Correction to Part 1: Flextra is not the product you want to be using for glueing the foam together. The flextra glue actually melted wherever it was touching by about half a centimetre. What you want to use is a product called No More nails. I’ll include a picture in this post.
This home-made platform shoe project has turned out to be quite the learning experience and lots of fun! I found out that Flextra melts foam as does spray paint! In the end I need these boots to be completely white but not many products get along with this pink stuff. I tested some spray paint and although it created a pretty cool texture it completely disintegrated whatever it touched. It’s hard to find something that will stick because water based paints won’t either so I came down to the conclusion that I’ll just have to use white duct tape. I think it’s my best bet and it will also help maintain the shape of the platform incase I hit them against anything or get stepped on. At 6’4 I highly doubt I’ll be stepped on. 😀
Part two of the home-made platform shoes involved cutting the polystyrene as well as sawing it, sanding it and a lot of vacuuming. Warning to anyone who dares undertake this very awesome project, have a vacuum cleaner with good suction on hand at all times when cutting and sanding.
First off you’ll need an exacto knife, a very thin saw, No more Nails glue and a vacuum. If you don’t have a saw you could technically do all the cutting with the exacto but it will take more time. Because my shoes are 6″ high and my saw was also 6″ long I had to cut the first layer with the knife and do the rest with the saw.
In the picture you can see the top layer of foam that I cut away with the knife first. Afterwards I stood the foam on its end and cut on an angle outwards from the top. I need the wide bottoms to be more stable but I don’t want them to look too weird so the top is the size of the boot.
Once I had cut, sawed and shaped the foam to a general idea of what I wanted I had this. Obviously not anywhere near the finished product! Next part is to sand the hard edges and smooth everything out. This is a good time to leave the vacuum cleaner on in one hand and sand with the other.
The sandpaper makes these look really awesome after.
If you buy your foam from the store the platform will look significantly better than mine. Because these pieces were by my brother and I when we were younger they look a bit rougher on the outside. I sanded as much as I could but the duct tape will hide the rest. Once you’re happy with the sanding on to glueing!
As you can see in the picture the front of my boot curves upwards. The boots need to be comfortable when worn so I won’t be glueing that part down, only from the ball of the foot to the back. Because I’m doing this, when I use the duct tape I will put extra tape around the ball of the foot area so they don’t come unglued while walking.
Once you’ve glued them you’ll want to find a way to put some weight on the top of the boot while it dries.The glue requires one of the two items being glued to be porous so I’ll leave mine to dry extra long.
Part 3: Final steps of the boots!!!
The first time I wore these boots I realized a few things needed to be changed. The glue on the sole and the tiny bit of duct tape I used weren’t quite enough to keep my food in place when walking. I ended up clobbering up to my friend’s door with the boot partially dangling off the back. Although I do suggest glueing the boot to the foam, you’ll also need extra tape to keep it in place. I do want to mention that because of the height, width and size of these platforms, you can’t walk naturally with a heel-toe motion. It ends up being more the whole bottom of the platform touching the ground at the same time.
What you’ll want to do is wrap some tape around the heel and down the sides of the foam to hold that section of the boot down. Or you might as well just go to town! 😀 I had originally wrapped them with nice fancy white duct tape that I neatly placed around the boot, but after the clobbering incident I ended up with the ugly grey stuff to hold them together. This wasn’t too much of a big deal for me because I ended sewing a type of curtain around the top edge of the boot to make everything blend in with the costume.
Here you can see the not so glamorous duct tape wrap I gave the boots. Not to be confused with a fabulous seaweed wrap at the spa!
Around the top edge of the boot is where I very loosely stitched a few panels of fabric to create a curtain around the boot.
The bottoms of the boots will get dirty! If anyone has come up with a solution for a more solid sole let me know and I’ll post it up. As you can see here mine are a bit lumpy from walking on rocks and such, not too bad though.
These are the final boots with curtains down. All-in-all I’m quite happy with the result! Another way to finish them could be to spray paint, wrap in fabric, etc… Due to my very baggy costume they didn’t need to be very fancy looking as no one would see them.
I definitely liked having the extra support around the ankle from having a boot instead of a shoe. If anyone has used a shoe, let me know how that worked out. If you’ve used this DIY to help you make your own platform boots for yourself or for a child I’d love to see them! Shoot me an email with some photos and I’ll post them up for others to see for inspiration. Send your photos/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to get them up!
Here are some final shots of the costume. Unfortunately there aren’t many good shots of my creepiness. My whole “character” was simply not to speak at all but to stare at people in the eyes with my creepy contacts. I scared many people! Guys included… One poor girl was trying terribly hard to stay away from me, she was quite terrified. Muahahaha! My turn to go bump in the night…