d20 Shoe Clips: A girly, geeky, DIY-Girl Hack

by Meris on March 1, 2012

I was faced with a common dilemma: I had a new dress to wear to an upcoming semi-formal party, and no shoes that matched the level of “glitz” of the dress. My default pair of almost-worn-out heels have seen more than their share of college parties, clubs, and weddings.

I thought that buying a new pair of dress shoes, maybe a pair of silver stilettos, would solve my shoe woes. But the shoe gods (and the many other post-holiday shoe bargain hunters) had other plans for me. I couldn’t find anything in my size, nor could I find a shoe I could get multiple uses out of. After three different stores, I was getting frustrated.

My salvation came from Etsy. I followed a link in one of their emails and found myself browsing through a shoe clip shop. I had never heard of the concept before! I could add some flair to my existing shoes and save myself some money. Most of the shoe clips were being sold as wedding shoe embellishments: a clever way to get your “something blue” onto your outfit in a classy way. There are some stunning options for sale on Etsy, but shoe clips can also be a simple DIY Girl Hack that you can tackle in an evening and add some variation to your shoe collection.

A bit of Googling brought me to a number of shoe clip tutorials. I wanted it to be a flower, so I also searched “fabric flower” embellishment tutorials. The final product was inspired by a number of different blogs:

I learned about the components of the shoe clips, especially the types of clips:  Green Wedding Shoes Blog

I learned how to make and singe a fabric flower that would allow me to glue or sew something into the center of it (and this blog had a template for the petals): Simply Vintage Girl Blog

This is a great project for those fabric scraps you’ve been saving since your last costume.

Petal template and fabric petal pieces

Best trick I learned? Holding the [synthetic] fabric a few inches over a candle and the fabric will melt to resemble a realistic flower. The fabric needs to have some amount of plastic in it to melt. The flowers in the following pictures are only partly curled. As I melted more fabric circles (catching one on fire, and nearly burning my hand*) I decided that the first few circles could be MORE singed and curled.

Fabric circles + flame = curled flowers!

*Note: I recommend using some kind of tongs (craft or kitchen) that can handle being close to heat. I never actually burned my fingers, but holding fabric 2-3 inches above a candle did get very hot and the heat stung a little.

The party I would be attending was for a geeky company, so I wanted to display my own geek cred in my accessorizing. I went to my local game store and searched through the d20 dice bucket for a good 5-10 minutes. I wanted to find a blue that matched my dress, and I found something close-ish. It has a black swirl through the blue, but in the dark it is hard to see.

Once the flower petals were melted and stitched together, I grabbed my hot glue gun and added the d20’s into the center of the flower.

A little thread and needle work to get all of the layered petals to stay in place.

Every step in these shoe clips will be a critical hit!

The final step was to attach the clipping mechanism. Many of the tutorials suggested a specific shoe-clip/jewelry-clip that they bought in bulk on Etsy. I also saw mention of alligator clips and clip-on earring backs (both available in the jewelry section of your local craft store). I used alligator clips, but they are narrow so the flower wobbles a bit, even though I used felt to provide a stiffer backing. I bought a pack of clip-on earring backs for my next shoe clip project.

A little more hot glue, and we are done!

You can glue anything to those clips. It doesn’t have to be flowers. And as you can see from the tutorials link here, the flowers (or bows, or feather embellishments) can also be used for home decor or enhancing headbands, jewelry, or clothing.

Now, don’t you think your shoe collection would love some interchangeable decoration?

Stepping out in style (and hiding the fact that the show straps are starting to fray).


 Meris is always looking for new hacks and DIY skills that enable her to live more sustainably and self-sufficiently. Her free time is consumed by Dungeons & Dragons, rewatching her favorite geeky shows and movies, and sewing costumes for the next convention,
Twitter: @merismullaley

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