I have been a long-time wearer of Louboutins, and have always wanted a strassed pair. However, I just couldn't justify spending +$3000 on them, especially when I am such a crafty person, and I knew that I would gain so much pleasure (and stress, little did I know) from strassing a pair myself. My solution, you ask? I decided to take a pair that I rarely wore and turn them into some blingin' beauties. Now, I became very lucky with this deal because my aunt actually gave me this pair because they were too big for her (it's great to have an aunt with the same shoe size!!), so I didn't spend anything on the shoes. The crystals were around $400, and the extra tools around $10.
Here's a tip if you don't have any old Louboutins laying around (or an Aunt whose closet you can raid). A lot of people go onto ebay and purchase an old beat up pair. You are going to be re-doing the entire outside with crystals anyways, so the shoe doesn't need to be perfect. I've seen some styles of Louboutins go for as little as $100 on ebay.
Secondly, you want to make sure the shoe matches the color of crystals that you are planning to use. For me, my shoes were already black, and I chose to use Swarovski Jet Hematite Crystals (Sparkly Black) so the background already matched the shoe. If you have a purple pair of shoes, but you are planning to crystalize your shoes with pink Swarovski crystals, I would first dye your shoes to closely match the pink color you are planning to use.
For the crystals, I would recommend purchasing Swarovski, as they give the most sparkle. I purchased mine on ebay, and the higher quantities you purchase them in, the cheaper they get. I purchased in various sizes, with the smallest being 5ss and the largest being 20ss. I would recommend purchasing at least 5 different sizes, so you have a good variety on your shoes. It's good to have larger sizes to begin with and then baby crystals to fill in the smaller areas as you close in.
As for tools, I recommend Gem-Tac for gluing the crystals down. It is a really strong adhesive and keeps the crystals on nice and tight. Don't worry about the glue looking white when it first goes on- it will dry clear and no one will know that you've made a mess of the glue. For putting the crystals on, there are various tools you can use, and I've tried them all! I love the jewel setter tool that has a sticky end that grabs the crystal and helps you put it on the shoes. And tweezers also work well for putting in the teeny tiny crystals toward the end.
For spacing, you can put things as close or spaced out as you like. I choose to put mine closer together because I am very picky about the ways things look, however if you try to get it perfect, you will drive yourself insane!!!
So, let's begin!
Tools I used: Gem-Tac, Jewel-Setter, and various sizes of Swarovski Crystals
A BEFORE photo of my shoes
The first crystals are put on my shoes! I chose to start with the larger crystals first and put them on randomly throughout. Some people start in one place and fill in the whole area as they go. I found the way I did it much easier so I didn't worry about which size crystals to use in each area and I would have even amounts of crystals throughout.
I continued to add the larger size crystals throughout. Don't worry that you are adding too many! Trust me, once you start adding the smaller crystals, you'll wish you added more of the larger ones.
Now I have started filling in the areas with the medium and smaller sized crystals, working my way throughout the shoe.
After around 40 hours of work, I have a beautiful pair of strassed Louboutins!!