While thrifting recently I came across this pair of brand-new ballet flats, and I started thinking of ways to make them more fun.
Here are the three projects I came up with, from least to most difficult.
1. Ribbon Ties
Ribbon (I used 2 yards of 5/8-inch wide)
1. Measure and cut two pieces of ribbon 30 inches long each. You may want to cut the ribbons longer or shorter depending on your shoes and ankle size. Cut the ends at 45 degree angles.
2. Paint a thin strip of clear nailpolish on the ends of the ribbon to prevent them from fraying. Allow to dry.
3. Attach the ribbons to your shoes and tie in a bow around your ankle. Super easy, right?
Ready for something a little more complicated?
2. Chain Straps
Metal chain, fairly sturdy (20 to 30 inches)
Large lobster clasps (2)
1. To get an idea of how long your chain will need to be, put on your shoe, slide the measuring tape through the ribbon loop, and measure loosely around your ankle. I decided to use 11 inches of chain for each ankle.
2. Using your needle-nose pliers, open links to create two separate lengths of chain that will fit around your ankle. Add lobster clasps to one end of each chain. If your chain links don’t open, you’ll have to use wire cutters to cut the chain, and jump rings to attach the lobster clasps.
3. Attach the chains to your shoes.
3. Studded Ankle Straps
Faux-leather (or real leather) trim (I used 1 yard of 3/8 inch wide trim)
Studs (I used 18)
Sewing machine (though you could do this by hand)
Shoe glue or other strong glue
Pencil or chalk for marking
1. Cut two pieces of trim 14 inches long, and two pieces 2 inches long.
2. Loop the trim around the buckle, overlapping by an inch, and sew a straight line close to the buckle to secure it to the trim.
3. Take the little 2-inch piece of trim you cut, and place it under the strap, right side down. Center it under the two overlapped layers, and sew a line through all three layers of trim. The arrows below show where your seams should be.
4. Take the 2-inch piece you just attached, and loop it around the longer piece of trim. Leave enough room that you’ll be able to thread the other end of the strap through this loop, but trim off any extra. Add a dab of glue on the back to secure the loop, and allow to dry.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 for both straps. If you wanted to make this easier you could just skip the loop step entirely, but I think it makes it look a little nicer.
6. Decide on the spacing of your studs, and measure and mark the placement. I spaced mine an inch apart and used 9 on each strap. At the end of the strap without the buckle I left 3 inches free of studs so I could add the holes for buckling.
7. Add your studs, bending the prongs into the trim with your pliers.
8. Put on your shoes with the straps and mark where you want to buckle them. You don’t want them to be too tight, but if they’re too loose they’ll flop around. Use an X-acto knife to poke holes in the straps.
The best part is that you can change up your straps whenever you want, and you’re only limited by the trim you can find. You can even combine them.
If you have a pair of shoes you’d like to use for this project, but they don’t have loops, you can always sew a ribbon or elastic loop on the interior of the heel to convert them.