu Jeweled Heels

Want to give new life to a pair of heels? This tutorial will show you how to add some sparkle to your step by applying crystals to the base of the heels.

DIY Patches for Well Loved Shoes

Does your favorite pair of shoes have a hold in them? Are the toes scuffed and worn? Then create patches for them, and they’ll be as good as new.

DIY Shoe Soles

Do you have a pair of slippers that are just so cute that you can’t bear to keep them hidden from the world? Then add a pair of cork soles, and wear those babies outside for all the world to see.

Make Your Own Sandals

You can make a cute pair of sandals with an old pair of flip flops and some fabric. Scroll down to the bottom of the tutorial for a list of variations.

Other DIY Shoe Ideas

If all those ideas and tutorials weren’t enough inspiration, here are a few other DIY shoe ideas that are sure to spark your imagination.

DIY Geek Shoes

These DIY shoes all have a geeky theme. There’s Star Wars shoes, Dr. Who shoes, Batman shoes and more. If you’re a geek, you’re going to want to have a peek at this.

DIY Shoes

This blog belongs to a teacher who often wears themed outfits. You should see some of the amazing shoes and costumes she creates. I love the crayon shoes. Which ones are your favorites?

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Comments 5 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Hi, Julie. I think this is a great idea and will benefit a great many people. It is a virtual certainty that most people throw shoes away when they think they are past their best but that is not necessarily so. Funnily enough, I go through shoes very quickly - because of my dog. He is a German Shepherd with a shoe fetish - no joke! He doesn't chew them, he paws at your feet while you are wearing them and his claws destroy the leather. He's well trained in all other respects but I've never been able to stop him with this trait. He does it to everyone but because he does it to me so many times a day, I go through shoes at an alarming rate. I must have a think about how I can regurgitate my dog shredded shoes :)


JulieStrier profile image

JulieStrier 3 years ago from Apopka, FL Author

Wow, I couldn't imagine going through shoes at that rate. The things we do for love, right? While I want to suggest leather patches, he'll probably tear those up quickly too. Have you tried steel tipped shoes? Good luck with your shoe problem.


CarlySullens profile image

CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

Wow, Julie this is wonderful. I love all these ideas. I want to recreate some of my shoes after reading this hub. Instead of throwing away shoes you no longer wear because they are out of date or no longer appealing, why not change them. You have nothing to lose. Voted up and shared.


JulieStrier profile image

JulieStrier 3 years ago from Apopka, FL Author

I agree Carly. If you're going to throw them out anyway, why not change them? Thanks for reading.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA

I have a couple of pairs that could be redone. Thanks for the ideas.

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