Tuesday 26 January 2010


Christmas might be over… But as the new year approaches, and the party season rolls on, who needs stockings when you can have fabulous shoes!

Along with Michael Jackson tributes and the great Tiger Woods debacle, there was just no getting away from Christian Louboutin’s trademark wanton red soles, strutting their way among the fashionable and the famous. If indeed, all of the last sentence was news to you, then I do hope you enjoyed your stay on Mars, but speaking of good news, ’twas an all-familiar feeling when I spied the coveted shoes and thought “six hundred quid!!? They’re ‘avin a larf!… Especially when I can make my own for as little as £16!”



Technique-wise, this one’s far from taxing, but, now that you’ve had the good news, the bad news is, it’s just as easy to make a mess, both on your surroundings and your precious New-boutins, so the logistics are a challenge - to say the least - and the relevant precautions mandatory.


Couple of hours’ preparation, covering your shoes and preparing your work area (I’d recommend doing your shoes outdoors, even in this weather, or in a garage, shed or studio where making a mess and living with suffocating fumes aren’t an issue) intermittent sets of 20 minutes or so for painting and lacquering and anything up to a few days’ drying/ lacquering time between coats.

Total cost

If you buy the cheapest black stiletto heels, currently on sale, enamel paint and lacquer, it should come to about £16. Add on another few pounds if you find yourself buying black shoe paint, should you have any spillages you’d need to correct.

Save it!

That’s a saving of almost £550, however, if you’re not careful with paint-related damage limitation, you might find yourself paying that difference in home repairs as you’re dealing with permanent paint!

You will need

Black stiletto shoes, ideally patent black if it is the real McCoy you’re going for. Said shoes start at £6 at Primark.

Red enamel paint, ideally spray paint to get an even finish - however it is messier than brush-on paint, harder to control and - for the environmentally-aware among us - the less saintly option for the environment, being in an aerosol can. I used Plastikote fast-dry enamel paint (colour: Insignia Red 1065) priced at £4.25 from Hobbycraft.

Clear lacquer spray, 300ml will do, priced at £5.99 a can at Halfords.

Black shoe paint for correcting errors is an advantage: I got mine for £4 but prices may vary.

Parcel tape.

2 plastic carrier bags.


White spirit for getting the paint off your hands.

The worst clothes you own - and don’t mind ruining!

Newspaper and an appropriate working space.



In a nutshell…

Protect your working area with newspaper to avoid messing it up.

Put parcel tape around the edges of your shoes near the sole, so that the surfaces are covered right up to the edge. Pay particularly good attention around the heels.

Spread your carrier bags across your shoes, so that they cover the rest of the surfaces, and tape them down. You may need to cut them in places in order to manipulate them better. Your shoes should be completely covered and water-tight, except for the soles.

Time to spray your enamel paint. Follow instructions carefully, spray paint from a distance no closer than about 25cm, try to apply as thinly as possible so that it dries more quickly and doesn’t run or seep through. If you’re using the Plastikote spray like I did, then it should take around 3 hours (!) to dry.

Now for the lacquer to protect the paint. Read instructions carefully and ensure that you take all necessary precautions. The one I used required spraying in 2 thin coats, leaving 15 minutes for each layer to dry, and then about a day for the shoes to dry completely… Simple as… Job’s a good ‘un… Good times!

In Practice…

Logistically this project was a challenge and a half! I’d had the raw ingredients since Christmas eve and was hoping to get the entry in before the end of the month, and before the party season was officially over. It would surely be a race against the clock to get the Louboutin look in before it went out of season, and I suppose the words “more haste, less speed” weren’t at the forefront of my agenda for a process so seemingly simple. “Cover your shoes, point and shoot, leave to dry, uncover… Bob’s your blood relative - sweet as a diamond,” I thought. I did the painting on the lawn outside my house, and it proved a nightmare to get enough hours of daylight, since I’d had to work for the next few days since getting the right things, including Christmas day (hitherto an alien experience, but this year I had no choice in the matter - yay Credit Crunch!) My parents might have quetioned my haste in the creation of this entry, and I suppose new year’s eve’s a bit 11th hour anyway, but I’m still trying to keep this blog to 2 entries a month, so, as I believe they say in the old country - this year would be nice!

I made some mistakes, which I learnt from before writing this entry. I initially used masking tape, but that proved too weak and too permeable, so my paint and lacquer ran. I even caused some minor damage to soft furnishings with wet paint which I thought was dry, which is why I can’t stress enough the importance of reading and sticking to instructions. In fact, patronising as this may sound, I’d recommend parental supervision to any younger readers of this entry. However, I got there in the end, the results are definitely worth it and I’m gonna wear it to my friend’s new year’s eve shindig tonight. Have fun with this one, dear audience… till then, ciao - I’ve got a party to go to!

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