Written by Jessica of The Ladyette.
I’ve had a pair of boat shoes for several years. I wore them out in college and then even when they looked like they were on their last life line, I just couldn’t bear to throw them out. So naturally, that means they need some sprucing up. A little embellishment. Some polka dot fabric, metallic ribbon, and an afternoon later these boat shoes had a second life.
Boat Shoe Embellishment Tutorial
Supplies Needed: a pair of boat shoes, scrap fabric, Mod Podge, a sponge brush, scissors, a utility (or exacto) knife, and approximately 30-35″ of metallic ribbon
Step 1: Using the scissors, cut your pieces of scrap fabric into a size and shape similar to the area of the boat shoe being covered. This is as simple as laying the fabric over top of the shoe and cutting out a shape. It doesn’t have to be perfect because it will be trimmed later.
Step 2: Make sure the surface area of the shoe is clean and remove the laces. Using the sponge brush, apply a thick layer of Mod Podge to the area of the shoe that will be covered in fabric. For hard to reach areas like the tongue of the shoe, it can be easier to work in sections. In this case, I covered the toe area in glue, moved on to step 3, then came back and started at step 2 again with the tongue.
Step 3: Place the fabric over the area covered in glue. Make sure to rub it down firmly and smooth out any bumps or bubbles. Stick your hand into the shoe and apply pressure from both the top and bottom to be sure it the glue will hold. It will need about ten minutes to dry enough to move on, so repeat step 2 in other areas at this time.
Step 4: Trim the excess fabric around the glued area. This can be done with the utility knife or the scissors, whichever you are more comfortable with. If you notice edges not being fully glued down, go back and add more glue and hold them in place until it has begun to dry.
Step 5: Using the sponge brush again, apply a moderate coat of Mod Podge to the top of the fabric. Cover all the edges to prevent fraying. The Mod Podge will dry clear and will act as a sealer for the fabric. To work with the tongue area, I used the old laces to hold the flaps back by running the laces through the holes and tying them underneath the shoe. Apply the Mod Podge to the back edges of the tongue so the fabric can be wrapped around behind for a finished look. Apply some Mod Podge over top of all the fabric behind the tongue as well.
Step 6: Allow about one hour for all of the Mod Podge to fully dry. Once dry, remove the old laces holding the flaps back. Cut the ribbon into two equal pieces and lace the shoes to your liking.
Done! Now these much loved boat shoes can take one last spin at life, and look quite a bit fancier!