Ghost Shoes




I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'l...

Ghost shoes are the more ethereal version of the shoes that get tossed onto telephone wires. These are solar-powered and so they charge every day to glow every night.

Dedicated to Paul.

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Step 1: Hack Up a Garden Light

I bought six garden lights for $10 and proceeded to chop them down to the bare essentials. All I wanted was the solar panel, the circuitry, and the battery. The LED is going to get tossed so don't worry about how bright it is at first.

Step 2: Glue in the Battery

These lights are meant to get bounced around and tossed so you want the battery snug in its spot. Grab a glue gun and secure it in there.

Step 3: Replace the LED With a Better One

Chop off the LED and solder in a more efficient diffused one.

Step 4: Start Making Some Shoes

This method of tape-castng has been used by artists such as Mark Jenkins to cool effect and it's extremely easy to do.

Start off by wrapping your shoes with plastic wrap. Make sure you pull it tight and get all around.

Step 5: Wrap With Packing Tape

Now, with some clear packing tape, you're going to wrap the shoes again. Make sure to get a couple layers off the stuff all round. Again, make sure to keep it nice and tight.

Step 6: Cut Yourself Out

Take an X-acto blade and cut down the top of the shoe. You should now be able to get the shoes out. This is easier if you're not wearing the shoes any more.

Step 7: Reseal the Shoes

Take some more packing tape and seal the tops of the shoes again.

Step 8: Shoelace Panels

To be shoes, these will need laces with a good and sturdy connection to the shoe. I cut out some clear pieces of acrylic and drilled a couple holes for the nylon rope to go through.

With these done, insert them inside the shoe and tape them down.

Step 9: Insert the Light Kit Into the Shoe

Place the light kit inside the shoe and tape it up one last time.

Step 10: Tie the Shoes Together

Tie the laces together so you have some ghost shoe bolas ready to go.

Step 11: Throw 'em Over!

These shoes are a little sturdier than I imagined and they can be thrown. The best method I've found is to toss them overhand at a wire.

So go find a street with some wires that is also sufficiently dark. These LEDs are bright, but at 20 feet up they can get lost in the streetlight wash so do a bit of legwork to find an ideal spot.

Many thanks to Tim, Miriam, and Miles who helped me with the inaugural shoe toss.

Step 12: Make Them With Kids!

Vera in the Netherlands recreated the Ghost Shoes with a big group of kids. You can see the class page here. Be sure to click "show normal version" on the top right for easier reading.

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    40 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Sometimes when factory workers retire, they toss their steel-toed boots over a line outside the factory.


    9 years ago on Step 12

    Makes sense.. most drug buys are made at night afterall.. LOL j/k this looks like a lot of fun.. still, i gotta wonder if this group leader or teacher knew what MOST hanging shoes are all about.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent idea! I live in a neighborhood full of drug houses with many dangling shoes, this will be a terrific addition and will surely cause the dealers to do a fair amount of head scratching!

    4 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    heh, my first thought when i saw these was "um... hanging shoes around here means drug house... not sure i want a bunch of stoners knocking on my door..." then i see these comments and seriously laughed so hard i snorted LOL. My kids, they are homeschooled so a bit on the naive side, when they were younger wanted to throw their old tennis shoes over the wires... i had a delicate time trying to explain why that wasnt such a good idea LOL, i went with "well, its not quite legal hon, those people are breaking the rules, you dont want to break the rules do you? ::downtrodden look:: "i guess not..." LOL. Still i can think of all sorts of ways to use this instructable, especially with halloween coming up and yard lights going on sale...Good job!!


    9 years ago on Step 11

    Erm, I do not want to spoil anyone's fun, but is it legal and/or safe to toss self-made objects at vital infrastructure elements?
    Just like LED Throwies, they were (and actually are) pretty cool, but authorities said no-no to throwing them at things you don't own.

    1 reply
    fungus amungusZovits

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 11

    It's a lot safer than throwing real pairs of shoes which are waaay heavier than these.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Love your ghost shoes! I made them for our 2 night time Christmas parades (one pair each to hang on each outside mirror of our car) that we (cloggers) were in. I used 'Q-Branch' Throwies minus the magnets in them instead of solar. Our group loved them and wanted to take them home with them. I keep them, but after the parades were over I added taps on the bottom of the shoes so they looked like clogging shoes and gave them away as Christmas presents to our director and and one clogger who was real sick and miss that one parade. Then made a pair for me. They looked great on my Christmas Tree. I am going to make small ghost clogging shoes for all the cloggers for next Christmas. Small one will look super on the tree. Thank again for a great idea.

    LED Decorated Car.jpg
    2 replies
    fungus amungusBloonie

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Glad they helped to deck out your car and you ahd fun. Just one question: what do you mean by "cloggers"?

    Blooniefungus amungus

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Clogging is an American folk dance that is similar to tap dancing. It is making rhythmic tapping sounds with the feet. Special shoes are used to emphasize the tapping sounds. These usually are soft leather shoes with hard soles and attached metal taps.

    Clogging is influenced by many of the European dance forms, as well as Canadian step dancing and breakdancing. It is done to almost any kind of upbeat music. Country and traditional bluegrass music are the most popular, but cloggers today also dance to pop, rap, hip-hop, anything with a fast beat. Copied from Kelli McChesney website.

    Our group is 50years and older and exhibition for local charities. Below is a link from which as a video clip from America's Best dance Crew with 'Dynamic Edition'(young cloggers) dancing. Lots of fun if you love to dance.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, the shoes that hang from wires mean that drugs are sold in the area. Depending on the color of the shoes, that's the type of drug. Cool i'ble though! I like it.

    2 replies
    fungus amunguslawizeg

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    People throw them up for all sorts of reasons. One of the many explanations is that they are the shoes of someone who has passed away.


    I have read many theories about why people throw shoes up on telephone lines. What is even more interesting is why people throw hundreds of pairs up in trees!!! I can only imagine a tree filled with ghost shoes on a spooky, windy night.