CRAFT: Electrical Tape is a Girl's Best Friend

        I used to think those people who bought duplicates of things were crazy.  Now I understand.  To say I get a little attached to my things is an understatement.  There's that one sweater that hangs just so, the pair of shoes that are stylish AND comfortable, the pants that make my ass look great... and now they're all wearing out!  ACK!!!

        Maybe I'm getting old, maybe it's because I'm broke, but DAMMIT!  Why can't I find anything affordable and cute when I go shopping?!  Something needed to be done, and fast.  Having just completed our giant move out of state, there are still boxes and tools laying around the apartment.  I happened to spy the electrical tape in the tool box and had a flash of creativity.  (My best ideas seem to be born from frustration.)  I realized I could totally fix my shoes with tape!  AWWW YEAH!

        I know, I know, I know.  I should just get new shoes.  But it's not that easy, I swear!  Let me reveal a not-so-secret, secret:  I have big honkin' feet.  My grandpa even used to call them gunboats.  This puts me at a disadvantage to finding cute shoes, not counting my limited funds.  I guess I'm also a bit picky, but whatever!

I dug out my favorite ankle boots that were starting to get pretty beat up and got to work.

        ***DISCLAIMER:  Please read through the entire tutorial before you begin!  I need to emphasis before we start that you need to be 100% confident in your skills with an x-acto knife or else you'll end up with uglier shoes than you had before!  This method may not work for your pair, i.e. shoes with heels/soles that are not solid.  If the material has any give to it, the tape will come off.  (I tried to fix the soles of some black flats I have, but they were made of rubber and it resulted in an ugly flapping tape mess after I wore them!)  Black electrical tape matches the faux leather shoes I own just right, but it might not look so good next to real leather or more textured material.  Use your best judgement and fashion sense.  ***

        First you need to make sure the material is clean so that the tape will stick properly.  Some water and a paper towel should fix this if the shoe is man-made materials, otherwise use a fabric-appropriate cleaner.  Next, line the tape up with the edge of the heel, leaving a tiny bit of overlap that will be pressed into the crease after you cut it to size.  IMPORTANT:  Make sure not to stretch the tape as you wrap it along the heel or else it will recede once you stop messing with it, causing strange lumps and making it flap off.  Just line the tape up and lay it flat, smoothing out any creases. 

        This is where your x-acto knife skills come into play.  Slice the tape along the edge of the heel, making sure you leave a little of an edge so you can tuck it neatly into the top of the heel where it meets the rest of the shoe.  Use the point of the knife to do this or even your fingernail if they're strong/long enough.  This give the heel a more finished look and helps prevent ragged edges of tape.

        Not so terrible, right?  Now repeat this process until you cover the entire heel of your shoe!  Keeping the tape straight and un-stretched is the key to success here.  Thankfully, electrical tape is pretty forgiving.  It won't leave a nasty residue if you need to take it off to reposition it again.  I tried to keep the strips of tape a uniform amount of space apart to create a "stacked heel" effect.  You can overlap the tape here as much or as little as you want, do what you think makes the shoe look best.

        When you get down to the area where the tape can start wrapping around the heel, make sure to cut your tape long enough to do so on both sides.  Mine ended up in a crisscross pattern due to the curve of the heel.  Wrapping the tape around will keep it from flapping!  (Have you noticed flapping things are the arch villain in this post?)  I made sure I didn't tape the bottom of the heel; I cut it along the edge of plastic so that the tape wouldn't make the heels slippery when I walked.

        And that's it!  Below I have the taped and un-taped heels side by side so you can see the difference!  Not bad, right?  Congrats!  You have just extended the life of your favorite shoes!  I suppose if you were feeling particularly industrious or possess advanced knowledge of repairing shoes, you could remove the material before you tape it to help reduce any lumps.  I didn't feel too sure about doing that, and with the tape method, if it turns out horrible, you can easily take it off right away.  (Wait more than a day though and the tape will become stickier, making it more difficult to remove, so you need to decide right away if you like your new kicks or not.)


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