Introduction: Swarovski Stilettos - by Verity Vale

About: A promotional, body, nyotaimori, retro and pin-up model, along with my other event production work in London.

Start off with a plain pair of firm shoes, leather based best but a firm pair of fabric shoes can work too or strappy sandals work well if your only doing the heel.

It can take around 300 x4.5mm stones to do two heels and 100x3mm +100x 2.8mm flat stones to finish it off.
Time wise can take anything from 2-6hour for heels,depending on the pair of heels and size of stones, too small a stone and you will be there all night.

You will need -for Stoning a high heel- roughly for a size 4:
Flat back Rhinestones*: 1500 x 4.5mm + 100 x 3mm + 100 x 2.8mm for one shoe

*Swarovski Crystals can be found on line and I tend to use these as the quality is better and they give a better sparkle.

Glue : need a glue that dries clear and wont melt the stones if your using plastic, I use applie glue that the bead shop sells, but I might use a stronger glue UHU on the stones that get the most wear, eg toe and inside shoe faces that can rub against each other but its far more tricksy to use.

Cocktail sticks : Can chop the ends off for a blunt tool.

White tack : For the ends of the cocktail sticks...or you can use a cotton bud dipped in melted candle wax and left to harden.

Pins : Thin long dress making pins will do nicely.

Cotton thread : To help as a guide line.

For Spraying a pair of shoes first: Hobby can of spray paint/Duct or Gaffa tape / Box to spray in or newspaper / Tinfoil (bakerfoil) / Face Mask

Step 1: Masking Off:

If the shoe is not already the colour of the rhinestones you want to use, you may have to spray them with a hobby spray paint as a base colour (I tend to use a Plastic-Kote project paint from the paint isle in B&Q) that will work on the fabric of the shoe.

If they need soleing for grip whilst wear, best to take them to the cobbler first if they are new before stoning them as its hard for them to do it after and might ruin all your hard work. If you wear insoles to cushion your feet and the shoes are new?
Best to put them in now and walk around all evening in them as there is nothing worse than finding out later that they hurt like hell and all your work is to waste.

*Oooh top tip form my gran, you might want to cut out where your toes go in your insoles, especially in heels, so they don't cram your toes and will give them a bit of space over the insole lip to wriggle in the end, so you don't get the dreaded toe cramp at the end of the evening.

I want to use these gold shoes I am doing here for photo work, as well as wear, so I am spraying the base to match, other wise I would mask off the base as well as the heel for normal use.

You need to mask off the areas you don't want painted with tape before you start and give it a few coats so the colour is even. You can use masking tape, but it can tend to let the paint run if your a bit heavy handed with the paint, the tape gets too damp and curls up at the edges letting in any further coats added and a furry smudged paint edge.

A plastic coated sticky tape (I tend to use duct tape rather than electrical tape as it tends to work better) can mask off the inside of the shoe up to the inside seam to stop paint being on the inside of the shoe and then flaking off on your stockings when wearing them later.

Step 2: Spraying the Shoe:

Spray Painting the shoe can be tricksy, to get the shoe to stand upright to be sprayed if you stuff the shoe after its masked with scrunched up Tin foil/Bakeafoil it will mould to shoe and the ground below it, helping the shoe stand while upside down ready to be sprayed.

I spray them in an opened out box out side so the fall out spray is easier to clean up and they can be lifted easily to dry some place else if it starts to rain.

Failing that you can use newspaper laid down but I tend not to use it because if it blows up with the wind ,the paper can stick to the shoe and the nice new painted surface is ruined.

When all coats completely dry take off the tape.
(Best to leave overnight just to make sure)

Step 3: Start Stoning Heels:

Prepare your work area, lay the flat back stones out face up on a plate rather than on the table so they are easy to move or tidy.

I use a cocktail stick as a tool with a small piece of white tack wrapped around the end to lift the stones and have a few ready for later, as the glue after a while will make it less tacky.
I also have a few cosmetic cotton buds (the pointy end ones or trim a normal one to a small point) ready to mop up any excess glue that leaks from under the stone.

Then get comfortable, as sticking these little suckers on takes hours, it takes me around ten hours to do one shoe!

Heels: I
Tend to start on the heel first at the base and work around and up the heel from the inside to the outer edge as I get further up. First one line around and then another on top to build up the layers.

I pick up a stone on the end of my stick on the shiney side,squeeze a small dot of glue on the back and gently tap it in place.
A small amount of glue around the base of the crystal I normally leave as it dries clear and helps give extra stick to the stone as its on a shoe and needs to be stable because of wear.

Too much excess glue and it can be wiped away with a damp cotton bud.
The small gaps at the edges can be filled with smaller flat backed stones to make it look neater.

I tend to do a few lines of stones on one shoe and then do a few lines on the other, just so they match in the end.
I found after doing one complete shoe for hours, its harder to remember where you started the first time with the other shoe and more difficult to get them to look even as an end result.

Step 4: Stoning Toes:

Toe: If I am stoning the whole shoe I start next on the toe after I have done the heel .

To get a straight line of stones to start with I put two pins parallel, in the middle at the top and bottom of the seam edge of the shoe and then tie a piece of cotton around them, so I get two parallel lines as a guide to start sticking the stones in-between.
I don't tend to use tape as it can either take off the paint on the shoe or leave a residue.
I find cotton easier to use as a guide but a masking tape or electrical tape can be used, just best to test first.
I stick a stone at the top first and work my way down to the toe and then do the other shoe.
From there I work from the top of the toe outward each side of the first parallel line, going around each shoe.

Gluing lines of stones on one shoe then the other in turns, gives time for the glue to dry in each line, so when you get to do the next line its dry and wont slide out of place and go wonky when pushing the next line of stones in place.

Step 5: Nearly Done:

You can either stop at just the toe:
Going down and around the toe, to keep the line straight and looking even. You might have to use a smaller stone or two at the toe curve going over, whilst working down because of the tight squeeze of stones and to get the desired even looking effect.

Step 6: Finished Shoe:

Or carry on stoneing up the side and do the whole shoe!
 All you need do is finish of the edges with the smaller stones, to make it look neater at the edges where there are spaces to fill.

 Leave to dry for the night and then lightly buff to bring out the shine in the morning.
Then you are ready to party the weekend away!