Intro: DIY Bead Embellished Flip Flops
I joined a “flip-flop-swap” on-line this summer and again looked to my favorite sites (including this one) for inspiration.
Let’s just say that I figured out that Instructables needed an ‘Embellish your own Flip Flops’ set of instructions, and I just so happened to be making a pair of embellished flip flops!
Made with ribbon, beads, shell beads, and buttons, I plan on making my personal (grey) pair using some flea market clip earrings as a centerpiece. (But that’s another day!)
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- Pair of Flip Flops
- Ribbon – 1/2-inch thick to no more than 1-1/2-inch thick, a total of about 9 to 10-feet long.
- Pearls, I used 6 mm (but 8 mm could also be used)
- Seed beads
- Shells and/or other type of matching beads
- Containers for the beads (I used plastic baggies when needed)
- Buttons and/or other smaller embellishments such as earrings, pendants, nail decorations or other “bling” such as glue-on jewels, etc.
- Beading thread and beading needle (I used size 10 and 13, and four broke)
- Wire cutters or button shank cutters if you use buttons with shanks on them.
- Aleene’s tacky glue and I use toothpicks to place it
The first shoe took me about three-and-a-half to four hours to complete because I was trying to get the hang of it. I tried regular sewing machine thread at first, only to be extremely disappointed in it as it snapped more times that I could remember.
I probably completed the second flip flop in about three hours as well.
Total time commitment: About six (6) hours.
Step 2: Place the Ribbon Around the Straps
I used about five (5) feet of ribbon for each shoe. The wider the ribbon, the less you will need as it covers more surface area.
The photos for the pink flip flops show what it would look like to use a 1-1/2 inch wide ribbon, where the grey flip flops show what it would be like to use a 1/2-inch wide ribbon.
Starting on the lower left-hand side of the first strap, begin by gluing the ribbon to the inside strap as close as you can to the bottom. (Your foot will cover any exposed area on the inside.)
Wrap the ribbon upward around the first strap until to meet the toe-insert.
Add a little bit of glue to the top where the two straps meet.
Continue to wrap the ribbon around the other side of the strap until you get to the bottom, where you cut the ribbon and glue it down to the inside.
In order to have an area to sew the beads to, take a left over piece of ribbon and glue it to the inside of the top of the left-hand strap.
Not concerning yourself with the front side or back side of the ribbon showing, wrap the ribbon so that it alternates from one side of the strap and up and over the other side. The photos might ‘explain’ this better and shows this done with the two different widths of ribbon.
A wider ribbon will only have to be wrapped about twice to get a good surface area to sew the beads to; however you may have some issues with “slack”.
I learned while doing this that the smaller the ribbon width, the less slack you will have to put on it.
One thing to note that if you have wide feet (like mine) is that you should try the flip flop on after wrapping the ribbon around both straps, but before the last trim and gluing to ensure that they fit around your foot.
There will be “slack” using a wider ribbon, that will not show up as much or if at all as compared with a smaller-width ribbon. As with my flip flops, that slack can be folded over and sewn into the project, completely covered up by the bling.
Trim the ribbon and glue to the top of the previous row. Let dry at least an hour.
Repeat the above steps for the second flip flop.
Step 3: Embellish the Ribbon
I started out by cutting the shanks off the buttons I chose to glue onto the flip flop. I suggest letting the glue from the buttons dry at least a half-hour before starting to sew the beads onto it.
Next, hide the knot of the string to start sewing by going under and through two ribbons that are set on top of each other.
Glue the first bead to the location where you begin the sewing.
Each bead has to be sewn on separately, not strung together first and then sewn on (unless you are going for that strung-together look.) This means that a bead (or shell bead) gets placed on the string, you sew it in place by going through all thicknesses of the ribbon, and place another bead before sewing again.
This is where the time commitment takes place.
I had no particular pattern, other than not wanting to place one type of bead right next to the exact same kind. The options of the three beads (including the different shell colors) worked great for me and I like the variety. I am going to use 8 mm size of pearls on my pair.
I also was not too concerned about sewing the beads to the sides of the straps. I think that’s possible, it’s just not what I chose to do.
I finally want to note that I had to put more beading thread on the needle than I expected. I re-strung the needle at least three times per flip flop, each time hiding the knot into the layers of ribbon so it would not show.
When all of the beads and shells were placed, I spot glued any loose beads or shells.
I let the flip flops dry overnight before trying them on the next day.
I had to let these cute pink flip flops go to my flip-flop swap partner, but I did start my own pair and will hopefully be able to finish those before the end of summer!