Introduction: Dinosaur Heels
After the internet went crazy a month ago for these dinosaur shoes I knew I wanted to recreate them. If you read about those shoes while they were trending then you probably know that these shoes were reposted allovertheplace. Every article had the same grainy picture and everyone was asking the same two questions: "where can I get some?" and "how were they made?".
I'm here to tell you that you can make them yourself, and I'm going to show you how.
Here's the basics on what you need:
Ready to make your own? Let's get started!
Step 1: Materials + Concept
- faux crocodile skin ladies heels - thrift store - $7.00
- plastic dinosaurs - Dollar Store - $2.00
- 1/4" bolts - hardware store - $5.00
- spring doorstops - hardware store - $1.50
Dinosaurs: You will need to find dinosaurs that are roughly the same size as the heels you want to replace. My local Dollar Store had an entire bin of appropriately sized dinosaurs for me to choose from. Dilophosaurus worked best for me.
Shoes: I chose a crocodile skin texture for my shoes, as it looked the most dinosaur-esque and matched my dinosaurs
Bolts: Any 1/4" bolt will work. I chose these u-bolts to experiment with, but ended up not using the u-bend like I had thought and just cut them straight.
End Caps: I needed to protect the end of the heel spikes from damaging any floor surfaces when walking. I tried to reuse the old heel caps but they just didn't work with my new design. I found that the plastic caps found on spring soorstops fit perfectly and are made from a thick, tough plastic. Perfect for this application. And, if they ever get worn out, they are easy to replace.
Step 2: Heel Removal
I'm sure all ladies shoes are manufactured in a similar fashion. Your shoes may be slightly different in construction and may require a different method than the ones shown here for modification.
I started by removing the small plastic heel cap with pliers, then bisected the decorative leather sole at the heel and removed the sole portion that was glued to the heel. Tsaking care not to damage the faux crocodile skin on the heel, the skin was peeled back and removed. Set aside this scrap of crocdile skin for later as we'll be using it in Step 6 to cover the underside of the shoe where the old heel used to be.
The heel of these shoes were held on with a large industrial cleat that mechanically fastened the heel to the sole and adhesive. The cleat was attached from the top of the shoe under the insole through the sole and embedded deep in the plastic heel. It was no small undertaking removing this cleat. I worked for about 20 minutes getting these heels off.
Once removed the old plastic heels can be discarded.
Step 3: Welding Prep
After the cleat and heel are removed it's time to prepare the shoe for welding.
This shoe has a steel shank under the insole for support, my shoe had the shank riveted to the insole, so the entire insole was removed from the shoe. The underside of the shank was abraded at the heel with a rotary tool, this will clear away any debris and prepare the surface for accepting a weld.
The heel cleat opening left a jagged edge which needed to be fixed. I easily cut away excess shoe around the cleat opening and then reinserted the shank-insole back into the shoe to approximated where I was going to weld my new steel heel spike, the new heel location was marked on the steel shank with indelible marker.
Step 4: Heel Welding
The original heel for this shoe had a wide flange at the heel which helped support the width and weight of the heel and foot. This new design calls for a slender, uniform heel spike and will require a platform to support the wearer's weight in lieu of a wide flange like the original.
A small heel platform was made from scrap 1/8" sheet steel. I used an angle grinder to cut out rough rectangles, then rounded the corners until I had a platform that fit inside the insole. The platform was then welded to the steel shank.
The 1/4" stainless steel bolts were then lined up and tacked in place to ensure position was correct. While the bold is tack welded on is a good time to make any minor adjustments to the angle of the bolt. It helped to put the insole and shank back in the shoe with the tack weld to ensure the heels are perpendicular to the ground. When alignment is ensured, weld the bolts in place for both shoes.
Cut heel spike to length:
After welding the insole and shank was put back into the shoe with the dinosaur placed along side. The heel spike was then cut to be about 1/4" longer than the height of where the dinosaur back will meet the shoe.
Step 5: Dinosaur Placement
After welding it's time to decide our dinosaur placement. I lined up my dinosaur under the heel of my shoe with the underside of the heel resting on the back hump. Looking down from the top of the shoe into the opening, I marked on the dinosaur where the sole and dinosaur met. Then, using a 1/4" bit, drilled a 1/4" opening through the dinosaur.
Getting the angle and exit point correct on the dinosaur was difficult. I picked up an extra dinosaur that I made several openings through until I got the angle I was looking for, then transferred those locations onto the other dinosaurs.
Step 6: Cover Rough Edges + Glue Insole
Remember the heel covering I asked you to set aside in Step 2? We're going to use them here.
Even with a dinosaur covering up most of where the old heel used to be the location still has ugly edges that need to be addressed. Using the old heel covering I covered the underside of the shoe and trimmed to match. This faux covering had a white exposed edge when cut which I coloured in with a green indelible marker. A small opening was then made in the covering for the new heel spike.
Step 7: Paint, Then Glue
To help really sell the notion that the dinosaur is supporting the weight of the shoe wearer I camouflaged the shiny steel heel spike and end cap with green spray paint. Before paint the steel spike was roughed up with emery cloth and wiped with a damp rag, then left to dry. The plastic heel caps were also roughed up with 150 grit sandpaper.
The tan sole looked out of place with my new dinosaur heels, so I masked off the rest of the shoe, sanded the sole and spray painted two coats of flat black paint to the underside of the shoe
I gave these elements two coats of paint, waiting about 30 minutes between applications then allow to completely dry overnight.
Once dry the entire assembly can be fitted together. Once satisfied that paint and heel placement is correct, use a strong adhesive to glue the insole and shank to the inside of the shoe, then install dinosaurs onto heel spikes and use more adhesive to glue them in place. Finally, glue the heel caps onto the end of the heel spike.
Step 8: Prehistoric Pumps
Once the glue is dry you are ready to wear your prehistoric pumps to your next paleontology party!
Dinosaur heels, where haute couture meets the Jurassic Period. These dinosaur heels turn heads wherever they go, and the sturdy welding ensures that these shoes will last for years to come... or maybe just until the next ice age.
What dinosaurs would you put in your shoes?
Have you made your own dinosaur shoes based on this design? I want to see your creation!
Share a picture of your dinosaur shoes in the comments below.
Happy making :)