JUST DO IT : How to Make a Paper Nike Sneaker Costume




Do you love sneakers ? have you been called a sneaker freaker or a shoe head ? Do you dream of sweat-shop free ,eco friendly ,low cost ,cool shoes ? If so this is the costume for you.

Your shoe does not have to be a Nike, if you alter the pattern and omit the swoosh you can make almost any high top sneaker. READ the whole thing before you decide to make this.

Step 1: Inspiration and Planning

What is you dream pair of sneakers ? or if you could design any pair of sneakers what would they look like ? After you have chosen or designed the sneaker you want to be it's time to start collecting materials.

Ideally you want to use things that you already have so you can recycle. I made my costume out of old white poster boards I had laying around, I think I used about 2 1/2 large sheets. I also had some pink paint, and come scarps of felt, a belt from a robe became the shoe strings and the only thing I really had to buy was gold paint.

Look though your closet ,look through your garage ,look though your friends closets and garages also.

If you are stumped for ideas I think this Jeremy Scott for Adidas sneaker would make an excellent costume ! I should be this shoe...

Step 2: Preperation

Once you know what shoe you are going to be ,and you have collected your materials you are almost ready to get started...

All you need are some basic materials

Clear Tape
A Stapler
A Ruler
A Paint Brush
and the pattern

I used Shin Tanka's PDF for a mini sneaker pattern . (if you make this costume please send him an email with a picture and a thank you for making his pattern free)

It's a good idea to print out two copies of this pattern ,one to assemble a mini shoe with, so you can have an idea of what making a big one will be like, and one to cut out to use for making the pattern.

UPDATE: 10/29/2008

Hunnyb8975 reminded me that this pattern is for a LOW TOP shoe, and I made a HI-TOP !
Wow, thanks for catching that, I forgot to mention that I modified it to make it a hi-top ! I just looked at some pictures of hi-tops and extended the back of the pattern upwards. I hope that makes sense.

Step 3: Pattern Conversion

I know what your thinking how am I going to make this giant shoe from this tiny pattern...

Well I have superior guesstimation skills ,and after I cut out all the pieces for the pattern ,I figured that I needed to make each piece about 10 times bigger to make it wearable. So if a piece was 3 inches long I made it 30 inches long, Amazingly it fit perfectly. I would advise that you increase the pieces by more then 10... I am a small person and if fit PERFECT like there was no extra room.

I cut my pattern pieces from newspaper ,again more guesstimation like I didn't photocopy the pieces, I looked at the small pieces and free hand drew it 10x bigger on news paper. If you don't like guesstimating I am sure there is some kind of mathematical way to make this work by taking your measurements into consideration... you could also probably blow up the pattern pieces using a copier.

After you calculated or guesstimated the pattern into larger pieces you are ready to trace them on to the poster board, and to cut them out. Be careful when cutting and tracing make sure you leave the extra spaces that need to be overlapped and glued down. (This will make sense if you have already made the mini version)

Step 4: Decoration

I painted my pieces before I put my shoe together, make sure you are painting the right pieces the right colors. Now is also the time to cut the holes out for the shoe string eyelets.

With my shoe I drew in short dotted lines with a sharpie to look like stitching, but I did no do so until after I put the whole thing together.

Raise your hand if you are doing a complicated design that includes ZEBRA STRIPES !
Just me ? ok, so in case you want to know I put the stripes on before I put the shoe together, I traced the shape of the panels that would have stripes on to tracing paper ,then I drew the stripes. Then I penned that to felt ,and I cut them out, then I arranged them on to the panels then I glued them down.

Step 5: Assembly

Now you are ready to put your shoe together ! You already put a mini version together right ? RIGHT ?
If you did, and it looks good go ahead and start, if it looked like crap, try making a few more minis first.

I advise gluing the pieces together and then reinforcing them with staples and tape, make sure you position the staples so they won't hurt you. Depending on how much paint or how thick your poster board is you might have to work with it to make it actually look like a shoe.

After it is all together let it sit , so the glue can dry, once it's try you can start adding details like stitching and the shoe strings.

Step 6: Wear With NO Tear

So now you are ready to try it on, I advise trying it on only the first few eyelets laced, pull it over your head carefully like a dress with your arms in the air ,and if it fits loose tie the shoe string around your neck like a halter top to keep it up.
You CAN NOT sit down in this costume So if you are driving around to a lot of places you will have to keep taking the costume off and putting it back on. So you have to wear something up under it, wear something that compliments the colors of your shoe.
This might seem like a delicate costume ,but mine lasted through out the night and a I still have it, just take care when you wear it and ENJOY it.

Step 7: BONUS

Are you still here !?!

For some extra trimming I made a giant Nike shoe box that I did not wear , it was just too cumbersome ,but if you want to make one all you need a is a big shoe box shaped box, my mom brought one home from work. I turned it sideways and I sliced the side open to make a lid. Look at a box of the brand of shoe your making and copy it, I painted one side of mine orange and I added some Nike swooshes and a fake bar code.

You want MORE ?

I had white Barbie sneakers that I made into earrings, I braided shoe strings into my hair, and I attached pink barbie sneakers to the end of my braids. I topped it all off with a pink swoosh on my face.

If you have a partner or some friends you can go as a pair of shoes, or a line of shoes, or one person could wear a referee shirt and dress up as someone who works at footlocker.

Participated in the
DIY Halloween Contest



    • Barbecue Challenge

      Barbecue Challenge
    • Paint Challenge

      Paint Challenge
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest

    24 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I'm making myself a Christian Louboutin pump with leather I removed from an old couch. Wish me luck!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You may have saved me here. My 3-year-old daughter wants to be a "shoe" for halloween. I had no idea how to do such a thing til I came here. Here's hoping I can guestimate her size correctly!



    7 years ago on Introduction

    The pattern is not working for me. Is there any other way I can get the pattern? By the way, I <3 the shoe you made :)

    2 replies

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I made it, it was slightly different and I've spent more to make it... but its something ill keep for a long time


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i have a question about it... was there like a hole towards the back of the shoe for y ou to go in it and wear the shoe or did you just hang it around the neck ???

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The shoe does not have a bottom, I  just pulled it over my head then I tied the ends of the laces around my neck.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    how did you make the shoe strings? what were they made of and how long were they made?

    2 replies

    10 years ago on Introduction

    LOVE YOU! My costume came out great, SEE! My office loves it... only thing, my tongue isnt long enough. LOL. But no one minded!

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I used an old t-shirt... and just cut it in a back & forth pattern... so it made one long strip. Once you weave it thru the holes, itll loop around itself  and look like a shoe lace. LOL

    its pretty easy. Everyone loves it. Might wear it in the office again.. I dont know.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    poster board, felt, and the shoe strings are the belt from my robe, so cotton.