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Decorate Your Shoes Review by Laurie Gauger

Create One-Of-A-Kind Footwear
Annemart Berendse
American Quilter’s Society

I have had the opportunity to review many items, mostly books and homeschool resources, and I love it! Every once in awhile, something a little different becomes available to try out with my kids and adds an extra element of fun around our place. This is one of those times, and I’m eager to share it with you. We received a copy of Decorate Your Shoes, Create One-Of-A-Kind Footwear, by AnnemartBerendse. 

This glossy, paperback book has seventy nine colorful pages to inspire creative fun for you, your, children, your friends, anyone and everyone! The introduction provides plenty of information regarding the types of shoes to use for your projects.  Canvas, Rubber/Vinyl, Manmade Leather, and Leather are included here, with a chart detailing the pros and cons for each. You will learn what prep is required before painting can begin.

After selecting your shoes, what will you use to personalize them? Markers and paints are the options presented here, and once again, various types are suggested and discussed. Fabric markers are viable choices, particularly for beginners. Fine tips allow for more control, and less mistakes. But there are paint options as well, which provide other benefits, one of which is the ability to mix colors. Paint can be a little unforgiving though. Fortunately, there are pointers to help when touch ups are required, like dabbing the area with a cotton swab and a bit of rubbing alcohol. 

We decided that as this was our first go around with this activity, we would use canvas shoes, which were said to be a good first-time choice. Once we had our shoes, it was time to prepare them for painting. That meant a quick run through the wash, and an air dry. No dryers, unless you want to risk shrinking your footwear. Why wash them first?  Because there is often a finish on new shoes that might interfere with the paint or markers properly adhering to the surface. Alright, now on to the decorating portion of our project. The weather has finally turned warmer in our area, so what better place to decorate our shoes than outside? We laid out a sheet on the grass, which seemed like a good place, just in case there were any splashes or spills. 

A variety of pretty patterns and designs are shown in this book, and of course, how to create them yourself. You can sketch out a pattern before you paint, or use small foam shapes, or even a penny, to create loops and scallops. There are even large, shoe sized patterns included that you may decide to use. With all of these options, instructions and tips are given. As my daughters and I went into this activity, I had a fairly good idea which method my daughters would employ, based on their personalities, and I was pretty much on the mark. My oldest preferred to abandon patterns altogether and do her own thing, basing her design on favorite music artists, and keeping to a darker color scheme. Now my youngest on the other hand, chose colors and patterns as bright and colorful as her personality. Hearts and flowers are her preference, and the frillier, the better. As for me? I prefer simple, cute, but not flashy. The foam flower shape was what I used to trace a pattern, and then filled it in with little bits of blue green, and a splash of yellow. 

According to the author, the most important thing to remember as you begin, and then throughout the process, is to have fun! Create your own designs, don’t necessarily expect perfection. Enjoy the process, I know that we did! Use this book as a stepping off point and see where your creativity takes you. Happy painting!

-Product review by Laurie Gauger, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2018