Suppose, your babies have outgrown their first pair of shoes but you are too sentimental to let go of them.
You also don’t want to give them off as hand-me-down, but then again you also know that storing the shoes is a tough job as they can be eaten by moths or be damaged with rust and with the passage of time.
But that doesn’t at all mean that you need to throw away the tiny shoes that your babies walked their first steps in.
So what can be a great way to keep them forever without being damaged?
Learning how to bronze shoes. Bronzing helps you to preserve and make a keepsake of the shoes and let them stay with you and then with the babies as they grow to show them to their babies eventually, without being damaged.
When you are bronzing your babies’ shoes, you can either go for the option to take him to a specialist who is an expert in bronzing or you can do it yourself at home.
If you want to do bronzing at home, this article will cover the entire bronzing method and also answer your most pressing questions about bronzing shoes.
Can you bronze shoes yourself?
Yes. You can bronze shoes by yourself. When you bronze your baby’s shoes, you attempt to make them last forever.
If you do not want to use them as showpieces to be kept inside the showcase or stored elsewhere and need to find more uses for them, you can also use them as paperweights. While you can always go to an expert, you can also do it yourself at home.
How to Bronze Shoes at Home?
In order to attempt the steps, you will first need to have the following:
Things you need
- Baby shoes that you want to bronze.
- Denatured alcohol.
- Clean clothes or rags.
- A needle or similar pointed tool.
- Fishing line or wire.
- Metallic bronze powder.
- Fast-drying varnish.
- A small container and paint to keep it in.
- Paintbrush with camel hair, preferably.
- Oil paint in black.
Method and Procedure
Next, you will need to follow these steps;
- Take a damp or slightly wet piece of clean clothing and use it to clean the bits and corners of the shoes for a thorough cleanse. If you can ascertain that you have removed all or most of the dirt, you can move forward to the next step.
- Use a little container and pour some denat alcohol into it. You are going to dip the cleaning cloth (another fresh, unused one) and use it on the shoes.
- With the damp rag, you need to rub those shoes. Make sure that they have been properly soaked in the alcohol. If you couldn’t get some dirt out in step 1, the denatured alcohol will help you here to remove the remaining polish or dirt.
- Set the shoes out in the air and then dry completely.
- Once your shoes are thoroughly cleaned, dried and removed from dirt, now is the time to fixate the position of the tongues and shoelaces as you want them in the final piece. You could make pretty bows with the laces or design them in any fashion. Only make sure that the tongues of the shoes touch the uppers. Use superglue for the fixation of tongues and laces.
- With a needle, make two small-sized holes in the outsole of the shoes. They should not be too small as you will need to insert fishing lines or wires through them when you are doing the crucial steps of bronzing them. Make sure to make a loop after inserting the hanging lines so that they do not fall off while you are bronzing them.
- In a container, mix the spar varnish with metallic bronze powder that you got from the hardware store. Keep stirring it to produce a thick paint-like consistency without letting the mixture stick to the bottom of your pot.
- Now, you will use a paintbrush and paint the entirety of the shoes and hang them to dry.
- Once they have dried completely, you will need to examine and find any remaining dull spots. If you find any, you will need to recoat it once, dry, and wait for the desired color. If you are not satisfied with the bronze coat, make sure to continue the coats and also remember to clean the brush between applying coats.
- Make sure you dry the shoes well.
What Are Some Tips on Bronzing Shoes?
These are some important tips that you could follow while bronzing the baby shoes:
- Adding black oil paint to the bronze/varnish mix will give the final shoes an aged look.
- Gorilla Glue will be a great alternative to super glue.
- To make the shoes heavier and to use it as a paperweight, you add plaster of Paris to fill the shoe before you go for bronzing.
- Mix the varnish and the bronze powder carefully according to their chemical instructions.
Why Did People Bronze Their Shoes?
Parents used to bronze baby shoes to freeze one of their favorite moments of the baby’s walk in time.
This keepsake acts as a great reminder of the baby’s first steps and can even be a family heirloom. You can also bronze your own shoes from childhood that you no longer wear but would love to keep for your children to watch.
Where Did The Process Of Bronzing Baby Shoes Originate From?
Bronzing is a process in itself that is as old as the millennia. Back in 6 BC, people would bronze frames to keep pictures in, bronze decorative dishes to eat food in, and beautify statues through bronzing.
When it comes to particularly bronzing baby shoes, it started in America with a kindergarten teacher. The teacher had an idea to use the concept of bronzing shoes, creating the opportunity to become an entrepreneur herself when the Depression hung around the country, as a means of solvency.
So in 1934, the teacher, namely Violet Shinbach, started to look for clients with kids who wanted to do this with old children’s shoes and store and keep them.
She found a lot of rich and potential clients with kids, and with the popularity of the method, Bronshoe, or what came to be later known as The American Bronzing Company began operations. There have been a lot of bronzing companies ever since.
How Much Does It Cost To Bronze Shoes?
If you are not bronzing shoes at home but are having it done by a company, then the prices will vary between over 50 to as much as 200 dollars.
If you need the bronzing to be done quicker, of course, you will have to pay more for their bronzing services. Extra charges will include the postage and handling fees of the bronzed shoes.
How Should I Clean Bronzed Shoes?
You can clean your bronzed shoes as you clean your showpieces: with a soft cloth. This is going to remove the dust particles.
Avoid using chemical cleaners as they can damage the protective coat on the shoes. So any vigorous cleaning is totally discouraged unless you want it replated.