Saturday, July 17, 2010

Teens flip for flops: free tutorial!

This is the time to hit summer sales and stock up on flip flops, you can pick up a pair for a dollar or two! They're so many ways to craft them into something spectacular. I did a web search and found a plethora of ideas: from tying water balloons and fabric strips around the straps to applying rhinestones buttons and beads. I loved the inspiration but the reality is we live in Maine and one soggy downpour would completely destroy fabric or feathered footwear. I also wanted to avoid eating up my DIY workshop budget with toxic glue to attach embellishments. I had both a bucket of wood beads and roll of hemp in my studio and decided to simply try wrapping the hemp around the plastic straps to give the flip flops a natural look. I was thrilled with the results, the hemp 'grabbed' the plastic and stayed in place without needing glue.

The group of 15 teens loved the project, it took seconds to explain: provided well over an hour of entertainment, an opportunity for personal expression, and countless days of wearing enjoyment!

Assorted wood and shell beads, be sure to select beads with large enough holes to accommodate the hemp.
The flat shell beads are Natural Elegance from Blue Moon beads, the patterned wood beads are JoAnn Fabric brand.
Roll of narrow hemp, usually used to make thin macrame jewelry, if you have a group of more than ten people I'd suggest picking up a second roll.

Start by cutting a three yards length of hemp of the roll. Tie one end around the base of the strap and then begin tightly wrapping the hemp up strap, be sure to catch the end in your wraps.

String a bead onto the hemp and slide it down the cord, position it on the top side of the strap. This takes a second to check, it's easy to mistakenly position the beads on the inside especially at the strap base. Make sure you wrap the cord several times around the strap after each bead addition.

When you reach the end of the cord tie it around to the last wrap on the underside of the strap. When you add a new strand make sure to cover both the new and old hemp ends in your wraps.You can always use a darning needle to slip an end under existing wraps.

Once you hit the center of the strap you'll need to make additional wraps on either side of the toe strap.

It takes two to three strands of hemp to get around each flip flop depending on the size of the shoe, beads and tightness of the wraps. Follow the directions above to start or end new strands. Once you start your second flip flop you'll be a pro!

I loved watching how differently each of the flip flops turned out. Many thanks to the creative teens at Curtis Memorial Library that let me photograph their hands in action.


  1. LOVE these. And you are right... they are practically giving flip flops away right now. I'll be linking on Facebook. Thanks for sharing.

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