Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Scrapbuster No. 18 / Challenge Submission: Scrappy Shoelaces (Tutorial)

By now, the secret is out ... Sara and Sara don't throw away much! When spring cleaning comes around, it is fun to try and think of ways to use up those scraps.

For this challenge, I'm submitting The Scrappy Shoelace, made from scraps of fabric, tulle, and t-shirts ~ these shoelaces certainly spruce up my kids well worn Converse! (and my New Balance) ...Grab your scraps and give your shoes a quick makeover!

mix and match - if you dare!

the super scrappy shoelace (above)... had to piece together 3 fabrics to get to 31" in length ... looks really cute all laced up.

tee shirt laces; fabric laces; tulle laces
If you're just dying to make your own, here's what you'll need! And certainly email us or leave a comment if you have any questions. :-)

  • Fabric Strips: 2" by length of shoelace you are replacing. I'd recommend measuring the length of the shoelace you're upgrading. Option: Use Tulle instead of fabric! Tulle is sold on a roll that is 6" wide ...use the 6" width and in the directions, do Step 1 and then skip on down to Step 6.
  • Heat Shrink Tubing in Size 1/8".  Heat Shrink Tubing is generally used to encase electrical wires ... so you're gonna need to take a trip to your local Radio Shack, or someplace like that. Ask for it, they'll look at you like you're crazy, tell them you're making shoelaces and they'll really look at you like you're crazy, and so on. Here is a link to what I bought at Radio Shack. THIS is a multi pack with three sizes of tubing; you're only going to use one size: 1/8". With this particular pack, you'll get a RED, WHITE, BLUE & CLEAR. All of them but the clear have funky print on them ... you'll recognize it as that weird print that is on your electrical cables ...once on the shoelace, you don't really notice the weird print.

  • Heat. Embossing Heat Gun or a match.

  • Regular sewing supplies.
Step 1. Determine necessary / desired length of your new shoelace (measure existing shoelace and make it longer / shorter as you wish). If you do not have a long enough strip to get the length you need ... no problem! Piece scraps together until you get the length you're going for. (See the red / blue / yellow pair above? That's what I did for those).

Step 2. Cut a 2" strip of fabric x the length you determined in Step 1. The kids converse measured 31" long, and my New Balance measured 44". One 2" x length piece will make a PAIR of LACES -- because in a step or 2, you'll be cutting this in half lengthwise.

Step 3. Make "bias" tape. You definitely need not worry about cutting your fabric on the bias ... you just want to create that nice fold that bias tape has. I have a bias tape maker that makes this quick as can be (it's a 1" bias tape maker which equates to 1/2" double fold bias tape - that is what we want). MADE has a really great post here all about making bias tape and what measurements you need when using a bias tape maker; check it out.
the long strip; you're going to cut down the middle in the next step

No bias tape maker? No worries ... just do it this way: Iron strip in half lengthwise so that it's 1" wide. Open it up, and fold each long side into the middle (just under 1/2" on each side). Fold the sides over each other and press.

Step 4. Cut the long strip in half down the middle (lengthwise that is). Now you have two 1/2" strips that are as long as your length. 

now there are TWO long strips - your PAIR!
Step 5. Run a zig zag stitch down the long end that has open edges. This will create a long tube and minimize fraying. Thsi blue/green one has matching blue thread, but I made some with contracting thread and that was really cute.

contrasting thread ^^ on the blue on blue circle pair
Step 6. For one pair of laces cut FOUR 1/2" pieces of heat shrink tubing. Squeeze together / fold over the lace ends and slide the 1/2"piece of tubing over each end of the laces. Twist and turn it on there ... trust me, it'll work.
slide the tubing onto the lace until the ends are flush (i am still sliding in this pic above)

Step 7. Grab your heating element. I happen to have an embossing gun (because once upon a time I had some fun using embossing powder & stamps). I tested a match just to see and it worked like a charm. Apply heat to the plastic tubing and watch it shrink up! The kind I used has about a 2:1 shrink ratio. When I started playing with this, I found a WONDERFUL website that is all about shoelaces with instructions on using heat shrink tubing; here.

now the fun: heat & shrink!

trim any funky looking end off so it's flat

Step 8. Repeat over and over, exhibit A:

lots of bias tape laces ready to be prepped!


Here's an example of of a tulle pair; love its fluffy bow!

crazy belle makes a great shoe model!

my shoes got an upgrade too.

laces from tee-shirt scraps

Have fun with it! Let us know if you've got any questions or if you make a pair or 2!  

sara sig Pin It


Janet said...

This one is really hard to decide - love both projects!

Jennifer said...

LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing. I think everyone in my family will be getting some chucks this weekend. :)

Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

This is seriously brilliant. I'll be adding it to my to-do list!

Melissa said...

I adore those laces! I linked from my Tumblr.

Sky said...

Cute cute cute! Will definitely be making these for my little guys- so fun! Thanks for sharing :) This is my first visit to your blog- it's adorable!

Randi said...

I love the fabric shoelaces ... so fun and so cute! Saw you on One Pretty Thing.

casserole said...

You do realize that this tutorial has completely tanked my sewing plans for the day, don't you? Now instead of making leggings and matching t-shirts as planned, I want to ditch it all and make piles of shoelaces!

I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Wilma NC said...

I am sharing this tutorial with everyone I know!!!! This is so original and neat!!! Great job.

alison said...

Oh my heavens, I am so excited to have found your blog--LOVE IT!!
I am featuring this project in my weekly Idea List

nicci said...

I have so got to make some of these! or a lot of these

Natalia said...

This is so wonderful! We are always having shoelace trouble! Here are some of the things that I thought while reading....

The tubing would be great just for mending shoelaces you already have missing these--and I've often wished you could buy replacements! So cool!

If you weren't feeling fabricky creative you could probably find some kind of narrow strong lacing/belting by the yard and make them whenever you need replacements.

Question--how long do the fabric ones last? Maybe it doesn't matter as you can make new ones so easily, but it does seem like most fabrics would wear out quite quickly--just wondering what the hardest wearing kinds would be for this sort of use. Eg, denim is usually considered hard-wearing but I bet it wouldn't be that hard-wearing as laces, with its larger weave that would catch more easily on little snags (perhaps). But then you can buy cotton laces, so how would they be any better than cotton fabric, really?

Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you to France . Kawel

Modern Cupcake - Jill said...

Fabulous idea!! Love it!!! Now I want some! :)

Merlebleu said...

Very cute and thanks for the idea!I came up with an easier way to thread the laces into the shrink tube .... make your laces about two inches longer than necessary; trim 1/2 of the width from each end, about 1 inch. With a darning needle weave a stitch at the narrow end, and pull it through the shrink tube. As soon as you see the piece of fabric peeking through, you can just pull on the fabric to the length desired. Then I used my flat iron to shrink the tube. Exactly the right temp!

TwistieTips said...

Well you did a great job it is looking amazing seems like I have to try this at home, step by step reconsideration will make my work easy!
Kids Shoelace Charms

Trendy said...

lovr this, because it looks like something I can actually do. I will be trying this with my brogues, Thanks for the great idea!

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