Don't Buy, DIY: Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Super-Spiked Heels
This was a lo-o--ooooong time in coming.
The highly, highly coveted Christian Louboutin for Rodarte spike heels - only sold for a short time at Christian Louboutin boutiques in Fall of '08, never showing up at Net-a-Porter, not ever appearing on eBay.
But I wanted the exact same style as the shoes above on the right, in black- and I haven't found any DIY tutes out there on the Internet yet (correct me if I'm wrong!:-) So here ya go - step by step!
I have to break the process into multiple steps, since this is quite long though not excessively complicated. So, in 4 Parts:
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You Will Need
To DIY Your Own Pair of Rodarte Spiked Heels You Will Need:
*a pair of black patent maryjane platform stiletto heels with 3 straps over arch
(Bordello stripper shoes (about $60)! I looked everywhere for the shoes to be the base...and continuously came up empty-handed. I even searched in shoe stores in Tokyo and on Japanese websites! But, nothing affordable or even remotely similar. Bordello pumps are the closest match - and they already have the 3 straps in the center of the shoe - not something you can easily add unless you have a sewing machine specifically designed to sew shoes [i.e., with a 360-degree rotatable arm and a ball-shaped feed dog area]. You could glue the straps onto the arch area...but then you run the risk of them snapping off every time you take a step. So shoes that already have the straps on them are the way to go!)
*56" length of 1/2" wide pleather shoe strapping**
*44" length of 3/8" wide pleather shoe strapping**
*awl, leather multi-hole punch, or something else to poke holes with
*FOUR 1/2"-wide silver rectangle buckles (center-prong)
*FOUR 3/8"-wide silver rectangle buckles (center-prong)
*Loctite Vinyl, Fabric, and Plastic Glue (or Barge cement)
*small binder clips (not pictured)
*shears able to cut leather (or a box cutter, not pictured)
**where to get the strapping? This is the toughest part. Rarely will you find a craft store that sells finished thin pleather strap by the foot (i.e., straps that have the raw edges folded over and topstitched). I can't find anywhere on the internet that sells it. I can't find it on Ebay. Tandy Leather Factory does not sell it since their leather strapping is made for bags/belts, not thin and pliable enough for shoes. Jo-Anns or Michael's will of course not sell it. If you are lucky enough to live in NYC, you can stop by Kaufman Shoe Repair Supplies (before 2 PM!) and the strapping is on gigantic rolls in front of the cash register counter in the center of the store. (Would that I lived there!!) I was literally laughed out of 2 cobbler/shoe repair stores here in Portland when I asked them to sell shoe strapping by the foot. (What do all the shoe design students at the Art Institutes do then, I wonder???) I ended up having to buy my shoe strapping in Tokyo when I was there this August, along with the buckles. Perhaps there are other shoe repair supply stores that sell to the general public in your city...but definitely these are difficult to locate. The tiny buckles are also hard to locate too - but you may be able to find them at a Tandy Leather Factory store or other store that sells to leatherworkers.
1. Poke a hole with your awl about 1/2" from end of 1/2"-wide strap.
2. Push 1/2"-wide buckle prong through hole; spread a layer of glue on the underside of the strap end; fold over and secure with a binder clip to hold the end in place.
3. Wrap the strap around your ankle (right at the place where the lowest strap would sit - just eyeball it). You don't want the strap to be super-tight, or even snug. You definitely want it to be slightly loose since we'll be padding the inside later. Cut end of strap at an angle, about 1.5" longer than where the end of the strap meets itself.
4. Thread the buckle onto the strap, and poke a hole where you want the prong to thread into.
5. Repeat the process for the two thinner 3/8"-wide straps (measuring their circumference above the strap you just made - each is spaced about 1/4" above the previous one) and the final 1/2"-wide strap. You will make 4 straps total per shoe. Repeat all the steps to make the straps for the other shoe.
PART 2: AFFIX THE ANKLE STRAPS TO THE SHOES
You Will Need:*your shoes
*sewing machine with leather needle
*black all-purpose thread (or upholestery thread, if you have it)
*leather glue (as mentioned above)
*small binder clips
*TWO 1/2"-long silver cone spikes ($5.59 for bag of 20, Studsandspikes.com) (not pictured)
*Phillips screwdriver (not pictured)
*roll of moleskin
*shears/box cutter to cut moleskin
1. Wrap the end of the 1/2"-wide strapping over the top 1/2"-wide strap you made in the previous step. (Allow about 3/8" overlap.) Spread glue on the 3/8" overlap, and secure with a binder clip. (You want the strap you made to be able to move freely.)
2. Once glue has dried, machine-stitch a line below the strap you just enclosed - perpendicular to the strapping to secure the loop we just made. (Use a leather needle and black thread.)
3. Position each strap you made below the top strap along this strapping backbone we're working on. The buckles all need to line up about 1.5" from the edge of the backbone strapping.* Glue each strap to the backbone, securing with binder clips. After glue has dried, sew straight down both edges of the strapping backbone, matching the line of topstitching, going through all layers and straps you glued on in the previous step. Stop and backstitch twice about 3/8" below the last strap.
4. Put on one shoe and fasten all the buckles and straps. Measure how far the backbone extends to the top of the shoe - and add about 1". Cut. Spread glue onto the bottom 1" of the strapping backbone. Take off the shoe, and place the strapping backbone onto the inside of the shoe, at the center back. (There is a center back seam in the counter - and that's what you want to center the strap on.) Secure with a binder clip until glue dries.
5. Once glue has dried, punch a hole through the strapping we just glued, about 1/2" down from top edge of shoe at the back. (You'll be punching through the shoe and counter too, so a heavy-duty leather punch is recommended - it took me about 20 minutes just using the awl!)
6. Thread a 1/2" spike through the hole, and secure with its screw on the inside with a Phillips screwdriver.
7. Cut a piece of moleskin and use it to cover the end of the strapping backbone and the cone spike screw on the inside of your shoe.
9. Repeat for other shoe strapping backbone and straps.
*Careful with which side you line everything up on! The strapping backbone for the right shoe anchors the shoe buckles to the right of the backbone - and opposite for the left shoe.
PART 3: STUD THE STRAPS
You Will Need:*awl
*1 bag of 1/4" square pyramid studs ($5.33 for bag of 100, Studesandspikes.com)
*1 bag of 1/4" round dome silver studs ($2.88 for bag of 100, Studsandspikes.com - but if you can find 3/16" conical studs it would be better!)
*1 bag of 1" silver cone spikes ($6.52 for bag of 20, Studsandspikes.com)
*pair of pliers
*roll of moleskin
*shears (not pictured)
1. This will take awhile - so have some movies/DVR'd TV on hand to keep you entertained! Start by setting the 1" spikes on the center arch strap for each shoe. Punch holes with the leather punch about 5/8" apart along the strap. Set each cone spike in each hole, securing with a Phillips screwdriver.
2. Stud the rest of the straps. The other two arch straps get studded with small round studs set about 1/2" apart. The two thin ankle straps do as well. The two wider ankle straps are studded with pyramid studs, at the same spacing as the round spots. Poke the holes for all the studs with your awl, force the prongs through, and fold over using pliers.
3. Cut a length of moleskin slightly thinner than each strap, long enough to cover the studded area. Affix to the underside of each strap to protect your skin from the scratchy stud prongs. (You won't need any moleskin on the underside of the cone spikes, since the screws will be "sunk" into the leather and shouldn't bother you.)
1. "Draw" platform on each shoe about 5/8" from sole, using awl and pressing hard enough to leave an impression on the vinyl...but not hard enough to rip through the vinyl of the shoe.
2. I used round studs that are technically for fabric (salvaged from my Bedazzler set). (The fabric studs have four prongs instead of 2 like the leather ones do.) In any case, you need to place each stud in the "platform" part of the shoe, about 1/2" apart, and hammer the stud straight into the shoe. (Two or three taps should do it.) Don't hammer too hard or you'll dent your stud - or miss and dent your shoe!
3. Use awl to mark off the area for the texturizing by indenting a thin line into the vinyl of the shoe across the vamp.
4. Spread thin line of fabric paint over the line you drew.
5. Using the squeeze bottle, dot on tiny dots of fabric paint in a random pattern in the vamp area you cordoned off.
I made some of my dots touching, barely lifting the squeeze bottle up between dots; for some dots I lifted the bottle off completely before beginning the next dot. I made the dot size random - some large, some small - and amazingly, when everything dried, it created a gorgeous glittery texture. Almost Swarovski-like but not quite, that area totally elevates the entire shoe. You have to do each side of the shoe separately, since it has to dry completely (24 hours) before you touch it again to turn it over and do the other side. My hands were totally cramping throughout the whole ordeal, but doing this is utterly, utterly worth it - and it's a cool technique to try on other vinyl accessories (using same color or contrasting color paint) to create an awesome effect.