How to Bronze Shoes

You can learn how to bronze shoes to preserve precious memories of your baby's tiny feet, to give as a gift to parents on a child's first birthday, or to share as a treasured memento for grandparents. You can also bronze other types of shoes such as bridal or ballet shoes, cowboy boots, or athletic shoes. Learning how to preserve shoes can be a skill you can turn into a profit-making business or a satisfying hobby.

Steps

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    Know your bronzing options. Shoes can be bronzed by sending them away to a company that specializes in shoe bronzing, by purchasing a bronze plate machine, or by doing it yourself at home. The costs of shoe bronzing can vary widely. Buying an electroplating kit can be the most expensive way to go, but you can also purchase do-it-yourself shoe bronzing materials.
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    Purchase a bronzing kit, or buy the things needed to do the shoe bronzing yourself. To bronze shoes yourself, you will need a paintbrush, bronze powder, fast-drying varnish, wire, rubber bands, and denatured alcohol. You may also want to purchase plaster and black spray paint.
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    Add plaster to the inside of the shoes before bronzing. Do this if the shoes are tiny or you want to add extra weight and balance to the finished product. Mix up some plaster, and fill the inside of the shoes to within 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) of the top each shoe. Wait for the plaster to dry completely before bronzing.
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    Clean the shoes thoroughly. Make sure all the dirt, wax, and polish are removed from the tread of the shoes and the creases, especially those around the ankles and toes. If the shoes have laces, remove the laces and wash those separately.
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    Air dry the shoes completely.
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    Use a swab dipped in denatured alcohol to finish the cleaning process.
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    Air dry completely.
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    Arrange the laces and the tongue of the shoes, and rubber cement them into place. Let the glue dry. To keep the laces in place, you can tie and glue them down flat onto the shoe. Keep the bows in place with a rubber band until the glue is dry.
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    Make a hole in the sole of the shoe, and run a string or wire through the hole so that you can hang the shoe for drying later.
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    Mix the bronze powder and the varnish together until you have the consistency of a thick paint.
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    Paint the shoes with the bronzing mixture, and hang to dry.
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    Add more coats of the shoe bronzing paint as needed to cover dull spots.
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    Add an antique look by spraying the bronzed shoes with a black or umber-colored paint and then wiping it off, leaving black in the creases of the shoes.

Tips

  • Before bronzing tennis or ballet shoes, you may want to tie the laces or remove them completely.
  • The shoe bronzing powder will settle to the bottom of the varnish/powder mixture, so be sure to stir frequently.
  • Make sure the tongue of the shoe is touching the side of the shoe to make the finished product look neater. If you are filling the shoes with plaster this step can keep the plaster from leaking through and showing.
  • If using plaster, don't forget to run the wire or the string through the sole first.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Rubber cement or superglue
  • Black or umber-colored spray paint
  • Bronzing kit or bronzing powder
  • Fast-drying varnish
  • Wire or string
  • Paintbrush
  • Plaster
  • Rubber bands

Article Info

Categories: Metalwork and Wire Projects