Summer is here again and everywhere I look I see the (roughly) same pair of inexpensive plastic and rubber sandals. You can find them at different stores, often for under $3 in a wide range of colors. Who wouldn’t want to have some?
Well, me. I don’t like them. Not that I’m opposed to color or flip flops, but the plastic/rubber thong part (the part that goes between your toes and up over your feet) grabs at my skin and cuts me. I have the scars to prove it. Fabric uppers aren’t so bad, but are often much more expensive. On a whim this year, I bought a pair of the cheap flip flops to the tune of $1.98, and got to work making them something cute and wearable. You can, too! Here’s how:
Step 1: Remove the thong upper.
Turn the flip flop over and find the bump/knot/nut that is securing the thong upper in place. Use a craft knife or a pair of sturdy scissors to cut the thong free. Remove thong part and discard.
Step 2: Make the toe loop.
Make a small loop with ribbon or fabric. Make sure it’s long enough that about two inches stick up, plus enough to make a knot on the underside. Thread the ends through the toe hole, but don’t tie yet.
Step 3: Thread the ribbon.
Estimate how long a piece of ribbon or fabric you will need. Add a bit to that because you will be knotting the underside and you may have measured wrong. You can cut off the excess later. Tie a knot in one end of the ribbon. Thread the other end through one of the side holes, going from the underside up, so that the knot is on the bottom. Give your knot a test tug. If it pulls through, the knot is too small. Because of this, I added a small bit of extra scrap ribbon to the ends to give the knots more bulk without them being too big.
Thread the unknotted end through the toe loop and down through the other side hole. Do a test fit on your foot to see how much of the ribbon you’ll need to pull through.
Step 4: Place your knots.
After you do a test fit, you’ll want to knot the ribbon/fabric on the underside of the shoe to hold it in place. Do a final test fit to make sure it fits correctly.
Step 5: Add your glue.
On the underside, pull the knots slightly so the that the cavity under it is exposed. Fill the cavity with hot glue and pull the knots back into place. Trim off any excess fabric or ribbon on the underside.
Step 5: Secure the scrap
If you used an extra bit of scrap to beef up your knots, you’ll need to secure that those on the top. Just a bit of hot glue between the main layer and the scrap will do it.
Slip on and enjoy!
As a final note, to give credit where credit is due, I did see the wonderful Key West Flip Flop tutorial over at The Mother Huddle. Although what I made was completely different, I did learn the knot and hot glue trick from there, so a big thanks to her!
Kristina is a stay-at-home mom of two boys. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and spends her down time sewing, baking, doing crafts with her children, and experimenting with recipes with her husband.