Friday, November 9, 2012

Nerdalicious Shoes!

Hey everyone!!!! This is so exciting! This post is about two of my favorite things in the world. Comics and shoes!!!! I have an obsession for both, but I always thought they couldn't be combined. I was wrong...I have a decent shoe collection. A few shoes I am in love with. Serious. Anyways, back to this tutorial, inspired by my realization that I couldn't find a pair of decent comic shoes (reasonably priced) for women, and that I wanted to be able to wear them....unlike my dragon spike shoes which are gorgeous but not exactly user-friendly. You know that type of shoe? You buy sits in your closet and you look at it lovingly every few weeks wishing you had somewhere to wear it, or that it were comfortable enough to wear all day? is how you can get it all: comfort, inexpensive, gorgeous, and drop-dead nerdaliciousness all in one shoe (technically two?)

My shoe collection comic related shoes :(

This is my first tutorial so bare with me as I work out the kinks. The type of shoe modding we will first be experimenting with is a simple decoupage technique that you can use with old or new comics, printed out graphics, etc. I highly recommend glossy thin paper if you plan on printing out pages with an ink jet printer. Regular printer paper works (in fact it's what I used for this first shoe,) however, there were some problems with it being a little weak once Mod Podge was applied, it has the potential to tear apart.
I also would like to address the shoes themselves. You can use flats, heels, wedges, or straps (although you should be a skilled decoupager to handle the little intricacies of those) the only requirement is that they be some form of leather, patent, matte or shiny doesn't matter, they just can't be fabric for this particular shoe mod. I chose a matte patent wedge for my first decoupaged shoe experience. It has the most flat space, plenty of room to show the character, and let's face it...they're the most comfortable heel in existence, which is good considering they are for a friend who does a lot of walking and standing at conventions!
Then you need to figure out what you want on the shoe. Since they were for someone that was the easy part. Batgirl. So...grab the comics, (or my case order some cheap ones) and experiment with printed out comic strips while awaiting (not so patiently thanks to hurricane Sandy) the delivery of said comics, and here we go...

Here's what you will need:
A pair of shoes (remember the only requirement is that they can't be fabric!) You can upcycle an old pair, or find a cheap pair on clearance. This particular pair that I am using was on clearance at Kohl's for 11 US dollars.
Comics or printed out patterns
Paint Brush
Mod Podge (Glossy)
Paper Towels
Painters tape (optional)
Some spray cleaner such as Fantastic (whatever you use to clean your kitchen or bathroom)
LOTS of patience. If you don't have it? You're screwed.

The wedge shoes selected for the project (hideously pink)

I highly recommend as your first step to map out a game plan. I wanted to do a layered comic strip look with larger characters overlapping. So figure out what images you want to be out-standing or over lapping, cut around them carefully, and set them aside. Next you want to cut out your back ground images, lay them around each other, switch them around until you are happy with how the mix looks. I skipped over this step on the first shoe so there are parts that have too many dark blocks together, etc. It will make the shoe look much better in the end.

Next you are going to take the shoe you chose, and clean it with the kitchen cleaner of your choosing and let it dry. Stuff the shoe with tissue or paper towels to ensure no drips of mod podge getting onto the shoe. In the picture below you will also notice I have the stick in it to keep the form of your shoe. You don't really need to do that, the shoe doesn't get that wet, but I am a stickler for detail.
nice clean shoe...

If you want any parts of the shoe to remain bare (the leather or patent to show through) tape them off right now so you don't get any smudges or goop on them. You will coat them in clear gloss later.

I mapped out the lines with a pencil to give myself guidelines
The next step is arduous for sure and is where this project will try your patience. Pick up your background images and a starting point on the shoe, for me it was the base of the shoe towards the heel. Lay your first background image on the shoe close to the base so you and tuck the end as close to the sole as possible... as you will notice it is hard to curve a flat image to a not so flat surface so here's how to fix it: each piece is different. Cut it into strips so you can smooth it against the surface of the shoe. Sometimes this means vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, which ever way you can find to reduce the buckling/bubbling of the paper. I found that on curved spaces it was best to keep the squares of paper under one inch. On the flatter surfaces of the wedge, the larger pieces laid flat just as they were.
 Once you figure out how to lay that piece, dip your brush in the Mod Podge and paint it onto that section of the shoe. Don't glob it on, and likewise don't use too want enough to make it stick (see the picture to the right), once you do that, place the image onto the sticky shoe and smooth it with your brush (this means mod podge will be on the back and front covering the image completely.)
I apologize for the different shoe! You couldn't see the mod podge in the pic of the bright pink shoe & I wanted to get a good picture so you could see how much to use!
I pressed firmly with my brush to smooth out any bubbles, working them to the edge so it would lay smooth. (I know the mod podge looks foggy at this point, don't worry you aren't smearing the ink off! it dries clear!)You will then take the next piece (it may be part of the same image, if it is be sure to line it up well!) and repeat the process. if you are at a crease or edge in the shoe I recommend putting a little extra mod podge down, and before smoothing the top with more mod podge, take a dry finger/fingernail and smooth it into the crease or tuck it into the edge carefully before smoothing the rest of it down. This came in very important at the seams of the shoe I was working with.
Once you have your background images on the shoe you'll want to repeat the process to put the showstopping images on, for this shoe it was the big Batgirl images. Make sure to coat the edges well to ensure they don't stick up.
Another part that's difficult is the top curve, you don't want jagged edges around it, so curve the paper and put mod podge on the rim!

be sure to tuck in the edges and creases!

Let the shoe completely dry.

Completely dry. See what I mean? I didn't lay out the back ground images to ensure that no one color would all be grouped together. Batgirl would have stood out more if it wasn't for all that black around her.

Dry shoe.

Here would be the part where you could, if you wish, super glue on rhinestones,  put on some spikes (I will try to do a tutorial on that at a later date) or add any embellishments, personal doodles, etc. Since I didn't want to add any to this shoe, I skipped ahead to:

The gloss coat. There were so many ways to go about this final step to your new shoes. You could do 2-3 layers of glossy Mod Podge, letting dry each layer at a time. You could use polyurethane which would make them water proof ( I recommend don't want to fall in love with your shoes and see them destroyed after all that work,) or you could get a spray gloss top coat and spray it 2-3 times, letting it dry each time in between. And Tadaa! Your new shoes are fabulous and ready to tromp around your comic shop!

I'd appreciate to hear your comments so I can make my next tutorial even better! See you guys later!!!!


  1. <3 You are amazing and I love you and I can't wait to wear these to cons!

    1. The biggest compliment! I love to get inspired by the people I meet so thank you for introducing me to Ev and the Birds of Prey as well as Batgirl#3 (which lead of course to the crazy Commissioner Gordon crush realization.)