Back on Super Pi Day (that would be March 14, 2015 or 3.1415), my super awesome and geeky friends Stefanie and Ben got married! While their wedding was not officially themed, there were plenty of nerdy touches throughout, from Game of Thrones inspired save-the-dates (“Marriage is Coming”) to their Wall-E and Eve pie (not cake) toppers. Stef wore really gorgeous tealy-blue heels during her ceremony, but knew she wanted something more comfortable for dancing at her reception. And that’s when she had the idea to morph her “something blue” into “something Who” and asked me if I would make her some glittery TARDIS shoes, based on some photos she’d seen in the interwebs. Well, of course I would! And now, I’m going to teach you how to do it, too!
What You’ll Need
- Black shoes. This can really be done on any style of closed-toe shoe. I suggest faux or patent leather.
- Access to a computer with a laser printer
- Good scissors
- Painter’s tape (masking tape will work)
- White paint/paint pen (I used a Craftsmart oil-based paint pen)
- Black Sharpie, or any permanent marker
- Mod Podge (glossy, if possible)
- Fine TARDIS-blue glitter (Fine. Very fine. The finer the better.) A 1.5oz container should be more than enough.
- A paint sponge-brush and a regular bristled brush
- Condensed air (optional)
- Spray-on clear indoor/outdoor sealant
Step 1: Finding Your “Police Box” Placard
Many of the shoes I’ve seen for sale have the “Police Box” signage handwritten. No matter how clear your handwriting is, that just looks sloppy to me. So, I went and looked for the graphic online, and I found this one, which I dropped into some image editing software so I could add quite a bit of black on either side of the text, and then printed it out at several different sizes. *It is really important to use a laser printer for this (does anyone still use inkjet?) because, if you use ink, the ink will run when exposed to glue later.
Why varying sizes? Because the next step is to carefully cut out these strips of paper, getting the top and bottom right along the edge of the black but leaving the sides as long as possible, and see which size fits the shoe the best. You want the text to lay right at the top of the toe box, and not be too large or too small. You also want the piece of paper to reach all the way across the shoe, from sole to sole. Once you’ve found the size you like, make sure you have 2 of the same size cut out and ready to go (sides still as long as possible), then set them aside for later.
Step 2: TARDIS Windows
First, take a piece of painter’s tape (or masking tape, but painter’s tape is better) and lay it down where you just had your “Police Box” paper, maybe even a little bit lower. Then, take another piece and put it straight down the middle of the shoe to leave room for the blue doors. Next, it’s time to start making your windows. Cut your tape into thin strips and make them as uniform as possible – full disclosure, this gets frustrating. Use those thing strips to lay out your grid for your windows on both shoes. Look at them side by side and make sure that you are happy with them before you move on. There’s no going back after this.
Take your white paint or paint pen and start filling in those windows. Paint can still run under tape, especially on a curved surface, so don’t be sloppy. When you’ve finished, give the paint a few minutes – but not long enough to really set – and pull up the tape carefully.
If you’re anything like me, your shoes will look like the above photo – even using the tape, they look messy. But you know what works wonders? A good old-fashioned black Sharpie (or permanent marker that’s the brand of your choice, of course). This type of marker can sometimes have a blueish-purpleish-metallic tinge or gloss when used on top of something else glossy or black or both, so I was a little bit skeptical about trying it for touch-ups, but it worked perfectly.
I used the marker to clean up ragged lines or stray paint marks, and then went over some areas with the paint pen one more time, to get a more consistent color, and I was much happier with the result.
Step 3: A little decoupage
Back to those little strips of paper! Use your sponge brush and your Mod Podge and decoupage those puppies on! Brush a thin layer of the Mod Podge onto the shoes – all the way around where the paper will go – and while that gets tacky, put a little bit of Mod Podge onto both the front and back of the paper, which will make it easier to work with.
Carefully place the paper onto the shoe, starting at the center, moving out to the edges with a little bit of tension (not enough to rip the paper!). Make sure to smooth out any wrinkles or air pockets right away. When you’re happy with how the paper is laying, use those good scissors to cut the excess paper on the sides, right where the “upper” meets the sole. Then give that whole section another coat or three (with some time to dry between coast) of Mod Podge.
You’ll notice the edge of the paper now, but not when we’re done. You’ll actually be using those edges as guidelines in the next step…
Step 4: Glitter!
There are so many different ways to do this, but I prefer taking the elementary school art project route. Spread some newspaper, apply the glue, sprinkle on the glitter, repeat. That’s basically it.
Use your sponge brush to apply the Mod Podge to a section of your shoe a couple square inches big – not too much because you definitely don’t want it to run, you’re basically looking for a milky white coating. Be especially careful when you work around the toe, especially if you want to leave any black space for the doors or any other detail, and use the edges of the paper strip to keep your lines sharp. Then lightly tap the glitter container to cover the Mod Podged area with blue sparkles. Repeat this, section by section, until all parts of the shoe are covered. I basically worked in 4 sections for each shoe: toe, inner side, outer side, and heel. Don’t worry about the glitter that falls off while you’re rotating the shoe, but DO NOT blow, shake, or brush any additional glitter off.
This first coat of glitter is the hardest, because you have to be the most careful with your glue placement. It gets easier after this. And once it done, put the shoes down and leave them alone for the Mod Podge to dry. I left them overnight, but if you’re in a hurry, and hour or two should be fine.
You’ll be repeating this a few more times. Between coats, you can shake off excess glitter if you like, but it doesn’t really matter (except around the toe, where the detail is – condensed air is also really good for that). You’ll be putting the next layer of Mod Podge right on top of the existing glitter, so anything loose will stick the next time around. Again, you’ll need to be careful around the toe, where there are other details and you don’t want stray glitter. Again, just work in sections and take it slow, then let the shoes dry. I did three layers of glitter and used less than a third of my 1.5oz thing of glitter .
Once your shoes have dried from their final coat of glitter, that’s when you want to get the excess off – I suggest a can of condensed air or a bristled brush or both. You want to be especially sure to remove any stray glitter from the areas that you don’t want any, like the text or the windows – glitter has a tendency to cling to things even if it’s not glued. If you do find that it’s glued down in an undesired location, remember that Mod Podge is water-based. So you can very carefully take a damp cloth and remove that glitter.
Once that’s done, take your clean, glitter-free sponge brush and give shoes – including the windows and text and black areas – once last coat of Mod Podge, everywhere. Start at the toes and with the areas that are glitter-free, just in case you pick up some stray glitter along the way. Be especially careful that you don’t have any air bubbles, because this will essentially be your finished product. When you’re done, let ’em dry for at least 24 hours.
Step 5: A Coat of Sealant
Because Mod Podge is water-based, I always like to hit my crafty shoes with a coat of sealant. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or paper towels or junk mail, and grab a can of indoor/outdoor sealant, and head out to your backyard (or fire escape), and follow the directions on the can. This is really an optional step, but if you plan to wear these often, it’s a good thing to do.
Step 6: Wear and Enjoy!
Stef loved her TARDIS shoes (see below), and wears them all the time now. It really is a simple project, most of the attention-to-detail comes in the very beginning. I made these over 3 or 4 evenings while watching TV, so there’s no need to spend hours and hours toiling over something like this. But, if you’re in a hurry, you could get the bulk of this done (except for that last spray coat of sealant) in an afternoon. I have a feeling I’ll be making more in the future.
Now, go forth and glitterize!