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DIY: Saddle Shoes

Do It With: 1 pair River Club sneakers from National Wholesale Liquidators, a couple of black sharpies, black acrylic paint, a clear acrylic gloss (optional!) and a smallish paintbrush.

Do It Why? Saddle shoes are a great, feminine 50s throwback that will go with everything from Marilyn-style cuffed blue jeans to pencil skirts and dresses (a la “cigarettes and speed” at wardrobe remix). They’re also the Fall version of the little white slip-ons you’ve been wearing all summer long, and with high-fashion versions on the Betsey Johnson F/W07 runway and ultra-femme, rockabilly styles starting to show up to counteract all the billowing silhouettes of the last few seasons, you really can’t go wrong in a sweet flat pair of your own to kick around town in. Unfortunately even the cheapo ones are upwards of $25, so why not take a break from that summer reading list and spend 30 minutes making these instead? Sure, they’re not AUTHENTIC, but they are CUTE and CHEAP and YOU need a project.

Difficulty Level: On a scale of 1-5, these barely register at a .5. The only bummer is that you’ll need to get to National Wholesale Liquidators, but I promise you that the trip is worth it. Strangest. Place. Ever. But it is also FULL OF BARGAINS, so grab some friends and make an afternoon of it.

Cost: The River Club sneakers are $2 and you can pick up a little bottle of black acrylic paint for a buck or two at any craft store (or maybe even NWL, I didn’t think to check…), and same goes with the optional gloss (and if you like the way they look matte then don’t get it, but keep in mind that the gloss will act as a protective coating). Assuming you’ve got some sharpies and a paintbrush laying around, this project costs about $5.


1. Remove the laces from your kicks.

2. Using the sharpies, color in the “saddle” part of the shoe (the body of the shoe that falls between the stitches and the seam) (I promise that there’s no way to mess this up. Just wait til you see the shoe.) and also what you can of the tongues. Leave a white ring around the grommets; it’s easy to mess them up if you get too close with the fat tip of the marker.

3. Nooooooow paint that part black (but not the tongues!). Be extra careful around the grommets and any places that were too small for the marker to reach.

4. When they dry, do the same with the gloss.

5. Put the laces back in! I told you this was easy.


Shoes customized with acrylic paint have a tendency to flake after you’ve worn them a while, but you’re out of the danger zone because even if that happens, you’ve got that nice permanent sharpie layer under there and it won’t look like your shoes are disintegrating. Now go get pinned – you’re so dreamy!

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the lovely thing pictured behind the finished product is flickr user cigarettes and speed, and more of her photography and styling can be found here, so have a look!