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How to add buttons to your shoes

Now that I have become somewhat addicted to Converse, I have been looking for new ways to alter them.  So with my latest pair I had the bright idea of adding buttons.  I had no idea if it would work, but here is a tutorial for what I eventually came up with.  note: I haven’t worn these out, so I cannot say how well they are going to hold up, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

Here is the finished product


Here is the step by step process I used.

One: Gather your supplies:

A heavy thread(I used a crochet cotton-you could probably also use a smallish type wire), needle, scissors


Shoe with eyelets
Shoe with eyelets. These are $5 shoes from wal-mart.


Buttons with shanks.


Ribbon cut to the length of the shoelace or longer.


Make sure you have plenty of time.


Mischievious boy optional
Two year olds who like to throw your buttons up in the air like confetti are completely optional. If asked, I would recommend that you leave this supply off the list.


Now to begin: Cut a piece of thread that is long enough to go up both sides, then add a little extra for good measure. Thread your needle.
Step One

Once your needle is threaded, pull it through one of the bottom eyelets, leaving a tail long enough to go up the opposite side. Then slide your first button on the needle.
Step Three

Put the needle back through the same eyelet
Step Four

Tie a double knot on the underside of the eyelet to hold the button in place.
Step Five

Go up to the next eyelet and repeat the process. It is a little trickier to knot, so the picture is illustrating what I did.
Step Seven

Continue on in this manner until you reach the top. After you have tied the last button, take your thread back down and tie a knot under the previous knot to keep the final button stable.
Step Nine

Now cut off any excess string and thread your needle with the thread left on the other side of the shoe. I like to have the string go across the top of the tongue instead of under. I am afraid I will break the thread with my toes. It will be covered by the shoelace.  So then repeat the same steps as the first side. When you are done, this is the magic that happens:
All buttoned up

If you are using ribbon as laces you will need to put tape on the ends to make them easier to pull through the eyelets.
Tape the ends of the ribbon

Gently pull the buttons aside to pull the laces through.
Pull the buttons aside

Lace the shoes according to your preference, and you are done!
All Laced Up

Here are some other looks

Using decorative buttons on a pair of shoes I found at the thrift store.
Decorative buttons

And in the spirit of discovery, I tested regular buttons. You can use the 4-hole variety, but the 2-hole ones work great. You would just want to make sure you used the appropriate colored thread.
Regular buttons

So, there it is. I hope you have enjoyed my first tutorial!  There are a few more pictures at my flickr account.  Just click on any of the above pics and it should take you there.  Look for the set called Button tutorial.


7 responses

  1. i want to know where you got those white knee high converse I want those ones….awesome job

    May 12, 2009 at 4:20 am

  2. fiorinda

    You can get them at Journeys or Shi(the women’s version of Journey’s. They are a bit pricey, normally 69.99. I got these on sale for 49.99. They are awesome. I have another pair that I embroidered that I people are always stopping me to look at. They are a great blank canvas. They also come in black and red. Thanks for the comment!

    May 12, 2009 at 10:46 am

  3. Oh that’s genius! Thanks so much for that!

    September 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm

  4. Very clever! Thanks for the tutorial!

    September 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm

  5. Jess

    That looks so neat- I love it!
    Thanks for the tutorial!

    October 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

  6. Janell

    Absolutely amazing! I love the Victorian, steam-punk stuff and I’m obsessed with converse sneakers. This goes perfectly with that! Thanks so much!!


    October 17, 2009 at 7:22 pm

  7. ooohhh that is such a good idea – ijust found your link on craftster – i love the mother of pearl buttons on the long converse very victorian looking.

    January 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm

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