One question that I am constantly asked is “how do you draw and write on your glittered shoes?” My short answer is “I don’t!” After achieving flawless glitter coverage, there is no way I’m going to risk messing anything up by freehand lettering or drawing on a shoe. Instead, I use a technique that Nori at Confessions of a Glitter Addict first described to create glitter appliqués, that I then glue to the shoe. Appliqués can add amazing detail to your project, and the technique is really very simple.
3D fabric paint
Graphic image printed on paper
Plastic gallon freezer bag
E6000 craft adhesive with the tip application
I use both Scribbles and Tulip brands, and achieve great results. The important thing is a fine tip bottle to give you the best control. While purchasing a Scribbles 20 pack, will provide you with a variety of colors; I have found that I am often able to achieve satisfactory results using red, blue, yellow, black, or white. If you choose to go with only five colors, you want to try and match the paint to the glitter color. For instance, I will trace in yellow and sprinkle with gold glitter.
Your options for obtaining images to trace are endless. An Internet search will get you everything and anything. I usually copy and paste the image into Pages on my iPad and then crop and resize as needed. I will then space and paste multiple representations of my graphic image on the same sheet. I find it wise to do more than one tracing. In the event that I mess up or it does not appear right after drying, I’ll have others to choose from before having to start completely over!
After you have printed the image that you wish to replicate, secure the artwork inside of a plastic gallon freezer bag with tape. Do not skip taping the paper down! You do not want to start tracing only to find that your reference image has shifted. Now that you are ready to trace, tamp the paint to the bottle tip. You want to remove the air, so that you can create an even stream of paint as you squeeze.
As you trace, you may get the spurts that are not fixable. If they are small, simply wipe the plastic bag clean and keep going. Or abandon the tracing and move to another representation and start over. Spurts are another reason that I paste multiples of the same image on the page!
Once you are finished tracing, sprinkle your work with glitter. From the underside, you want to tap and shake to ensure that all of the paint is covered with glitter. Shake off any excess glitter. Be careful that you do not smear or smudge your glitter creation. Now would seem a good time for me to write, “sit back and admire your handiwork,” but you’re not finished yet!
The next step is probably the most important step in the process. Are you ready? Ok. Now, you wait, and allow the glitter appliqué to completely dry! That’s it. You are not going to rush or shortcut this step. The drying time may be a few hours or a couple of days. It all depends on how thick you lay it on and the humidity. In a dryer environment, your handiwork will dry and set faster. Remember, we are working with paint.
If your image has more than one color, allow the first paint/glitter application to dry and then lightly brush off any loose glitter before moving to the next paint/glitter color. Apply as many different applications of paint and glitter, as needed, to achieve your desired design. Just allow the piece to dry in between each color change. Another thing that I’d like to mention is that I work from dark to light. I do this to keep the lighter glitter bright.
Once your glitter appliqué is completely dry, simply peel it of the plastic bag. It should come off easily. Now for the magic! Take a moment and place the appliqué or letters on the shoe to get a feel for spacing. When you are satisfied with placement, use the E6000 Craft Adhesive to adhere it to your shoe. Make sure you get the tube of E6000 that has the tip applicator. You will have more control in applying the glue. For small objects, tooth picks are helpful in applying the glue to the back of the appliqué.
The whole process may be a little time consuming, but it’s well worth it. Now if all of these written instructions still have you puzzled, sit back and enjoy this visual aid that I have put together for you!