Saturday, 27 April 2013

focus on life–week 17–Colour!

Spring is starting to come around slowly here.  I know the trees will burst soon and I’ll look and think, “hey when did that happen?” It seems very appropriate at this most colour starved state, that Sally Russick of the Studio Sublime would bring us to focus on COLOUR!  The title pretty much says it all.

I’ve been working on and off on a very colourful project for my daughter.  You see I have friends with older girls and various boxes of hand-me-downs that we have been working our way through (and passing on of course).  Looking towards getting out of winter boots I found these.

shoes pre colour

I’ve got nothing against dump trucks per se, and despite the dirt from a good time in the sand, they are in good shape structurally.  So I tried cleaning them up and they didn’t get any whiter.  Now, some kids may not care one little bit what their shoes look like, as long as they can run fast. That is the goal really.  But here’s the thing.  If she likes it she looks forward to wearing it so she will put them on instead of singing and twirling around while I ask for the 47th time if she could please put on her stuff so we can go.  So what follows is mostly about saving my sanity not so much a quick and easy DIY for kids.

Here’s what her shoes look like now!


I busted out all manner of Shiva oil sticks, copic/prismacolour/assorted brand markers, pencil crayons, suede, glitter fabric paint and shrink plastic to create the ocean floor setting of the Octonauts.  I was working from supplies on hand (said she slightly shamefully) and because of drying times just kept them handy for working on between other projects.  Averleigh and I are fans of the television program Octonauts based on the books by Meomi.  So all copyrights belong to their rightful owners this is fan art to delight an (eek) almost 3 year old.  She hasn’t seen them yet, I think I will coat them with a sealer but I’m hesitating since at the moment they are totally flexible since the are mostly coloured by the Shiva paint which is so marvellous, love using it.

top side octonaut shoes

Top side we have, clockwise, Shellington sea otter, Kwazii kitten, Peso penguin and Captain Barnacles bear. This idea all cam about innocently when I had printed out this page of all the character profiles to share with the grandparents two explain the ongoing joke Averleigh makes about there being “two bears in the octopod” knowing full well that Shellington is a sea otter she likes to argue that he is a brown bear.  Anywho, this printout was hanging around on my worktable and next thing you know I put down some shrink plastic and got to colouring. I was so excited with how they turned out and the detail they retained.  They are all stuck down with E6000.

back side octonaut shoes

I had a little trouble getting the right colours for Tweak bunny and Dashi dog so they found a home around the back, which is fitting since they generally stay close to the Octopod, which you see on the left.  It lost some detail since I scratched it a bit with the metal glue tip and I had to zap it a bit with a heat gun to try and bend it to the right shape to make sure it would stick nicely.  Rigid shrick plastic in these spots is ok since they don’t need to bend, but how to cover those dump trucks?

outside of octonaut shoes
he dump trucks got covered in a shark and fish cut out of a teal scrap of suede.  A little fussing with various irridescent and glitter fabric paint and while they are not the prettiest part I’m satisfied that they will flex when jumping, running and generally getting these re-broke in. 

insides of octonaut shoes

You can’t quite see the golden glow coming from the coral gardens featured on the inside but they do shimmer.  I’m starting to feel a bit silly telling you all about the Octonauts and giving all these views of one pair of sneakers bound for destruction.  It was an excellent little diversion though full of just fun playing with something I’ve never done before – full of colour!

The best picture will be her reaction.  I hope I will capture her excitement upon seeing these and discovering all her favourites.  She gets to live in them, rest assured, I will not be upset when they get covered in sand and whatnot.

Off to see all the colour in everyone else’s world on Sally’s post here.


  1. Oh my goodness, those turned out so cute! I wish I could see her reaction!
    Fabulous color by the way!!

  2. you are such a clever, talented, mama!! can you do an adult version???
    happy saturday and have a wonderful week!
    no. 14

  3. Those shoes are so much fun... I would proably want to wear them to bed too!

  4. Oh, what a labor of love! The shoes came out so wonderfully, I hope you two won't be you sad to see them get...used!

  5. Wow, those are awesome, how creative!

  6. Oh please do share the picture when she sees these for the first time!! My girls would have squealed over these at that age! I would never be able to get them off! No problemo getting them on ... brilliant idea mom! And such a fabulous make over! I LOVE these

  7. How creative you are. Turning an ordinary pair of shoes into a work of art!

  8. Amazing makeover! What a lucky little girl to have these. Her friends are going to be knocking on your door I bet. I know I would.

  9. Oh my word! You are one talented woman for sure!! These are awesome and I'm having a bit of 'shoe envy' at this exact moment - how cool will these be to wear?! You must show us a pic of your little ones face when she sees these,...or at least a pic of her smiling as she's wearing them and playing in them!!! Awesome photos, too. Great colors!!

  10. Wow this was a wonderful idea to brighten up an old pair of shoe that still have a lot of life left in them. I bet she is going to love them when she sees them and can not wait to show them off.

  11. What a great idea and fabulous artwork! Cool colors and fun theme. I'd wear them if I was three or thirty :-) Well, maybe not with the

  12. Oh, wow, Emma - such a brilliant idea! I love the transformation, and I am sure Averleigh will love them too. I hope you can capture her face when she sees them :) She'll want to show them off to all her friends, I bet.

  13. A very creative idea, and so cute! I'll bet she loves them!!!!!!

  14. So talented you are! Beautiful job and colors too.

  15. What a lucky little one you have. Those shoes are drop dead gorgeous and I know she will love wearing them.

  16. So sweet! What a fun way to revamp shoes.

  17. What a wonderful idea Emma. Personalized shoe can speak volumes.

  18. I am willing to bet she is going to want to wear them all the time. What a fabulous idea and a great theme. You are so talented and to think this was your first shoe decorating experience! Maybe this will be a new career.

  19. Crazy talented lady!! I love those. I'll bet she can't wait to put them on.


I'd love to hear what you think, thanks for taking the time to join in the conversation