Happy Summer Days Everyone.
Is it just me or is the summer rushing by full speed ahead? I am finding it more difficult to squeeze crafting and blogging in between all the projects and chores the outdoors seems to require of me lately. But today finally I have another project (well to be honest half of a project) to post about.
The story begins with this blue pair of shoes.
Not really my color and they were scuffed in a couple of places.
So for some reason I decided to do this.
I used the pages from a children's fairy tale book that I have used on several different project over the years including a redecorated hat box, a box to hide my computer cords in and the interior of a suitcase full of mustaches. Yep you read that right. It's a crazy aunt thing.
Anyway, after covering the shoe with the paper and Elmer's glue in a paper mache fashion it looked like this.
At this point I decided to try it on, after it dried of course, and it was the most uncomfortable shoe on the entire planet maybe even the universe. Ok I might be exaggerating a little bit but it was quite disappointing and I had to put the project in time out for a few days to let it think about how selfish and uncomfortable it was being. Or maybe it was to keep myself from having to admit to failure.
There were two problems with the shoes comfort level. One was that the paper macher (that would be me) didn't get the pieces of paper completely smooth on the inside of the shoe and there-fore there were some prickly edges that poked at my tender freakishly white feet (see photo number 1 for freaky foot reference :-)
The second problem was that the paper and hardened glue combination made the upper part of the shoe much stiffer and a little smaller than the original shoe. The smaller part was actually a good thing for me but I note it here as a worthy consideration for future projects.
Problem number one was resolved fairly easily by using some fine sand paper rolled around a pen or pencil and gently sanding the inside of the shoe.
Problem number two had me stumped for a few days and then after some heavy drinking (just kidding but when you see what I did you might believe that only a drunk person would try such a thing, and in the interest of complete disclosure, there probably was a gin and tonic involved)
I rubbed a thin coat of Crisco on the inside of the shoe.
As any sober person might expect this made the shoe a little bit slippery on the inside. Since this is not generally what a person is looking for in a shoe I decided to go back to my gin and tonic and contemplated the high probability that I had in fact ruined the project.
As Luck would have it the crazy Crisco choice turned out to be quite liberating. Suddenly it really didn't matter what I did. I was pretty sure that I was going to have a failed experiment and I prepared myself for what I euphemistically decided to deem an "educational experience." One that I would never have to admit to in public. It turns out I am apparently shameless in regards to my crafting persuits as I have just openly admitted to Criscoing my shoe.
So what does Crisco do to paper mache?
Well, after several hours it does absorb into the paper, lose it's slippery effect and add some flexibility.
I now believe I am a genius and should appear on the cover of Inventors Magazine and Craft Weekly. I am expecting the call from Martha Stewart any minute.
It's possible that Gin makes me a little over confidant.
My third problem, and this was a completely personal problem, I didn't like the color. I wanted a darker brown. I thought about using watered down brown paint but I don't have any brown paint. A fact that I had trouble comprehending as I have a stash of 40+ bottles of fabric paint. At this point I am still riding high on my recent criso discovery and wondering how to best schedule all of my upcoming interviews with the press so it is possible that this next decision didn't get my full attention. I could have chosen to purchased some brown paint but nixed that idea as it would have required some small attention to my appearance ie: shoes, makeup, hair brushing, or I could have chosen to mix some of my paint to see if I could come up with a color I liked. But, instead I did the more appropriate thing.
I did the thing you wish a disturbingly arrogant person would do when their ego gets too big.
I did something stupid.
(It's hard to imagine something stupider then putting Criso on your shoes isn't it?)
I found some stain. It was reddish and not the color I wanted but I thought I could mix it with.... well some black fabric paint to make it darker.
I know you are thinking that any idiot knows you can't mix oil based stains with water based paint but that didn't stop me. I am the inventor of the Crisco Shoe Lube remember?
I put the two ingredients in a small dish and "mixed" them together. You can see the results above. Having no success in the actual mixing I did the only reasonable thing. I decided to apply the concoction to my shoe anyway.
The drinking helps.
This was not was I was looking for.........
So I went to the hubby's shoe shine box and pulled out his brown shoe polish, kicking myself for not thinking of this sooner. For a second I think maybe the drinking isn't such a good idea.
It is inconceivable! I have done the impossible! I have effectively managed to make it even worse and conclude that drinking is in fact the only suitable course of action.
My one solace is the I believe I can soak the shoe in water overnight and scrub off my shameful failure in the morning.
Instead I start tentatively scrubbing with a toothbrush and a little water. Some of the color is coming off and I can see some of the book print again. In some places I scrub a little too hard and the print actually comes off but for some reason I like the result I am getting. The shoe is dark brown in some spots with a little bit of the reddish stain bleeding through and the print is visible in some places. It's a little weird and not what I originally intended but for the first time I am actually happy with the aesthetics.
You, of course, may not agree that they are now lovely in which case I can only reccommend that you run swiftly off in search of your own cocktail.
The hubby said it looked like it belonged on the Walking Dead but I think he meant it in a good way :-)
This has now brought us to our fourth and final problem. Which is how do you wear a pair of shoes that melt in water? Well I had recently seen a tutorial on paper mache floors, and I figured if you could walk on paper mache you could probably walk in paper mache.
The secret is polyurethane. Which I did have to brush my hair and leave the house to purchase.
I was afraid that the two coats I applied might make the upper part of the shoe even stiffer then the original paper mache or that it might crack but so far it has remained firm but flexible and the polyurethane has made the finish smoother and more comfortable.
In true upcycling form my finishing touches are a scrap of t-shirt fabric and a gold colored pull tab attached with some E6000 glue.
So there you have it. More proof that it is better to be lucky than smart.
Now all I have to do it repeat the whole process and hope I come up with the same result. Lets see how did it start..... I think it was 2 parts tonic......
A few disclaimers.
1) The polyurethane says that you are supposed to use it on a clean dry oil free surface. It doesn't mention Crisco specifically but........well...... :)
2) The Crisco Shoe Lube has not been approved by the FDA or been proven to add any real benifit to shoe comfort. Concidering all the dumb s@#t I did to this shoe I can't be certain how any of these processes effected the final outcome.
3) This item has not had a lot of wear testing as I usually like to wear matching shoes. Well at least when I leave the house.
4) It is probably no surprise to you that when I spell checked this post I had spelled the word "genus" wrong.
5) Contrary to the impression this post might have given I do not always have a chilled glass in my hand. (I like red wine too :-)
July 9, 2013
Shoe update - Finished 2nd shoe!!!! Woohoo! Have only worn around the house for an hour or two. But they have not fallen apart yet. :-)