There was a time when the very idea of wearing glitter anywhere on my person would have turned my expression sour and induced exaggerated shudders. And even to this day, there is a very vocal part of me that warns me that if I invite glitter into my life, it will never leave. But then another part of me — tired of laying silent — goes, “But it’s so sparkly!”
While I can’t explain what triggered the shift from no-holds-barred glitter rejection to totally expanded glitter consciousness, I can tell you that you should consider learning to ombre glitter because! It’s so sparkly!
It’s also an insanely easy, kind of messy, madly inexpensive way to breathe new life into a pair of shoes (or other object) that have seen better days or that you’ve fallen out of love with, but are still in your closet because you paid good money for them and, come on, they’re just so comfy.
Feeling nervous? That’s understandable. You paid good money, after all. My advice then is to pick a pair of shoes that you know you won’t miss, or that you keep telling yourself you should get rid of anyway. For me, it was a pair of black suede pointy flats that were comfy enough, but I knew I needed to get rid of them because they don’t fit my new capsule wardrobe criteria.
The benefit of this is you’ll have no reason to fear messing up: either you end up with an amazing “new” pair of shoes or you finally have a good enough reason to get rid of them. And when they turn out awesome, it’ll be like getting a fancy new pair of shoes for less than ten bucks.
- A pair of shoes, or some other mundane object that can be improved with sparkle. An old clutch, a notebook, some pine cones, your daughter’s toothbrush, your whisk collection. Just look around!
- Glitter, three colors (same color in dark, medium, and light)
- Glue (clear or white)
- An old or inexpensive paintbrush
- Covered work surface
Ready?! You can do this.
1. Do one shoe at a time. Using your paintbrush, apply a good, heavy (but not drippy) coat of glue on the outside of the shoe. Take care to avoid the sole but you can scrape it off later if necessary. That’s what I had to do!
2. Decide where you want your color to change. I chose the area right around the ball of the foot — the widest part of the shoe, which seemed like a natural transition point. Then generously sprinkle the darkest color all over the glued aread from the back of the shoe to the color change point. Lighten up on the sprinkling a bit past that point, so that there is still some glue visible where the next color can overlap and blend.
3. Sprinkle the middle color to the next color change point — about half of the area left after the first color. Like you did with the first color, sprinkle the middle color lightly just past the transition point. Also be sure to overlap with the first color so that the colors will blend and you won’t get a harsh line from one color to the next.
4. Repeat step 3 with the lightest color, overlapping with the middle color and covering the tip of the shoe. Gently tap the shoe to dust off the excess glitter. The best way I found was to stick one hand inside the shoe and hold it upside down while tapping the sole of the shoe with my other hand. Let the shoe dry while you glitter it’s mate.
5. Let both shoes dry for at least an hour or two. You may need to apply a second coat of glue and glitter to get richer coverage and sparkle, though you will go much lighter on the glue and glitter the second time around. Touch up any “holes” as necessary.
6. Let the shoes dry overnight. Don’t put them on yet, tempting as it may be.
7. After the glue has dried thoroughly and the glitter has set — and make sure you wait, otherwise you may wind up removing or smudging your glitter when you try to brush over it — you can apply a coat of mod podge (or equal parts glue and water mixed) to seal in the glitter. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight.
FINAL NOTES: Anywhere you’ve accidentally glittered onto the sole or trim, you should be able to gently (carefully!) scrape away with a clean blade, such as a craft knife or razor blade. A dry paintbrush or paper towel can help you remove residual glitter from the inside of your shoes, although the pixie dust trail you leave after taking off your shoes might just work for you. A lint-free cloth soaked with a touch of olive/vegetable/baby/mineral oil can help you remove residual glitter from the rubbery sole (which glitter likes to cling to without glue). Or, again, maybe leaving sparkles in your wake is your thing. No judgment here.
Now, go get your sparkle on!