Monday 3 March 2014

Haute metal - how to DIY your own metal plated cut out shoes

Cutting it with an on-trend upcycle!

You will need...

NB: Use brass sheets as they're a soft, reasonably pliable metal. I got mine here.

The snips I used are called tin snips.

*Relax, the lighter is optional and not recommended for faux leather shoes or near flammable furniture!

** Make sure you use metal araldite glue; only a solvent of that strength is going to work!


Quite hard

This one did prove to be more of a challenge than expected; working with metal is very fiddly and demanding of elbow grease. However, since I had never worked with metal before, I learnt from the mistakes I made and will hopefully be able to guide you so that you don't find it so difficult.


About two afternoons, so 8-ish hours. Again, I was disappointed that I didn't find it easier but I bit off more than I was expecting to chew with the metal. Thankfully, the results are totally worth it.

Cutting it...

Cut out small triangular areas on both sides of your shoes. Ensure they're symmetrical, identical in shape and in the correct places. You might want to trace your shape out on paper and use measurements as references.

After cutting your shapes out, use a lighter to smooth the edges (only if the shoes are leather - faux leather shoes would be ruined). Again, this part is completely optional and only applicable where appropriate, i.e. nowhere near flammable objects.
Finish the edges by gluing trim over them. You can use the scalpel to smooth away the excess glue or cut away extraneous blobs after they're dried.
Cut the above shapes out in metal with the amounts specified. The strips on the left are for covering buckles, so if the buckles of your shoes are already metal, you don't have to worry about them.

The shape in the middle is for the tips of the straps. It needs to be just wide enough to cover them but narrow enough to fit through the buckles. You might want to test it before bending it into shape and gluing it, to make sure that it fits; making a strap tip that's too wide, bending it into shape and then trying to cut it down is much harder, as I would know! The areas for folding back along the edges should be at least 1cm wide, as they're too hard to bend otherwise.
Once you have cut out the metal shapes for the tips of your straps, you may notice some fold lines in the template. I find it helps to draw them in place with a pen that can write on brass; for this, I used an extra fine silver marker.

Hold your piece of metal down and bend it with the tip of your pliers touching the line; I find this method's the easiest and requires the least brute force (something I don't have much of, especially in my hands and forearms!). Don't bend your side bits all the way as you will need to slip your straps underneath them.

Apply glue inside the metal tips and on the surfaces of the straps, and slot them into place.
The trapezium shapes, shown on the right of the template, will be placed over the arch of your foot - shoes follow that arch shape in the place where you're due to glue them - so bend them along the length. This will make them much easier to glue down.

Apply glue to the underside of the metal pieces and onto the surface where you intend to stick them. Again, make sure they're in the same places on both shoes.

Leave your glue to dry. You might have to leave it overnight. Make sure you leave it for as long as the instructions specify.

...and there you have it!

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