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How to Preserve Baby Shoes

Updated April 17, 2017

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Hang shoes to dry by the looped string.

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.

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

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 colour
  • Small paintbrush
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About the Author

Michele Norfleet is a freelance writer who writes on travel, home and garden and education topics. She has coauthored a handbook for teachers on school-wide discipline and has contributed tips for special-needs students in the basal curriculum for RCL Benziger. Norfleet holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University and has experience as a special-needs teacher and speech pathologist.