Distracted by shiny objects
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My latest shoe remodel has entered it’s next phase. After resoling them and lots of general cleaning, this pair of rose gold Christian Louboutin Very Prives rescued from Ebay was ready for their makeover. This can be done with any brand, but when I put time and money in to a pair project shoes, I want them to last. Many people may not appreciate the difference, but the artful silhouette & craftsmanship of a well-made shoe is something that I really notice. Here’s a set of before pictures taken after clean-up and new soles:
Next, the fun part. This is actually very relaxing. I did this with another pair of shoes a few years ago and it was a great way to unwind (while being distracted by shiny).
I ordered Swarovski crystals in bulk online (from Dreamtime Creations) along with a “wax stick” for picking them up and applying them. Last time I used a Q-tip with the cotton pulled off of one side then dipped in a bit of Vaseline. The wax stick works MUCH better and makes this project go much more smoothly & quickly. I used E-6000 glue which is waterproof once dry. I had some on hand after the last pair I crystaled and it kept great. Since this pair has a higher heel that the other pair I used previously and a platform, I ordered the same number of crystals I used last time knowing that I would need to order more to finish this project. This makes sense to me because I don’t want to over-order these crystals because they are expensive when you buy the thousands needed for this project. This allows me to keep tabs on how many I actually need in each size.
The color I used is called “Silk” which is a great, super-skarkly nude tone. I used the sizes 7ss, 9ss, 12ss, 16ss, & 20ss in Swarovski’s 2058 line. The pictures don’t show how ridiculously sparkly these are. I had to dim the lights to nearly off in order to see what I was doing.
Starting with the largest size, 22ss, I began applying the crystals. I only put glue on a small section at a time because it dries quickly. For a first-timer, I’d suggest starting with a section about half the size that I have pictured above. Once you get the hang of it, you can do larger sections, but not really larger than this. Some people (who are more hard-core than I am) do dots of glue, one for each crystal, using a syringe. This doesn’t seem to work well with the E6000 and since I am putting crystals as close together as possible, I don’t worry about it.
The wax stick works great and is only $1-2. It helps to pick up and place the stones into glue easily. It saves a ton of time. If you’re serious about crystal work (and extra picky about placement), try the Crystal Katana. Haven’t used it yet, but have heard great things.
I place the crystals as close together as possible, using the different sizes to fill in different sized gaps. Some people start filling in a line at the edges where the stitching is, but I didn’t like the perfectly straight line there for these shoes, I wanted the edges to blend away. And yes, I carefully studied photos of the originals first. I’m not sure what size stones Louboutin uses, but these sizes work well. Sometimes I wish I had the tiny 5ss sized stones to fill in tiny spaces, but the larger stones have more sparkle and isn’t that the point?
A couple weeks and about 7000 crystals later… the sparkle has arrived! I actually find this really relaxing to do in the evening when I’m exhausted but still wanting to be productive. Clearly, I’m a completely shoe-obscessed shiny enthusiast. I have no shame in that.
While I was at it, I thought I’d take a family photo with all of my sparkly shoes. You know for completely scientific purposes. The yellow pair has “Citrine AB” crystals and was my first crystal shoe project years ago. The darker pair was a little something I scored for an amazing price that was “Strassed” in “Volcano” crystals at Louboutin. This purchase was also for completely scientific purposes so I could see the sizes and technique they use. Anyway, these “family photos” were fun so I thought I’d share them.
Photos don’t really do the sparkly justice, so I did a couple short videos of them
lounging by the pool in the sun. For completely scientific purposes. Enjoy!
This isn’t quite the last you’ll see of this project. There is one final phase involving more crystals. Any guesses?