- Arts and Design
How To Make Duct Tape Sandals
Have you ever wanted to make your own shoes? Do you have trouble finding sandals that look just right? Are your feet a difficult size to shop for?
Here is a simple, inexpensive way to make your own custom sandals. This is all you need to get started:
*brown paper for tracing your feet
*a roll of duct tape
*2 (or 4) lengths of ribbon. Cut them about 55'' each for your first time. You can experiment with different lengths later.
*clear nail polish (optional, but recommended)
Step 1: Trace Your Feet
I find brown craft paper (also known as the inside of a paper bag) to make a good durable tracing of your feet. If you don't ever plan to use it again you can just use regular white paper. If you want to reuse the tracing for dozens and dozens of duct tape sandals because you just can't get enough of them, you might want to use cloth or cardboard. In that case, you might also want to get your friends hooked on duct tape sandals, so they don't have you committed to an insane asylum. (Yes, duct tape really is this addictive.)
Stand up while you're tracing your feet, because your feet spread out a little bit when you put weight on them. If it sounds difficult to bend over and trace your own feet while you're standing up, that's because it is. :-) It's not all that bad, though, especially once you get the hang of it. If you can get someone else to trace your feet, all the better.
Once your feet are traced mark which one is the right foot and which is the left. (No, no, don't mark your feet, just the tracings.) Cut them out and proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Make the Soles
Cut strips of duct tape a little longer than the tracing of your foot. (I need six strips for each of my feet.) Take half the strips and overlap them slightly to make a sheet of duct tape which is sticky on one side. Take the other half and lay them, sticky sides in, on top of the first sheet. You should end up with a sheet of duct tape that is smooth and shiny on both sides. Remember this is going to be the sole of your sandal, so try to avoid wrinkles and air bubbles that might be uncomfortable later.
Step 3: Arrange the Ribbons
Wrap the ribbons around your foot until you find a criss-cross pattern you like. To use the one shown here, put the mid-point of the ribbon under the ball of your foot. Cross the ends over the top of your foot, and again underneath the arch.
To wear, you will cross the ribbons again on top and tie them behind your ankle. For a different look, or a more secure sandal, add another ribbon (see below).
Step 4 (Optional): Add a Second Ribbon
After wrapping the first ribbon, put the mid-point of the second ribbon under big toe. Cross over two of your toes, underneath your foot, and between the two crosses already on the top. Bring the ends up at your ankle and tie them together with the first ribbon. Trim one of the long ends of the knot if necessary.
With this wrap I like to tape down the ribbon that comes across under my toes before I go on to step 5. That ribbon right at the top is mostly likely to come undone at a bad moment, but just a tiny strip of duct tape will keep it where it belongs.
To wear, take the loose ends and tie behind your ankle.
Step 5: Tape the Ribbon On
Once you've found a wrap you like, you need to tape it to the sandal. The best method I've found so far is to wrap the ribbon around the foot and the duct tape sole at the same time. Once the ribbon is adjusted just how you want it, cut a strip of duct tape the length of your foot and set it down, sticky side up, next to the foot/ribbon/duct tape contraption that is about to become a sandal. Lift your foot slightly and slide it onto the strip of duct tape. Press the tape on to secure it.
The ribbon should now be fairly stable, and you'll have a little more freedom to move your foot around as you add more duct tape. Make sure you cover all the ribbon across the bottom of the sole. Duct tape won't wear through nearly as fast as ribbon will, and you want your new sandals to last a good long time!
Repeat the process for your other sandal.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Double check your ribbon placement. See if there are any spots that look loose or thin and need a little more duct tape. Put a drop of clear nail polish on the ribbon ends to keep them from fraying.
Voila! Simple, elegant sandals from a few yards of duct tape and ribbon.