How to Preserve Baby Shoes

Baby's first shoes are often kept as a memento. Preserving them can be accomplished by applying a bronze finish. This is often done by companies that provide the service. However, this is also a project that can be done at home using a few supplies from a craft store and a bit of patience. When the project is completed, you will have a keepsake for years to come. You may even find all of your friends and relatives want you to preserve their baby shoes, as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Baby shoes

  • Rags

  • Denatured alcohol

  • Rubber cement

  • Sharp needle

  • Fishing line or wire

  • Plaster of Paris

  • Metallic powder (bronze, copper or gold)

  • Fast drying spar varnish

  • Camel's hair paintbrush

  • Black oil color

  • Small paintbrush

Prepare the Shoes

Step 1

Clean the shoes thoroughly with a damp rag. Be sure to remove all dirt and polish.

Step 2

Rub the shoes with a rag soaked in denatured alcohol to remove any remaining dirt or polish. Dry the shoes completely.

Step 3

Arrange the shoes' tongues and laces. Position the tongues so that they touch the sides of the shoes. Apply a bit of rubber cement to hold tongues and laces in place. You will not be able to move them once the bronze finish is applied.

Step 4

Make a small hole in the sole of each shoe with a large, sharp needle. Put fishing line or wire through the hole and loop it so the shoes can be hung to dry.

Step 5

Mix the plaster of Paris according to package instructions. Fill the shoes with the mixture to within ½ inch of the shoe tops. Allow them to dry for several days.

Bronzing the Shoes

Step 1

Mix bronze, copper or gold powder with a fast drying spar varnish. Add the powder and stir until you have the consistency of paint. Continue stirring so that powder doesn't settle to the bottom.

Step 2

Apply the varnish to the shoes with a good camel's hair paintbrush. Paint inside and out.

Step 3

Hang shoes to dry by the looped string.

Step 4

Observe the shoes for dull spots. Apply additional coats until all spots are covered.

Dry thoroughly between coats of paint. Clean the paintbrush completely between uses.

Step 5

Mix a few drops of black oil color with the bronze paint. Paint this color into creases of the shoes to create an antique look.

References & Resources