DIY Friday – How to make bookish ballerinas

DIY Friday - Bookish Ballerinas

It’s DIY time here at A Little Blue Book, and even though it’s currently raining cats and dogs in Denmark, it IS summer! That’s why I’ve decided to do a summer-ish project – with a bookish spin, of course. You see, when we finally get our two days of sunshine and warm weather here (I’m being sarcastic – sometimes we get three days of summer…), I’ll be ready to take my unique bookish ballerina shoes for a walk in the park!

If you want to know how you can make a cheap and unique pair of your own, do read on! It’s super simple and you hardly need any materials to make these cute little shoes.

DIY Friday - Bookish Ballerinas

What you need:

  • A pair of ballerina shoes
  • Book pages
  • A pair of scissors
  • Brush
  • Glue (PVA or some fancy Mod Podge)
  • Small bowl or cup for the glue
  • Permanent markers (optional)
  • Coffee/tea (optional as always but highly recommended)

As you can see from the list above, most of these things are common household items, and if you did my bookish boxes or the bookish Easter eggs, then you already have the glue and the brush!

DIY Friday - Bookish Ballerinas

For the glue, I’ve just used plain old PVA, but if you’ve got any fancy Mod Podge lying around, that should work too. If you don’t have either, any general glue that becomes clear when it dries will work. You can find a good glue in craft shops or larger supermarkets, and they’re usually pretty cheap. I bought my massive bottle of PVA (500ml) for £3.95 in a fancy craft shop in London – and I still have more than 75% left – but you can probably find an even better price for it at your local craft shop or online.

You don’t need a fancy brush for this; any small brush will do. I bought my pretty one for £5.45 in a craft shop, which was a bit pricey. However, if you go to a hardware store or have a look online, you should be able to find one that’s cheaper. Obviously, the benefit of paying a bit more for a quality brush is that you can use it for many more DIY projects if you take good care of it (cleaning it with lukewarm – not hot – water after you’ve used it). The cheap brushes have an annoying tendency to lose their bristles pretty quickly, but if you only need it for one or two DIY projects, then you should be fine.

I bought my plain black ballerinas in a supermarket here in Denmark. They were pretty cheap, which was what I was looking for because I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to use them – the glue I’ve used on the shoes is not fond of water, so if the Danish summer is as wet as usual, I won’t be taking them outside much. However, if you know that you’ll love your shoes so much that you’ll never take them off again – and you happen to live in a place with more than two days of summer, then it might be a good idea to spend a bit more money on a good quality pair. It is your feet after all – for many of us, they’ll be carrying us around for the rest of our lives!

How to do it:
These bookish ballerinas are the perfect weekend project – they are easy to make, but they do need a lot of time to dry (though you could use a hairdryer to speed up the process if you’re feeling impatient).

Below I’ve outlined the few, easy steps you need to follow to create your very own bookish ballerinas! DIY Friday - Bookish BallerinasStep 1:
The first thing you need to do is cut the book pages into small pieces. These pieces will go on the shoes, so try to cut different sizes – this way you’ll have more to work with once you start to glue them on the shoes. I found that smaller pieces work best as they don’t get weird creases due to the curvy shape of the shoe. However, a few bigger pieces will make the process of glueing the pieces on the ballerinas much quicker.  DIY Friday - Bookish BallerinasStep 2:
Once you have a gazillion book page pieces, it’s time to start slapping on the glue! There’s no right or wrong way to do this. I ended up just smearing the glue on the shoe in a nice thick layer and then adding the paper pieces on top.

Keep going until the whole shoe is covered, and then set it aside to dry a bit whilst you prepare to make the insides look nice.DIY Friday - Bookish BallerinasStep 3:
To make a nice straight border inside the shoe, I cut out some strips in the length I wanted – the equivalent of 2 sentences in width on my book page. I cut four long strips for each shoe along with some smaller strips for the heel and front part of the shoe.

I then carefully lined two long pieces up on each side of the shoe, glued them on and folded the top over the edge. The smaller pieces were then carefully glued on to the heel and front of the shoe.DIY Friday - Bookish BallerinasStep 4:
The next step is to cover the entire shoe with a generous layer of glue. This will make the surface of the shoe smooth, and the paper pieces are also protected against dirt. Don’t worry about the shoe turning white when you put the glue on – it will become invisible once the glue is dry.  DIY Friday - Bookish BallerinasStep 5:
Once the glue is completely dry, you can start to decorate your shoe with your own little design with paint or permanent marker. The sky really is the limit here!DIY Friday - Bookish BallerinasStep 6:
Once your unique design is completely dry, you coat the shoes in another generous layer of glue. This will make the shoe even more hard-wearing, and it’ll protect your design from smearing. Just be careful when you cover the part of the shoe where you’ve done your own design – the glue could smear it when you apply it, so just be extra careful.

Step 7:
Once the glue is dry, your new shoes are ready for a test walk!  DIY Friday - Bookish BallerinasAs always, I would absolutely love to see your bookish Ballerinas if you decide to give them a go. Do share your own unique shoes with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook!


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