How to Glitterize a Pair of Shoes




Have an old pair of shoes that you really like but are starting to look worn out?  The color is fading?  The color doesn't match with anything?  Want to try an affordable way to spruce up your wardrobe? 

I found the essentials to these instructions on a fashion blog called Annie Spandex.  The method of application was really great, but after doing the project myself, I realized that some more detailed instructions and ideas for how to cope with certain problems would have made the process a lot easier.  Thus, I have created this instructable to fill in the gaps and create a comprehensive guide for creating fabulous glitter shoes from start to finish. 

Warning: this is a project that will need to be completed in several sittings.  This is not a project that you do from start to finish all at once.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

What you need:
a pair of shoes
-mod podge glossy
-scotch tape
-disposable cups
-wash cloth (optional)
-water repellent (optional)

I used a pair of wedges that I bought on sale at Payless.  I really liked the style of the shoe but they were purple, a color that wouldn't match with anything I currently have in my closet.  Thus, these shoes were a great candidate for this project.  You can use any type of shoe, new or old, laces or no laces.  One thing to note: the glitter is more inclined to grab onto a textured surface like a canvas or cloth shoe rather than a smooth, glossy shoe.  You can still use the latter type of shoe, but this may require you to do more coats of glitter to get the level of coverage you want.

You can use one color of glitter or many colors.  The more colors you use, the less each color will appear on the shoe, so keep this in mind.  Personally, I am very concerned about the way my shoes match with my outfits, so I used gold and silver so it would go with both types of jewelry and accessories.  If you are a matchy person like me, you'll want to consider what colors will match with your clothes when picking out your glitter, rather than what colors will look good on the shoe itself.

All of these supplies can be found at most supermarkets like Wal-Mart or Target and at all craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

Step 2: Prepare Your Shoes

The first thing you need to do after assembling your materials is ready your shoes for glitter magic.  Go over the exterior of each shoe with your fingers, paying special attention to areas that are uneven or sticky.  If there are places where a shoe is sticky or visibly dirty, wipe it down with a wet washcloth.  Do not use a napkin, tissue, or paper towel.  These could tear and leave particles on your shoes, doing more damage than good.

Even if you don't need to go over your shoes with a wet cloth, it's a good idea to wipe them down with a dry cloth and shake them out to dislodge any loose dirt.  This will help the mod podge to better adhere to the shoe.

Step 3: Tape Your Shoes

I highly recommend that you use duct tape to tape off any part of your shoe you don't want to accidentally paint.  If you are using a shoe with laces, remove the laces and tape over the lace holes to prevent any glue from getting stuck inside them.  If your shoe has some type of embellishment like a flower or ruffle and you don't want glitter on it, tape over it. 

I put tape around the interior rim of the shoes with about half an inch of tape sticking out from the top of the shoes.  This prevents you from accidentally painting the inside of the shoe when painting around the top rim.

Step 4: Create Glitter-Glue Mixture

If you haven't already laid out newspaper, go ahead and do so now.

Pour some mod podge in a disposable cup.  Don't worry if you think you poured too much--you'll probably end up doing multiple coats.  After you finish the first coat you can set whatever is left over aside and use it later.

Pour glitter in with the glue and stir with a paintbrush.  The amount of glitter you add should depend on the desired glitter coverage.  If you want the entire shoe coated in glitter (like I did) add more, if you only want to add some sparkle to the shoe, add less. 

Regardless, your mixture should maintain a runny consistency.  If your mixture has more of a peanut butter-like texture you've added too much glitter.  This will make it more difficult for the glitter to stick to the shoe and is very difficult to work with.  To make the consistency of the mixture more runny, simply add more mod podge and stir.

Step 5: Apply Glitter-Glue

Using paintbrush, apply glitter mixture to one shoe at a time.  Try to keep the glue coat even throughout the shoe.  The thicker you coat on the glue, the longer the dry time.

Once you've covered both shoes,let dry.

If you intend to do multiple coats, cover leftover glitter-glue mixture with a plastic bag to keep from drying out.  Put paintbrushes in disposable cup with water in it to keep the glue from drying in the brushes and stiffening them up.

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 (if Desired)

Once the first coat has completely dried, add another coat, if desired.  The number of coats you do is completely up to you and your vision for the shoes.  The amount of glitter in the glitter-glue mixture and your desired level of glitter coverage are things you should consider when thinking about how many coats you might want to do.  I ended up doing three complete coats of glitter to entirely cover my shoes with glitter. 

It's important that each coat dry completely before applying another coat.  Dry time depends on how thick your glitter-glue mixture is and how thickly you apply it.  For me, each coat took several hours to dry.  You'll probably want to plan to do each coat in a separate sitting.

Step 7: Spot Check (if Desired)

After I finished my third coat, I noticed a couple of areas on each shoe that were either bald or didn't have as much glitter as the rest of the shoe.  If you're a perfectionist like I am, you can go in and target these specific areas to create more even coverage. 

For this step you're going to want a higher glitter concentration in your glue.  Add glitter to the mix you've used for previous coats or, if you already ran out, start a new mixture.  This time, instead of the consistency being runny, you'll want the mixture to have more of that peanut butter consistency I told you to avoid in step 4.  This will make the mixture more difficult to work with but does a superior job of evening out bald spots.

Once you have your new mixture, neatly apply only to needed areas, rather than the entire shoe.  Because this mixture is much thicker than the previous mixture, you need to pay special attention when applying it.  Make sure that the mixture actually sticks and lays flat.  You may have to work harder to manipulate it into doing what you want it to. 

Let dry.

Step 8: Prepare Shoes for Sealant

Once the last coat of glitter is dry and you're satisfied with the appearance of the shoes, you need to prepare the shoes for the sealant.

If you got glitter anywhere you didn't want it, chip it off with your fingernails of wipe it away with a cloth dampened with hot water.

Inspect your shoes.  If there are any places where the glitter is sticking up awkwardly, gently press down with thumb.

Step 9: Apply Sealant

Luckily, the mod podge is glue and sealant, so you don't have to purchase a separate product. 

Pour some mod podge into a clean disposable cup and stir with a paintbrush. 

Apply to both shoes, making sure to entirely cover all areas coated with glitter.  This will keep the glitter from falling off or chipping away when you wear them.

If you still have sections of your shoe taped off (my tape had peeled off by this point and I didn't feel the need to replace it), wait until the sealant coat has fully dried.  Then, carefully remove the tape.

Step 10: Spray on Water Repellent (if Desired)

If you, like me, are worried that your gloriously glittery shoes are going to melt if you get caught in the rain, invest in a water repellent spray.  The shoes should be fine without the repellent if they get a little wet, but I would definitely avoid water exposure. 

The spray I bought smelled a bit like WD-40 to me, so if that's a smell you don't want lingering in your house, do this step outside.  If you do this inside, you may want to do it over newspaper. 

WARNING: Use away from heat and flame.  Do not use while smoking.

Follow the instructions on the can of repellent spray.  Generally, hold can six to eight inches away from shoes and spray over entire shoe surface.

Apply second coat, if desired.

Allow to dry for three hours before wearing the shoes.  My shoes seemed to be dry in about one hour, but I waited three hours as the can directed.  Better safe than sorry!

Step 11: Wear Your Shoes!

Now that your shoes are finished, go out and show off!



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22 Discussions


7 years ago on Introduction

I have some awesome heels I got from Goodwill for $4, ModPodge only cost me $5, glitter 3$ & some of those famous designers have shoes that look EXACTLY like mine, & they run for up to $300! :0 So I have saved SO much money! Thank you so much for this instructable! It's AWESOME!


7 years ago on Introduction

does it matter what material shoes are? do shoes need to be same color as glitter? or does it not matter?

1 reply

3 years ago

I'm attempting to make Ruby Slippers for my sister's birthday. xD I'm using a pair of plain black leather heels. What alternative can you use for Mod Podge? Can you use craft glue?


4 years ago on Step 11

Thanks for posting this! I found a fun project for my wedding for all fo the bridesmaids to do!!!


5 years ago

I made these years ago for my daughter....Ruby Red Slippers for Halloween (Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz), only I used plain old Elmers school glue. I was.surprised how easy it is to do! I like the idea of a final coat of sealant, though. At the time I remember telling my daughter to say that the scattering glitter flakes.was.fairy dust!


5 years ago on Step 11

You Rock!!! Easy to follow instructions.. I can not wait to do my sneakers!!!! lol


6 years ago on Step 11

Honestly I can't wait to do this with my granddaughters. They are gonna love it!

So excited! I found a $5 pair of flats at Wal-Mart, bought some black glitter, modgepodge, and yellow fabric paint(for the bat signal). SOoooo, making my roomie batman slippers for her b-day! THanks for the glitter info!

I'm using very very fine glitter, and I'm having to use A LOT of it. Just a warning, if you don't want to do 42805092 coats, go with a medium grade glitter.

2 replies

Thanks for the comment. I did try making a second pair with a very fine glitter and not only was that pair more difficult to make, it doesn't last as long. I would definitely recommend a chunkier, coarser glitter.


What I think I'll try, is if the glitter doesn't get a coat like I want, I'll try that tiny circular glitter on top. I'll let you know how it goes/post pictures!


8 years ago on Step 3

ok, i know scotch brand makes all kinds of tape, but when you say "scotch tape" i instantly think of clear plastic tape.. this looks more like masking tape? Just for clarity...

1 reply

Reply 8 years ago on Step 3

It doesn't really matter what kind of tape you use, as long as it will easily remove from the shoe without damaging the interior of the shoe. I actually used duct tape, not scotch tape. My mistake.


8 years ago on Step 11

Good job!! These are beautiful! Ill bet they would sparkle like diamonds if you used a mixture of all colors minus gold... plus they would go with practically anything! ::ponders, plots, and plans::


8 years ago on Introduction

looks super cool..did you notice any problem of glitter coming off where your shoes naturally crease when walking?

1 reply

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

The shoes I used are pretty sturdy, but so far I haven't noticed any trail of glitter or baldness on the shoes where they crease. The glue and sealant does a really good job of locking in the glitter. Obviously, the more severely your shoe creases and the more often you wear them increases the opportunity for glitter to escape, but this method of application allows for a really good lifespan of the shoe.