Show your love of Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes with this Polymer Clay Project and make a keychain, a pendant or a pair of earrings! You can make yours in your favourite color by following along with this Instructable.
For this project you will need polymer clay in:
(I used Premo Sculpey)
Premo Accents Silver (optional)
Various tools: (work mat, roller, detail tools)
Jewelry finding(s): for earrings, pendant, or keychain (will be attached before baking)
For baking: a baking pan dedicated for polymer clay (or a pan covered in foil).
(Do not use pans with food after baking with polymer clay).
So Let's get started with our Chuck's...
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Step 1: Getting Started & Some Tips
Before you begin, ensure that you have conditioned your clay (worked and kneaded it to distribute plasticizers and to make clay more pliable).
These Chuck Taylor's are small (about an inch long), so you won't need very much clay. I conditioned a 1/2 ounce of white, black, raw sienna and only a 1/4 ounce of the silver (optional, for the eyelets, but you can use white if you don't have silver handy). You will have left over clay!
Make sure that you clean your hands and work surface between clay colors to avoid color contamination. Baby wipes or hand sanitizer work well to clean up between clay colors.
And don't forget to leave me a comment and post pictures of your Chuck Taylor All Star's!
Step 2: Making Our Chuck Taylor All Stars
Start with your raw sienna and roll out a clay rectangle 1/4 inch thick (about 2 inches long x 1 inch wide). Using a toothpick (or other tool) draw the shape for the bottom of the shoe into the clay and then cut it out. (My shoe is about 1 inch long). You don't have to carve the sides perfectly smooth as you will be covering the edges later.
Once you have the sole cut out, you can add some details to mimic the tread on the bottom.
Using your shoe color (in this case its black), shape a tongue piece and attach it to the sole (as shown in the images) so that there is room left for the toe cap.
Main Body of Shoe:
Now you'll make the main body of the shoe by rolling out a rectangle of clay in our shoe color, with a thinner layer of white rolled onto one side. The total thickness will be about 1/8 inch.
To get the right shape*, you'll want to trim the width of your rectangle so that its about 3/4 the length of the sole (to get roughly the correct height for the sides). The length of your rectangle should be the distance around your shoe sole, minus the toe cap area. Refer to the images to see the approximate tapered shape you'll need to cut.
*For a more precise method, you can wrap a small piece of paper around the sole and trim the paper to the correct shape and then transfer the paper template to the clay for easier trimming.
Once the main body of the shoe has been cut out, you can attach it to the sole and tongue (like shown in the images).
Step 3: Adding the Details
Next you'll need a small piece of white clay to shape a toe cap. Once you've attached that, add a small, thin strip of black to the edge of the toe cap (as shown in images) to mimic the real Chuck Taylor All Star's. (You can partially overlap the sides of the shoe sole for easier attaching).
For the sides of the sole, you'll need to roll out a thin rectangle of clay in white. The width should be trimmed to 1/4" (the thickness of the sole) and the length should fit entirely around the sole edges. Take your time attaching this piece (as thinner pieces of clay can be harder to work with).
Around the sides of the sole is a black pin stripe. Making this piece is a little challenging, but well worth the detail. Simply measure out the 2 lengths you'll need (for both sides) and roll a thin rectangle of clay in black and trim it so that's its very narrow (refer to the images). Attaching this piece was a bit of a pain, but I found rolling it loosely around a toothpick helped in getting this small detail in place.
Vents & Eyelets:
For these pieces you can either use all white or a half & half ratio of white and silver (like I did). The effect isn't that noticeable in my images, but the silver is a nice touch if you choose to use it, (so as mentioned, Premo Accents Silver is optional).
On the inside of the shoe are two small vent holes. If you want to include this little detail, make 2 small "donut" shapes and attach them (like shown in the images).
For the eyelets (holes for the laces), roll out a log of clay (making the diameter the size you want for the eyelets). Then cut thin slices from the log until you have 14 circles made (7 eyelets per side). Space the eyelets out evenly on both sides and using a toothpick (or other tool), bore out the center of the circle to make the eyelet shapes.
The laces might look complicated, but they are no more difficult than tying your shoes! Simple roll out a very thin "string" of clay and cut a short length to reach from one eyelet across to another (instead of making it all a continuous lace). I found it easiest to start from the top and did the right side laces only and then began back at the top to overlap the left side laces over the right. The bottom piece is straight across. Its totally up to you on how you want the laces to look. You can add a bow and lace ends if you prefer (just ensure these piece are well attached in various locations to prevent breakage after baking!)
If you're making a larger version of these shoes, you can do a transfer method with the actual logos, but since the logos are extremely small in this version, I opted to make them all from clay.
On the back heel of the shoe (in the white banding area) is a small rectangle (with the All Star logo in print). Since it was far too small to get any real detail, I only made a tiny rectangle (in white) to cover the ends of the black pin stripes.
On the inside upper portion of the shoe is a round logo. Depending on the size of your shoe, there should be enough room to make a tiny star to fit in the center. To make this, you'll want to cut out a thin circle (in proportion to your shoe) in white, and then a tiny star for the center. I choose to go with black (but if you have a tiny scrap of blue, you can make the star in their traditional colors).
Step 4: Baking the Clay
Once your shoe is completed, go over it and smooth out any fingerprints you may have left behind and adjust any details you are not completely happy with (okay that's a little OCD, but hey...) Or make a second shoe to match!!!
Then add your jewelry finding(s) for either earrings, a necklace charm, keychain, etc.
Inside the shoe(s) you can add a small log of foil to keep the area open and upright and add any other necessary armature (supports) for areas that may need it (like shoe lace bows).
Then place the shoe(s) on your baking tile (pan, cookie sheet etc) and bake according to the directions on your clay package (or on the clay company's website).
Allow to cool fully (to complete the curing and hardening process). You can now buff it to a shine, or add a protective coating (that is compatible with the clay you used).
Be sure to check out Sculpey (The makers of Sculpey and Premo Polymer Clays), and don't forget to post photos in the comments section (below) of your new Chuck Taylor All Star's Shoes in Clay!!!
Participated in the
Play With Clay Contest