by Carly Van Heerden
Jewelry For Your Feet; AKA 'Barefoot Shoes'
Summertime is fun time! During winter we usually have to dress ourselves up from head to toe, leaving no area exposed to the icy winter chill. But summer is all about tank-tops, spaghetti-strap dresses and bare feet. Have you ever heard of barefoot shoes? No, not the running type. The barefoot shoes in this article have no soles at all. Instead they are pieces of jewelry, specifically designed to add that special something to your outdoorsy summertime outfit, provided you’re to be walking on grass or sand! The concept was more than likely born in India where women like to decorate their bodies with jewelry as a symbol of their love for the intricacies of beauty.
If you enjoy making your own jewelry, or feel you would like to give jewelry making a try, you might want to try your hand at making yourself a pair of these. They are relatively simple to create and a pair shouldn’t cost you more than 4$ or 5$, depending on the beads you choose to use. Obviously, because they are for your feet, you will want to use beads made from plastic, wood or metal; glass beads can be beautiful but should they break, this could lead to a minor injury. Because these ankle-to-toe eye-catching pieces are easy enough to make, you could choose to make yourself a few pairs; one for each of your summertime outfits.
1. 2m/78 inches of thin thong - color of your choice
2. Assortment of small beads and large beads - make sure the thong can easily thread through the bead holes
3. Thin-nose jewelry pliers or long-nose pliers (from a jewelry or hardware store)
4. 4 x clasps (see image in step by step instructions below)
5. 2 x small silver rings (see image in instructions)
6. 2 x jewelry hooks (see image in instructions)
7. Plate with compartments to keep your beads and small pieces separated
For this article we will refer to a single barefoot shoe. For the second, you can simply repeat these steps - to make your matching pair.
1. Cut your 2m/78 inch long piece of thong in half. This will give you 1m/39 inches to work with per shoe.
2. Use a few smaller beads at first. Thread as many onto your thong as you need to, to make a ring that will fit around your middle toe.
You can thread a few and then keep returning your loop to your toe to make sure the ring of beads will indeed wrap the whole way around your middle toe.
3. Push your smaller beads down your thong until they are in the middle of the thong. Close the ring of smaller beads by pushing both ends of your thong (to make a single-thong) through a single bead, and then push that bead down towards the smaller beads. Remember that the two pieces of thong, now protruding from your ring, should be of equal length.
4. Loop the ring around your middle toe to make sure the size is right, and then add another bead to your single-thong. Now you will begin to make use of each piece of thong. Thread a smaller bead on to each piece of thong as seen in the image blow.
5. From this point you can create your own design, working with each piece of thong (double-thong). Keep it short, as you only have a short distance to work with. Once your design is complete, bring the two thongs back together (single-thong) and thread them through a single bead, as seen in the image below.
6. From here (moving closer to your ankle) you can add a featured bead; a larger bead that could serve as a focal point alongside your double-thong design. You will do this by threading the single-thong through the larger bead.
7. As you see the beads are almost touching your ankle, separate the thong ends again and prepare to wrap them round your ankle. From there, create an equal pattern along each thong (left and right). When you hold the two thongs alongside each other they should look identical. Bead your thongs until you can see that the beads meet one another at the back of your ankle, as seen in the image below.
8. Below is an image of a clasp that is used to close the end of your thong, as well as serve as the circle through which you can loop the small ring and hook that will ultimately fasten your barefoot shoe closed.
9. Fold an end of your thong as close to the final bead as possible, and nestle it inside the clasp. Do this for both ends of thong.
10. Use your jewelry pliers to press both sides of the clasp down onto your thong, and then cut away the remaining thong.
11. Attach your small ring to the tiny circle on the end of one of the clasps. Repeat the process on the other end of thong, on the other clasp, but once the clasp is closed you will attach the hook to the circle on that clasp.
12. You should be left with a completed piece that can fasten/link closed as seen in the image below.
13. At this point your barefoot shoes will be complete and ready to wear.
If you want to turn heads and give your friends something to talk about, this is certainly a project you should tackle. Not many folks have seen these before, and it seems they certainly aren’t manufactured commercially. So, if you enjoy originality, these barefoot shoes will reflect this side of your nature well. Of course they also make wonderful gifts for friends and could even be sold at a craft market for a pretty penny.
Enjoy your summer!