Kids grow incredibly quickly. Capturing early memories in bronze is a wonderful way to remember your little one's feet! This process is not too complicated, so every parent can bronze baby shoes at home. They can be used as paperweights or just a cherished souvenir!
How to Bronze Baby Shoes
Bronzing involves several steps. After cleaning the best shoes for baby learning to walk, you should apply a bronze layer (preferable, with a camel hairbrush). Powdered metal is sold by hardware stores and print supply companies. Turning footwear into a paperweight will also require some plaster of paris. If you do not know how to preserve baby shoes, here is a step-by-step guide for DIY bronzing:
Step 1. Cleaning
First, take a soft damp cloth and remove any dirt. Dry the pair using another soft cloth. Then, use a rag soaked in alcohol (denatured!) to remove any polish or wax. Rub thoroughly and let the shoes dry naturally.
Step 2. Plastering
If you want to add weight (for example, to preserve baby shoes as a paperweight), fill them with some plaster of paris after drying. Pour it inside and wait for a couple of days before taking the next step.
Step 3. Making a Handle
Even coating requires a convenient handle. You cannot just hold the shoes by the laces, as these must also be bronzed. Make a tiny hole in the soles (in the tip). You can use a knife or box cutter for this task. Then, thread some dental floss or wire through each shoe. Twist it to create a loop for hanging.
Step 4. Positioning
Tie up the shoelaces and make sure the tongues of both shoes are touching both sides of them. Arrange the parts in the exact position you want to preserve. To lock them in place, use some adhesive like glue or rubber cement.
Step 5. Mixing the Metal
Prepare the liquid coating in a plastic or glass container. Mix some metallic powder of bronze (you could also use brass, copper, or pewter) with spar varnish that dries quickly. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Follow the directions on the package and make sure no particles settle in the bottom!
Step 6. Applying the Metal
Apply the first layer with a brush. Paint any visible external and internal surfaces, starting from the top. Hold each shoe by the handle created in step 3 with your left hand if you are right-handed, or vice versa. If you have used plaster of paris, coat the top and outsides.
Using the handle, hang your baby shoes to dry (for example, on a hook) in a place with good ventilation. Let them dry completely before applying more bronze. This should take at least 10 minutes or longer.
The next step is to cover any imperfections like bald areas. They appear when bronze seeps through the fabric. As this is natural, you will likely need to apply at least one additional layer. Your goal is to create an even, smooth and glossy finish.
Step 7. Drying
Let the shoes dry after each new layer. You know that bronzing is complete when they both look shiny and fully covered. Let them dry completely, and your precious souvenir is ready! Voilà!
Bronzing baby shoes is not rocket science, and you do not have to be an artist to do it properly. This is a simple way to capture precious moments. Check our blog for other useful articles like child safety tips!