If you’ve never seen or heard of the Shoe Bakery, it’s a shoe company that makes cake and ice cream inspired shoes in both heels and flats. From Cinnabon heels to Red Velvet wedges, mint chocolate ice cream and waffle cone flats to sprinkle toed children’s shoes, the company offers an inspiring, gorgeous and downright delectable array of fondant footwear.
Some of their cake flats are reasonably affordable at $80 a pop, compared to the $160 for their ice cream flats, or $250-$400 for heels. Their pieces are unique and stunning…and they’re also outside the budget of many a lady. So when I decided last year I wanted a pair of heels that looked like ice cream sundaes, found the shoe bakery and quickly realised that was a no go for my budget, I began to ponder what kinds of materials might work for me to whip up (ba dum cha) my own pair of fancy footwear.
My first attempt saw me using a pot of all purpose household filler on a pair of heels and some brooches. The problem with using this dry, chalky type of filler is that it will crack and can fall apart, not useful on a pair of shoes which needs to be able to flex and move with your feet. Learning from this, I looked into more flexible forms of household fillers and sealants, and decided the best type for the job is silicone bathroom fillers/sealants, also known as caulking. This stuff dries to be flexible on the surface of your shoe and waterproof, perfect for footwear, but it can also be messy. Below is the list of the things you’ll need to make your own pretty pair with minimal mess.
– Silicone filler/caulk tube. Available in the UK in poundstores sometimes, otherwise available at your local DIY store or supermarket. If you want to paint over your shoes then you need to make sure you get ‘paintable’ caulk as silicone won’t accept paint.
– A caulking gun
– Old newspaper
– Kitchen roll and possibly white spirit
– An old butter knife/spatula for craft use, not to be re-used for eating or food prep
– A Piping bag and set of icing piping tips (The silicone is a nightmare/impossible to clean entirely out of the piping tip, so buy a cheap set and be prepared to throw away whatever you use.)
– Optional: artificial cherries and/or sprinkles etc
This silicone filler stinks, so if possible do this project outside or at least in a well ventilated area and possibly with a mask. Lay down plenty of newspaper in your working area so you don’t make a mess. Have the kitchen roll and white spirit to hand. Because the silicone is waterproof you can’t simply wash your hands if you get messy, so the kitchen roll needs to be nearby for wiping away mess, with the white spirit as a back up to help remove the silicone.
The task itself is fairly simple: you load up your caulking gun with your caulk tube, squeeze small amounts of it onto your shoe and use your butter knife/spatula to smooth the silicone out to an even layer across the shoe. If you want the finish to resemble cake or ice cream then you can pat, stipple or otherwise craft the silicone as you work to give as even, textured or patterned finish as you so wish dependent upon your design.
Give the base coat a little time to dry (not massive amounts, 10-20 minutes) before you begin any of your piping decorations. If you want to pipe an extensive design onto your shoe which will require you to handle it to access it from various angles or to lay it down, then let the shoe dry completely and do the piping another time. DO NOT lay the siliconed shoe down onto the newspaper as the print will transfer and dirty up your shoe. If you need to lay the shoe down for your decorating process then lay it onto clingfilm/clingwrap to protect against newspaper transfer.
The silicone is much thicker than normal icing/frosting and harder to force through the piping tips, so you’ll either have to double-bag your piping bag if you’re creating a paper one from greaseproof paper or use a plastic piping bag. Select your piping tip depending upon what kind of piping you want to create. If you want to make big ‘dollops’ of cream or frosting with thicker grooves then you’ll need to use a piping tip that has a larger hole and fewer spokes, rather than a small holed tip with several small spokes.
Cut the tip off your piping bag. Always err on the side of caution and cut a small hole at first, placing the piping tip inside and then trimming off a little more from the tip of the bag if the tool doesn’t fit properly inside. Better this way round than cutting off way too much from the piping bag and having to get a new bag because the tip will fall through or silicone will squeeze out the sides. When you work, try to squeeze evenly as you pipe.
Once your piping tip is in place, pump some of the silicone from the caulking gun into your piping bag. Try to estimate as closely as you can how much you’ll need. Better more than less because if you’ve run short then it’s difficult and messy to add more silicone to your bag once you’ve begun piping as the bag will gum together. However it’s also best not to work with far more silicone in the bag than you need because it will make squeezing the bag extra hard work with so much product building up the pressure inside the bag.
Do a few practice piping exercises onto a separate piece of newspaper to get the feel of how to create your peaks and swirls as the silicone is very goopy and doesn’t easily hold a stiff form; you don’t want to pipe immediately onto the shoe and realise you don’t have decent control over your piping. Once you feel like you’ve got the knack, pipe the swirls or ‘blobs’ you like onto your shoe. If you’re adding artificial fruit, sprinkles or any other cabochons then do so immediately after piping when the silicone is still wet as this will grip the decorations and act as its own glue.
You’re done! You now have a pair of fancy, delicious, unique shoes for a few bucks.
Leave your shoe for a couple days to dry, just to be on the safe side, and then it’s good to go. I have noticed that the silicone can attract and ‘pick up’ bits of dust or dirt during wear, but that this wipe off because it’s waterproof. You may want to paint your shoe with some kind of top coat or sealant if this bothers you, but as I haven’t done this I can’t recommend what top coat would work best. As mentioned above, silicone won’t soak in paint, so if you have your heart set on a design that involves colours then you’ll need to make sure you buy paintable caulk.
Have fun with your pretty new shoes! If you make your own pair, feel free to send me pictures or tag me in any on social media–I’d love to see what you create!