Several trends -- and the ever-present urge to experiment -- collided in my mind last week. First was the continuing (from last spring) popularity of what are called cap toe shoes. These are flats, heels and other styles where the toe caps are done in different colors, patterns or finishes than the main body of the shoe.
The contrasting toe cap can sit midway up the toe, as on the beautiful Fendi flat above trimmed with yellow leather piping. It can also cover nearly the entire toe or just the very tip. High-contrast is the common denominator -- hard, shiny metallics on pastels, black on white, exotic leather on matte leather. Some toe caps are even spiked or studded.
The other trend is for really chunky glitter. Destiny and I have steered clear of offering a super chunky version of our Glitter It Glaze because in our product, we submerge the glitter in a clear leather glaze so as to seal it in and prevent it from shedding all over your life.
But when we submerged chunky glitter in our glaze, then patted it on a shoe, it did one of two unfortunate things. The German black-glass glitter we chose dripped down the side of the shoe before it had time to dry -- the glass glitter was just too heavy. When we tried it again with synthetic glitter, glaze tended to flatten the chunky glitter so it wasn't as 3-D as it should have been. What to do? Experiment!
To solve these problems, I tried two things. FIrst I found a really lightweight (because it's plastic) chunky glitter. Second I used a thick, clear fabric paint by Jones Tones. It s called 3-D Gloss Paint and, though it's paint, its dimensional quality enables it to be used to adhere beads and the like. Plus, it's advertised as stretchable paint, which seemed perfect for shoes.
Next step? Find a likely subject for this experiment. I went into my closet, which has very few un-painted or un-embellished shoes left in it! But up on the top shelf I found a pair of black boots that cried out for SOMETHING.... They'd avoided my creative efforts all these years because sometimes you really do need something for your feet that is just black. Well, what if I used black glitter?
Now, you may recall that Destiny and I have been very frustrated in the black glitter department, because black doesn't reflect light very well, so black glitter doesn't sparkle so much. (We tried a new black glitter we'd found at a crafts trade show last month -- WOW Chunky Glitter from American Crafts, but it didn't sparkle the way we hoped. I'll spare you a photo.) But years ago I'd purchased a chunky glitter I'd never used and it was called Black Opal. (Available online from some of my favorite folks, Kit Kraft.) So I set to work. A triple experiment, oh boy!
Then I applied the Jones Tones clear 3-D Paint with a cotton swab. Next I sprinkled the glitter onto the wet paint and pressed it down with my fingertips. Live and learn -- the glitter immediately stuck to my fingertips and I found myself in the middle of an I Love Lucy episode!
Once the paint had dried (overnight), I pulled off the masking tape. Then I banged the toes of both shoes on the edge of a trash can repeatedly to get any loose glitter off. (Sorry no photo!) Finally, I applied a coat of Pledge with Future sealer (the same kind we use to seal our own Glitter It glaze) in the hopes of giving the glitter some extra protection and keeping it shiny.
So, do I think the experiment worked? Well, I think the boots look great, and the chunky glitter MOSTLY stayed on. I would do two things differently next time.
First, I would also tape off the sole so I didn't get glue and glitter on it. Second, I would not choose an opalescent glitter -- apparently "opal" means "having blue tints"! Now my reliable all-black boots have blue on them. Oh well, they DO sparkle, and the glitter seems to be staying in place.