Glitter is not the enemy, as the “Send Glitter to Your Enemies” movement would have you think. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When used properly, glitter is the perfect companion. It can add color to a drab and dull outfit, or it can be the sparkling centerpiece on a gorgeous star-studded outfit.
For example – I wear my glitter shoes to work with a matching Katiebowhead glitter bow bracelet to match, because it dresses up my casual conservative dresses and skirts. I also wear my glitter shoes to formal events like my friends’ graduation parties, because it adds to the overall pizzazz of my outfit.
This summer, I set out to make myself a pair of glitter shoes, and after I perfected my technique, I used it to make a second pair of shoes, a glitter hat hair piece, and two glitter frames.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to apply glitter to a pair of flats to make the perfect sparkling flats – but this methodology can be applied to any type of shoe and to many other surfaces, such as fabric, paper, cardboard and more.
This tutorial was inspired partially by one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess, which can be read here.
1. Find a pair of shoes you want to cover in glitter.
This is the easy part. Check your discarded shoe pile – you know, that pile in the back of your closet where all your old shoes go to die. When I first tried out the glitter technique, I did it on a pair of old, beat-up black flats that used to be my absolute favorite but had fallen into disrepair and disuse.
You can also buy a cheap pair of shoes to glitter, which is what I did for my second pair.
2. Find your ideal glitter, and gather your other supplies.
Choosing a glitter isn’t easy. I used Nicole’s Basics Multicolored Glitter, which you can find at A.C. Moore or here. (I also re-glittered a pair of shoes that had lost a bit of their sparkle, using Nicole’s Ultra Fine Premium Black Glitter.)
For this project, you will need:
- A shaker of the glitter of your choosing
- Mod Podge (which you can buy at any craft store, as well as some superstores like Walmart or Target, or here)
- Krylon “Make it Last” sealant spray or similar sealant spray (you can buy it here)
- Paintbrush or another fine-tipped applicator for the glue/sealant
- Optional: painter’s tape (you may find this more useful if there are parts of the shoe you do NOT want covered in glitter)
Put down some newspaper to protect your floor. This will keep you from glittering your entire home – to any extent.
Optionally, tape any parts/sections of the shoes you don’t want to glitter. I didn’t actually use any tape to cover the bows of the second shoes that I made, but they came out like this:
If you’re not sure you can easily glitter around sections of the shoes, such as these bows, apply a layer of painter’s tape to the section to keep it from getting glitter-fied.
Begin applying a layer of Mod Podge using an applicator. I used a small paintbrush for this part. I heavily coated my shoes in a layer of Mod Podge.
Entirely cover the shoes in glitter. Depending on how you want to style the shoes, you can either just dump a whole bunch of glitter on them and let the remainder fall to the newspapers (to be collected after) or you can gently dust it onto sections. I tend to use the “dump it all” method, because I love my shoes sparkly. I’m not going for subtle.
Let this layer dry. It will probably take several hours for this layer to dry. I would check back in two hours and see how they’re doing.
Cover the shoes in another layer of Mod Podge. This layer should be a thinner layer than the first. It acts as a sealant and keeps the layer of glitter on the shoe permanently. Let this layer completely dry.
Add a final layer of Mod Podge, covered by glitter. This is your final glitter layer, so make sure to cover every area. The layer that was doused by Mod Podge is probably significantly less sparkly, after all.
After the glitter dries, take your shoes outside with your “Make it Last” or similar spray sealant. This sealant is not as strong as Mod Podge, but also leaves the glitter much sparklier. I recommend using a thin layer of spray sealant all over the shoe after the final layer dries. Please take your shoes outside to do this, as it is dangerous to breathe in sealant in a contained area. (Also, it smells.)
When you let this layer of sealant dry (this won’t take hours – just a few minutes, but give it 30 minutes to be safe), you’ll have beautiful glitter shoes that you can wear anywhere! For extra protection, you can consider buying water repellant in case of inclement weather.
If you’re dying for glitter shoes, but just don’t want to do it yourself – or your living-mates won’t let you bring glitter indoors – pick up a pair at my Etsy shop! I also take custom orders.