How to Customize Your Own High Heels

Stand out at your next dance or party with embellished heels.
... Brian Ach/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The back of your closet may be home to that one pair of heels that fits you like a glove, but never sees the light of day. Shoes that are a plain or scuffed don't always make you feel your best, and it can be easier to give up comfort for a night out in some glittery pumps. You can have both comfort and style by customizing the heels for yourself. Give those unloved heels a new lease on life and make them top-shelf material again.

Dampen a cloth, and wipe the bodies of the shoes and the heels down in a circular motion to remove any loose debris or dust. Allow the shoes to dry, and place them on a sheet of newspaper in a well-ventilated area. Paint adheres best to synthetic or leather shoes.

Cover the heels and any visible portions of the soles with masking tape to protect them from the paint.

Hold a can of opaque acrylic spray paint 10 inches away from the first shoe and coat it evenly. Don't paint the tape-covered heel or sole. Repeat on the second shoe. Allow the shoes to dry completely.

Use a pencil to create dots on the painted fabric where you would like the embellishments to be placed. A cluster along the toe will create a ballet-shoe effect, and a scattered design will look more bohemian.

Apply fabric adhesive to the back of a gem, and press the gem firmly on top of a marking. Hold it here for 10 seconds and release. Repeat until all the pencil marks on both of the shoes are covered. Choose rhinestones for an bold effect, or small colored jewels for a subtle look.

Remove the masking tape from the heels. Cover the part of the sole that meets the heel of each shoe in masking tape to protect it.

Pour a 1/4 cup of white glue and 2 tablespoons of craft glitter into a bowl. Mix them together with a spoon until a uniform paste is formed. Use fine craft glitter for heels that shimmer in the light, and dense glitter for a dressed-up style. Choose a craft glue that dries clear so that only the glitter is visible.

Dip a small paintbrush into the paste and position it at the top of the heel. Brush it downwards until you reach the tip of the shoe's heel. Repeat, working your way around the heel until an opaque coverage is achieved. Repeat on the other heel, and allow the shoes to dry completely.

Hold a can of clear, acrylic, sealant spray paint 10 inches away from the shoes. Apply one even coat to each shoe, and allow the shoes to dry. This will protect your design from wear and the elements.

  • If you get spray paint or fabric glue on your hands, wash them with warm water and soap immediately.
  • If you wear your shoes regularly, apply an additional coat of sealant once a month.

Celeigh O'Neil has been writing professionally since 2008. She has a Bachelor of fine arts from the University of Ottawa, as well as degrees in fashion illustration/design, digital arts and certification in hair and makeup artistry. O'Neil was a frequent contributor to Toronto's "Dialog" newspaper and has worked as an instructional writer, creating lessons in fashion, art and English for students of all ages.