There’s a fashion-world equivalent to the self-dubbed-hipster quip, “I saw that band before they were famous,” and it goes a little something like this: I wanted these shoes before every single style blogger was wearing them on Instagram. I have to proof, too. Like an intrepid inventor who mails herself sealed envelopes filled with million dollar ideas, I pin the things I see and love and have to have. Thirty one weeks ago, I pinned these pom-pom-bedecked lace-up sandals and now, I finally have them.
In true Homemade Banana fashion, I opted to make my own iteration instead of clicking that buy now button because, well, they seemed so easy to recreate and saving almost $200 is nothing to sneeze at. The result is truly so, so similar that it makes it worth the little bit of elbow grease required to braid all that friendship bracelet trim. Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing that although they were inspired by a now-ubiquitous style, your shoes are truly one of a kind.
Keep reading for detailed instructions on how to whip up your own pair of statement sandals. And yes, I am aware that last weekend marked the end of the summer season, but since I’m currently living in Texas where summer won’t end for a few more months, just go with me on this one! It’s never a bad idea to start stockpiling for next summer, anyway.
For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a pair of inexpensive lace-up gladiator sandals (the ones I used are sold out, but I found several other great options here, here, here and here)
• 15 to 20 colors of embroidery thread
• pom-poms (I used these)
• coral charms
• colorful stone beads like these
• gold head pins
• jump rings
• needlenose pliers
• needle and thread
1. The first thing to do is whip up a few lengths of friendship bracelet from your stockpile of embroidery thread. The number and length you’ll need is entirely dependent on the sandals you’re working with, so use those as a guide. For each one of my sandals I needed one long piece and four shorter pieces of friendship bracelet, so 10 pieces total. This is definitely the most time consuming part, but it’s really fun to work on the bracelets while you’re watching, say, a Harry Potter marathon on TV.
If you’re having trouble recalling the ins and outs of friendship bracelet making from your summer camp days, check out this video for a quick tutorial. I used a five-color chevron pattern because it was the perfect width for the straps on my sandals. If you need a thinner bracelet, use fewer colors; if you need a thicker bracelet, use more.
2. Knot each length of bracelet both ends and trim off the excess thread. Fold the knots under so they don’t show and glue the ends down with E6000 glue. Then, apply a small line of glue down the length of the underside of the bracelet and place in on your sandal. Hold in place for about 30 seconds so it doesn’t move around too much when you let go. After you glue all of these on, wait for about 24 hours for the glue to fully cure before you touch the sandals.
3. In the meantime, you can get started on the other decorations. To create the all-important pom-pom charms, thread a head pin through a pom-pom and trim off the excess pin, leaving about 1/4″ on the end. Use your needlenose pliers to create a loop at the end of the pin, then attach a jump ring to that. Repeat until you have about 26 pom-pom charms. Then, repeat the process with any stone or coral charms you have. The more the better!
4. Once the glue has fully dried, go back in with a needle and thread and tack down the ends of the friendship bracelets. All it takes is four or five stitches—just enough to keep the ends from curling up.
5. Using the needlenose pliers, attach the charms you’ve made to the shoelaces, making sure to space them out evenly. Attach two or three charms to each shoelace end for a playful finish. And that’s it! All you have to do now is lace up those bad boys and take them out for a spin.