Monday, October 4, 2010

Tutorial- Detachable buckles for shoes

To fill my evenings I’ve been working on a single project and I thought to reveal how I’m planning to execute the look of colonial shoes by adding buckles to regular women's shoes. This is low budget one, because I had all the materials I needed to prepare the buckles. If you have glue gun, scrap poster board, something moldable and hair pins you are on the winning side.

First you need to pay attention to the shoes you are purchasing. In these types of women shoes there are two possibilities. Either the band on the top is solid part of the shoe or it’s attached from the side seams. For this project you need to buy shoes where the band is separate from the shoe to tuck the pin under it. I found my perfect pair from flee market for six euros.

When you have your shoes, it’s time to start with the buckle. Take measurements from the shoes, study your references and draw a frame on poster board. I made the inside of the frame just fem millimeters bigger that the height of the band. When you have cut out the frames, it’s time to bend them. Dampen the poster board a little, but not too much. It will start to fall apart if it's too wet. Then place it on a slightly curved surface. I put the wet frames inside a cylinder plastic container and placed a glass jar over them to prevent them to recover their original shape. Then it’s time to wait for the frames to dry.

For the attachment I used regular hair pins. First you need to shorten them to desired length. Make it so that the back of the pin is aligned with the inner height of the frame. This way it will sit on the band correctly. And use heavy duty pliers to cut the pins. You might ruin your scissors with them. To attach the pins hot glue the straight side to the frame. Use some help equipment and try to get the pin sealed inside the glue. I used my fingers when the glue was little cooled down. Use your own judgement with how you do it.

For making the buckles three dimensional I used the molding material, which I might have given bad reputation on my previous posts (I still hate the smell). First I made sausages out of the stuff and wet the surface of the poster board slightly to make it stick. Just a tiny bit of water is enough. You don’t want the frame to loose its shape. Pay attention to it while you smooth out the surface. Again water is a helpful aid. When you are satisfied, let the buckles to dry completely before going on.

To finish the buckles sand them with fine paper. Clean the surface from dust and you are ready to seal it. I used basic wood glue, which I applied with wet brush. Gesso might also work. Seal the back side around the pins too.

I gave the buckles a base color, but didn’t finish the paint job because I’m still going trough references to make a conclusion about the coloring. Acrylics would work well and miniature paints if you want to be waterproof. For finishing touches I would recommend weathering and perhaps coat of gloss.

Notes: For the pin attachment you could use some other glue, even epoxy. I used hot glue because I like the quickness of it. If you are working on a bigger buckle, you could seal the pin inside a piece of ribbon or fabric. It requires more space, but will be much firmer solution.When sketching the frames look at your shoes and see where the band is placed compared to the place where the shoe bends. This will affect the shape and size of your buckle, because it would not be comfortable for you or the buckle if it was on the way when you walk.

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