Mermaid Shoes DIY
I upcycled these mermaid shoes using a FinFun mermaid tail.
These might just be my favourite upcyle yet! I’m always devastated when my FinFun Mermaid tails have to be retired; they do get so much use though! However, what’s great is that so much of the fabric can be reused or up cycled – see what I’ve done already:
These shoes are just amazing though (even if I say so myself), and the cost was minimal!
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What you need to make your mermaid shoes:
- pair of shoes (I bought some for £5 in the sale at New Look)
- sandpaper – if they have a shiny finish
- mod podge* (I used gloss)
- superglue* – I used Gorilla Glue (I liked this one as it had a brush and nozzle)
- stanley knife
- old mermaid tail/fabric – obviously, from FinFun
- gems/stones – I would have liked metal studs but I couldn’t find any at the time
- Optional: Nail polish – I used Avon Gel Shine from my Avon Rep which I do love as a nail polish – but it was just the perfect colour to co-ordinate with my shoes!
How to upcycle your mermaid tail into shoes!
I followed some of the directions from this amazing blog: LoveMaegan – I definitely used her tutorial for the heels
I would recommend reading through these instructions before starting. Also, if you are going to coat the soles of the shoes, do that before covering them in fabric!
1 – Prep your fabric and shoes
Cut your mermaid tail into the two halves. Work out which part will fit best on the shoes. See this video on how to unravel your mermaid tail easily at the seams.
Sandpaper your shoes if shiny (mine were shiny… and also hot pink, however, they were only £5, so if this project failed, I wouldn’t waste a lot of money)
2 – Cover the heel of the shoes
Cut fabric for the heel – make sure you use one side of the mermaid tail for one shoe and the other for the other shoe, so that they match. I used the blog from LoveMaegan to help me – but you want to cut a pentagon of fabric for the heel. I used a 5 inch x 3 inch rectangle with a triangle on top which is 3.5 inch sides and a 5 inch base.
Cover the heel in mod podge, place the pentagon over the heel and smooth down.
This isn’t the easiest – the fabric is slippery! Take your time.
Let dry and then trim the excess fabric carefully with a stanley knife. There was a clear ‘seam’ in my shoe between the pink part of the shoe and the sole of the shoe. I slid the stanley knife in this seam and trimmed the fabric easily this way.
3 – Covering your shoe with fabric
Determine where you want your scales to fit over the shoe. Drape over (without any mod podge yet!). Leave at least an inch around the shoes for the moment!
Glue the tip down on one shoe. Smooth down, then work on the sides.
DO NOT glue the back yet…
Let dry, then trim off the excess in the middle. Leave around 1/4 inch to fold over into the shoe. Repeat with the other shoe.
4 – The back of the shoe – the tricky bit!
Next, work on the back of the shoe slowly and carefully. It is hard! Leave around 1/2 inch to overlap. I actually placed one side down, over the midline and then folded the other side to the half way point. We will cover this seam later.
5 – Making it all look pretty!
Fold down the fabric inside the shoe, using mod podge, (or superglue sparingly) where needed. Be aware that superglue will harden the fabric significantly. Therefore, on the inside of the shoe, make sure it won’t rub on your feet; gently stretch the fabric over the shoe, and seal with a dot of superglue if needed!
You will need to make little cuts into the fabric (which then can be overlapped when stuck down) to adjust for corners and curves.
Do the same for underneath the shoe.
When you get to the toe, cut into one edge and overlap, stick down underneath (see the video).
How to fold over the fabric to secure the tip of the shoe.
Where the shoe meets the heel, trim with a stanley knife. For my shoe, there was a clear seam that I could trim along (carefully!).
6 – The finishing touches
First, place a ribbon and glue it down (I did use superglue here) along the seam on the back of the shoe.
Add decoration to cover the seam where the heel meets the shoe – I tried some puffy glue, but hated it (see above). I added yellow studs instead (see the photo above this photo)
Soles of the shoe! If you are decorating or colouring the soles – I recommend doing this before covering the shoe. However, I didn’t and it worked ok!
I couldn’t resist attempting to make my mermaid shoes stand out even more – and what was better than a sparkly deep green?
I used Avon Gel Shine in Tropic Babe then put Avon Gel Shine Emerald City over the top to add sparkles! Honestly, I love the soles so much!
Despite being worried the nail polish would make the shoes slippery, it wasn’t an issue, as a quick walk from the car park to my meeting roughed them up enough to be fine!
Hints and Tips
- Work slowly and carefully – I found it so much more difficult when I rushed parts of the shoes
- Let each part dry before moving on (I admit, I wasn’t good at this!)
- Use superglue sparingly. I’m not going to lie, I found it easier (so probably overdid it) but it makes the fabric unworkable and it buckles the fabric once dry. It also turned my gems from being sparkly to a dull white-ish yellow. I would have much preferred to use some metal studs here
- If you are covering the soles in nail polish, do that before covering the shoes
- Use a more neutral shoe underneath – whilst my hot pink actually works quite well, I think that was luck rather than anything else! You can definitely see through the fabric!
Maybe you don’t have mermaid fabric, that’s ok – be creative! I would love to see how you transform your shoes. Send me your photos or tag me in any posts you create.