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How-to Apply Swarovski Crystal / Rhinestone onto Shoes (Heels, Wedges)

A Little Weekend DIY:  Bedazzled Shoes

There was such an overwhelmingly positive response and requests for a how-to on my Swarovski-bedazzled wedding wedges–so here you go! This was the first time I’ve ever done something like this, and the more crafting experience you have, the higher quality your work will be, but even as someone who hasn’t done a craft project in years, like myself, the results were surprisingly satisfactory 🙂 There was a learning curve, so I’ve included all the things I’ve learned in this guide.

I’m not at all an expert at this, and this was my first attempt. I was inspired by a pair of Gucci heels that I saw in Vegas last month. They were, quite possibly, the most stunning, jaw-droppingly gorgeous shoes I have ever laid eyes on. I’m definitely going to attempt creating something using the black crystals next. I thought I’d try it first on a pair of satin wedges (BP Fae, $59.95, also available in black) I picked up for my wedding. They weren’t too pricey, and even if they didn’t turn out perfect, you’d never really see them since the gown goes well past the floor.

What You Need

  • Pair of shoes
  • Flatback Crystals/Rhinestones (approximately 15-40 gross, depending on size of crystals/area to cover)
  • Adhesive (I used E6000, GemTac is also a good pick)
  • Tray (to hold the crystals)
  • Tweezers
  • Plastic Stick

I purchased all of my supplies from Dreamtime Creations. I had no problems with the service through them, though there are other crafting websites out there, too. This retailer happened to have a sale at the time, so that’s what made me go with them.

Step-by-step guide/my experience and lessons learned… 

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Clean the surface of the area you plan to cover.
  2. Uniformity or random pattern? That’s up to you – totally a preference, really. I like the look of various sizes randomly placed, so that’s what I did. If you want a more uniform look, you may want to apply line by line, rather than to a small area (like a patch).
  3. Start at either the edge of the shoe or the back of the heel. I felt the only area that needed real precision was the top and bottom edges, which I wanted to be even. I still used different sizes to create those borders, but you could choose one stone to make it easier for uniformity.
  4. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to a very, very small area. The glue sets fast enough that working in a 1cm x 2cm area was about as much as I could get through before it would lose its tackiness. You can still push around the stones here and there for sometime after it loses that tackiness, but applying the stones is so much easier when the glue is more viscous.
  5. Use tweezers to pick up stone by stone to place onto glue. The best method was to let go of the rhinestone just before it touched the glue, which would avoid getting glue on the tweezers. E6000 was very easy to rub off from the tweezers (and my hands), so it’s not a big deal if you get some glue on the tweezers.
  6. Use tweezers or a plastic stick to push and press rhinestone into place. I wanted a pretty tight pattern, so I used a plastic stick to get the rhinestones as close together as I could.
  7. Let set for 24-72 hours. This is based on the directions of E6000, which is the adhesive.
  8. Clean-up of any residual or excess glue can be done using acetone or rubbing alcohol. I suggest doing it on a few loose, extra stones to make sure there are no adverse reactions. You don’t want to saturate the area you’re working on, because it will dissolve the adhesive underneath the stone, too–you’re just looking to clean the tops of the stones of glue.
  9. Enjoy! 🙂 Your feet will be SPARKLIN’!

My Experience & Lessons Learned

I used approximately 15 gross (just over 2,000 stones), and I used sizes 5ss, 10ss, 12ss, 14ss, and 16ss. The stones I used were Swarovski 2058 flatback rhinestones in Crystal AB. I actually bought 30 gross, and I have so much leftover! I would not advise using the same sizes I did, because they’re really unnecessarily small. I plan to use 10ss, 12ss, 14ss, 16ss, 18ss, and 20ss next time. I like having either 5ss or 10ss available to cover any odd spaces, because you can cram 5ss into nearly any area that you can’t fit the larger stones tightly together. I would buy more of the 14ss and 16ss stones and less of the 5ss/10ss and 20ss sizes. I liked the look of at least four various sizes together (I used 5ss mostly as a filler where junctures weren’t as tightly packed as I wanted).

I also thought that I’d need a ton of glue, so I purchased the 3 oz. size of E6000, but 1 oz. would have been fine. It’s a common enough adhesive for crafts that you can reuse it elsewhere, though.  I might try out Gem Tac next time, because it seems like it has a slower drying time.  For sure, I want to pick up a syringe, though, so I can get more precise application. I ended up doing patches of glue at a time, and I wonder if it would be cleaner if I was able to apply a dot of glue, then press the rhinestone onto it. It may not be as time-efficient, though – so we’ll see if the results are better and if so, if it’s worth the (if any) additional time.

I tried the “Magical Tray” for sorting, and it’s not very useful for this type of project. Apparently, it’s only good for sorting up to 12ss, and even then, it turned up only 70% of the stones. I plan to grab five cheap sorting trays so I can pull out the exact size I want for an area, rather than fishing around for next time.  This also makes it easier to return the stones back to their original bags if you have extras. I ended up with a general bag filled with a mix of all five sizes.

I bought Jewel Setters, which were plastic sticks with one side coming to a point and the other had a wax ball attached to it. The wax just didn’t work for me to pick up stones–too often, the stone was stuck to the wax ball. I did like the pointed end for pushing stones around, and I ended up using one stick (they came in a set of two) to fish glue out of the E6000 and spread the glue onto the area I was working on.  The tweezers I used were some that my fiance had in his tool kit, but they weren’t sharp or pointed (I didn’t want to scratch the stones, as all my brow tweezers are rather sharp!), and they had a good length to them, which worked well for this project.

This is not necessarily a cheap or quick project. I spent about $125 for supplies (most of that on stones)–it’s way, way more affordable than most other rhinestone-bedecked shoes, though.  It took me six hours (three and half for the first shoe, two and half for the other). I bought a pair of Enzo Angiolini “Show Me” shoes, which had black rhinestones over a black shoe, and while I’m a fan of the brand’s shoes overall, the craftsmanship and placement of the rhinestones left something to be desired–lots of extra space, some missing stones, and those were regular rhinestones and not Swarovski, and they definitely had less sparkle. I think if they had less space on the shoes, the regular rhinestones would have sparkled plenty, though.

I’m excited, though, and hopeful; I plan to do a pair of heels (3-4″) in Jet and another pair of shoes in Volcano. I’d love to do flats in Volcano, but finding a suitable pair hasn’t been so easy.  Hope you enjoyed this, and if you’ve done this project yourself, please chime in with any advice!


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Anne-Marie Avatar

WOW Christine! They look so fabulous and I’m not even a sparkly kind of girl if you know what I mean! I love DIY craft projects though – I’ve just made a note to look into this. Your patience is astounding. And my goodness, congratulations on your wedding!! This is the first I’d heard about it. So excited for you!!!!

kathryn marie Avatar

I have to do a lot of stoning for my dance, and I found that an easier way to pick up the stones is to get a slight amount of dental wax and put it on the end of a chopstick, apply the glue to the shoe or what you’re stoning, and then because the wax is tacky, it picks up the stones, and you can press them right on rather than struggling with tweezers =)

Carrie Avatar

You get mad props for having the patience to pull these off! It’s not something I’d ever dare to attempt (not nearly crafty enough) but they look absolutely fantastic. 😀

Rae // theNotice Avatar

Eee! I love how these turned out, Christine — not that I’d ever have the patience to bedazzle an entire wedge heel, but I can admire from a distance 😛 The finished shoe feels very “you;” fun and sort of glitzy without verging into kitsch territory.


Rae // theNotice Avatar

Lol!! Well said 😛 I’m fine with puzzles, but AWFUL with glue. I have no idea why; I can refinish a dresser, DIY an entire set of drawer organizers, even reupholster a bloody chair, but glue is my kryptonite. I’d end up in a really sparkly, really sticky mess of tears; it would be awful >.<

*tips hat to you*

blueraccoon Avatar

These are absolutely gorgeous – you’d never guess they weren’t designed that way. *applauds you*

(however, a note on wedding shoes: my dress also hit the floor and had a train, and I wore flats because my husband’s *thismuch* shorter than me and didn’t want me taller than him. So what I also did was I bought a pair of white leather Keds, and after the ceremony, when we had a little quiet time to ourselves, I changed from my pretty wedding shoes, which were killing my feet, into my Keds. My feet were SO much happier the rest of the night!)

Kafka Avatar

You are SUCH an adorable couple!! And what a lovely dress. You’re right, one would never be able to guess that you’d changed shoes. So much better to be comfortable and be able to enjoy yourself!

blueraccoon Avatar

Thank you both 🙂 Christine – yeah, we didn’t switch locations, just rooms within the catering hall, so that was easier for me, but if you’re changing and all, you may want a “reception dress” 🙂

Kafka – thank you! I love, love, love my wedding dress, but if all goes well I’ll never wear it again because it’ll be too damn big 😛

Ryou Avatar

Ugh, I agree with wearing comfortable shoes. I made the mistake of wearing thin-ish heels under my wide mammoth feet on my wedding. I didn’certainly had no idea that those heels would leave holes on the grass as I walk. >.<

Thankfully we had a VERY small and quick wedding (as in two guests kind of small), so I could change to my comfortable Scholl's wedges for the dinner afterwards. :/

On another note, you look gorgeous, Rebecca! You two make such an adorable couple. <3

(And if you don't mind, please tell me your weight loss secret sometime. XD )

Ryou Avatar

Black is kind of my default color, and I figured why change that for something traditional that I’d never wear again.

Our wedding was held in a country where I had just moved to, so I didn’t really know anyone there yet. The reason was because it would have been too complicated to get married in Indonesia where they’d bring religion into it; and to hold it in the US (where my spouse is from) would have been complicated by visa procedure. In the end, it was more practical to hold it in Australia, and it was a pretty good excuse not to have a large wedding. 😉

blueraccoon Avatar

Thank you! We had a big wedding, but in Judaism it’s tradition for the bride and groom to have some time ot themselves after the ceremony, it’s called Yichud. So we had a chance to sit down, catch our breath, and go “Okay, wait, what now?” as well as change our shoes and bustle up my dress.

(My weight loss secret? I had gastric bypss surgery. I’ve gained some back, but I’m still down about 70lbs.)

blueraccoon Avatar

Thank you! I’d like to get rid of some of the weight I gained back, obviously, but I’m still down over half of what I lost originally so it’s not so bad.

Ryou Avatar

That’s really impressive. I have this thing where I wouldn’t lose weight even if I eat nothing (I learned recently that your body would think you’re starving and would send signals that would prevent you from burning any fat).

However, the weirdest thing is that I would gain 20 pounds at once then it plateau’d; and that’s when I change nothing to my diet/exercise. o_O;

Kate & Zena Avatar

I think this is one of those projects only you and me would be crazy enough to do. The jigsaw me loves doing things that requires mad skills which is probably why I’m the only one that can handle Perler bead projects (my mom tried, she did…she got frustrated. I have some mad focusing skills.) It isn’t patience you need, honestly, it’s the focus (because as everyone knows, I have the patience of an ant. Patience and focus are two very different things with me!)

It’s hard to see all the different sizes in the photos, but they are pretty. I’m not a glitzy-on-the-foot person, but they are Christine!

Christine Avatar

That’s true – you definitely need to be able to focus! I gotta look up Perler bead projects now 🙂 I love doing jigsaws, but I don’t have the kind of time to do them any more (mostly because I like doing enormous ones – like 5,000 pieces or lager).

Yeah, I think the sizes I used were, overall, too small. You can’t see all the size differences from afar, just because they’re *too* small to begin with.

Kate & Zena Avatar

I do the basic Perler projects currently as ironing comes with a learning curve (um, I hate ironing…I tend to burn myself!), but I’ve made myself a Zena (which required basically my making up my own pattern using the doggie template.) I have a super board, which is one where I can put multiple projects on or do one large project, but I’ve been mainly working with the two kits (The Pet Kid and Bakery Kit) I got along with an idea book at Jo-Anns. It wasn’t that expensive as I got some mega savings with coupons! I have a pile of them laying about. Early Christmas presents, I guess!

Here’s the site:

Oh, 5,000 jigsaws overwhelm me. I work on a 500-1000 jigsaw scale! I’ve done two puzzles so far this summer from a five-pack of 500 puzzles (for $9.99 at Walgreens!) I did one of them last summer, so I’ve done 3/5! One took me 6 days and the other peeved me off so it took 12. I got so irritated with it as it has so much detail that I had to keep reorganizing how I was dividing my puzzle up!

I really love 3D puzzles of buildings. I used to do those all of the time (I worked on the medium-hard ones when I was 11!), but I can never find them anymore!

Kafka Avatar

– jaw agape –

– splutters to find words to describe the shoes, their beauty and your effort –

– gives up and returns to speechlessness –

Kafka Avatar

I know, right?! I was so befuddled by the shiny glory, I didn’t even know what I was typing, realise that my first post would vanish due to HTML or that my 2nd try had returned at the bottom. You made me totally lose all coherency. Now that I’m coming to my senses, I must say, I actually LIKE the fact that you can’t see any difference between the sizes of the stones. I think the uniformity adds to the extremely professional look of the shoes. I’m so impressed, I’m… I’m…. *loses all words again, goes back to ogling the screen*.

Ellie Avatar

please post pictures of your wedding/wedding dress! i know it’s pretty personal, but i’d just love to see them. i’m very happy for you! :]

Kafka Avatar

I’m speechless. (So much so that my speechless translated to an invisible post the first time. LOL. Apparently, you can’t use brackets with this system.)

Christine, I can only say, Brava! BRAVA!!! I don’t even know where to start. I’m in such amazement, I’m going to return to my spluttering loss for words.

Christine Avatar

Could be a fun project for when you’re feeling crafty. It was my original intention to have it as a more low-key project, but then my “must finish this” kicked into overdrive. I was expecting 6-10 hours per shoe, but when it seems like, “Oh, just a little more left” and it’s only been two hours…

Becky Avatar

These turned out absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! Probably the prettiest wedding shoes (or shoes in general) I’ve ever seen! If I have time/patience I will definitely do this for my wedding (which isn’t even on the radar yet but I’ll just have to remember!) Awesome job!

Ryou Avatar

LOL I keep joking with my spouse about how I need diamond-encrusted shoes, because girls stereotypically love diamonds and shoes. (Not me) I giggle at this and the thought of making our running joke reality, if only for the laugh. 😀

Amazing job, Christine. I wouldn’t have guessed it was DIY.

cydoniac Avatar

I really admire your patience…!!!! I could never do this even if my life depended on it!! they turned out very impressive!!!! you did a wonderful job!! plus, you got the satisfaction that you made them yourself!!!!!!! well done!!! bravo!!!!

BooBooNinja Avatar

Christine, this is incredible! I love how you re-interpreted the Gucci pair. If you don’t mind — how much did the whole project cost you?

Christine Avatar

About $125 for supplies/stones (probably $100~ on the stones, $25 for glue, tray, etc.), and then the cost of shoes (I got them during the anniversary sale, so I think they were $40-50). I suspect that to do a heel like the Gucci pair, probably more like $200-250 in stones since there’s more surface area. If you go with regular (non-Swarovski) rhinestones, I think you can save quite a bit.

BooBooNinja Avatar

I think someone else mentioned that a top coat might be a good idea. I wonder if there is something you can spray on, so the thin coat doesn’t interfere with the crystal and rhinestone sparkle.

KF Avatar

Wow, awesome! I bet this would work with spikes and studs too…I might have to try this, I’ve been dying for these spiky Jeffrey Campbell boots that I super can’t afford. Thanks for sharing!

SK Avatar

You didn’t say how much the Gucci shoes were that you saw in Vegas?

Just for a savings comparison, figuring in what you’d guesstimate your hourly wage would be? Then multiplying that times the 6.5 hours, adding in the cost of the supplies, I wonder how much you saved? Once you factor in the cost of the purchase of the shoes and everything combined?

Pat yourself on the back though, you’ve done well.

Christine Avatar

The Gucci shoes are linked above, and they were $2295 before tax. I spent maybe $175 on the shoes/supplies and time, and instead of reading/watching TV as my decompressing time, I did this (I work 10-12 hours a day, which leaves me with about 2 hours of downtime, aside from time to eat).

SK Avatar

My respectful apologies, I must’ve overlooked the link. Thank you for responding. I do so appreciate it. Wowzers! Talk about a major savings no?

After going back and looking at the referenced site, I have to say that while those Gucci shoes are stunning (classic for the LBD) I have to say I like your take on it using the wedge.

Again, well done, you deserve to be proud of yourself!

Christine Avatar

Yeah, they were like… OTT in price to the point where I nearly had a heart attack 😉 I LOVE shoes and looking at them, but my price point is more around $100-200, and even going over $100 is hard. It’s like I want to wear them everywhere if they’re going to be pricey, but with shoes, I know that’s not the case! Especially 5″ heels!

Thank you!

mpama Avatar

I think, besides the crafts and all, you said something very important. That if using the ‘useless’ time in a differnet way, we can actually do geat things. It seems like a small amount of time saved, but this is the way to do something great even in a tiring, routine day. That’s the secret.

Christine Avatar

It was a good project overall! I figured as long as I used time I was already using to relax/decompress, then it was OK to try it. I wasn’t taking any time away from the blog, so I wouldn’t feel guilty or anything. And better than TV/reading, since I was actually productive–but it was an equally mindless/easy task to do as watching TV!

Polarbelle Avatar

They’re beautiful Christine. Just stunning. You might consider a light layer of clear top coat over them to help hold the stones in place. I’ve done several shoes but nothing that stunning for sure. Great job.

Victoria Avatar

Great job! I’ll keep this in mind for sure for when I get married. I wanted to suggest maybe using Hot Fix crystals next time. I find it seems to make the job quite easy and quick. One caveat is that you can’t swap from one size crystal to another quickly (the tool has a tip that takes a specific size crystal, and you need to change it), but a bit of planning could make that okay.

Tracy Avatar

So gorgeous! Now I have the sudden urge to glue crystals on everything I own.. lol. Seriously though, amazing work. That had to take a lot of patience and a steady hand. Impressive! 🙂

niche Avatar

I love it! It looks great. Personally, I would end up buying the Gucci shoes if it was exactly what I wanted for my wedding (for me, it’ll likely be Manolos) but it’s way more impressive that you made yours. They are beautiful and you have to think of a way for the guests to see them. When I go to a wedding, I’m always looking at what the bride is wearing from head to toe.

Christine Avatar

I liked the shoes, though not for the wedding. They didn’t have my size at the store (just to try them on, you know, hoping to hate them on), and only one in the country (not sure if they still have it). The heel is a bit too high for me, so it is BEAUTIFUL times infinity, but it’s not the perfect shoe for me. I think at $2300, they have to be perfect, LOL! I plan to use a more kitten heel-esque shoe with jet crystals instead, so I can get more use out of them!

I’ve been looking for wedges for the past few months, and they don’t seem to make a lot of form wedges–even at higher price points. When I spotted plain satin ivory wedges, I was like… Ohh… I could try there first…

They turned out way better than I anticipated (I am not a crafty person!), so I am sure I will be showing all my female relatives, out of pride and shock!

Reesa Avatar

Christine, these are absolutely stunning!!! I am so inspired and looking forward to trying this. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

Congrats again on your wedding (and these shoes – lol)!

CristinaO Avatar

This is the first time i comment on your blog despite the fact that i read it daily,but i need to congratulate you for your DIY skills and your upcoming marriage.In my country,Romania,in Europe,we have a wish “Casa dr piatra si copii frumosi” so for you HOME OF STONE AND BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN .

Jennifer Avatar

These shoes are gorgeous! Wonderful job! Thank you so much for sharing, not only am I excited to learn this new trick, but also, like so many other women I go gaga over everything wedding, hehe. And I’m so glad you posted the link to your dress, it is absolutely stunning!!!! I love the flower detail. 😀 I hope we’ll get to see pictures from the wedding! Do you think you’ll do your own makeup??? I bet it will be phenomenal!

Andrea Avatar

Hi Christine. You did a great job but I have a little tip for you for next time. Rather than use tweezers, use a piece of spaghetti slightly dampened with water (just did the tip into a little dish of water for a few seconds). This picks up the crystal a lot easier than tweezers and you will be able to control exactly where you are placing the crystals. I am a nail tech and CND taught me this technique for doing Swarovski crystal pedicures : )

Ani_BEE Avatar

Man I <3 E6000!!! I have backup of my backups for those tubes because they sell out so fast locally. It's the only glue i can rely one for most of my costume work (glue metal, Fimo, plastic or foam to fabric…. E6000 all the way).

There is a site called This to That (Glue Advice) if you every in question of what glue works best.

CharmedMuggle Avatar

Very pretty! The women of The Purse Forum have been doing this for several years since Christian Louboutin introduced his strassed shoes @ $2500+, something other designers like Gucci et al have since copied. The most recent thread contains great advice on the stones, durability, glue, stone placement, stone sellers & best of all, beautiful pix of their strassed Loubies, clutches & even their little girls’ strassed shoes!

Emi Avatar

Hey Christine! Amazing job on the shoes! I did a pair a couple months ago! I completely covered a pair of platform pumps in 3 different sizes of aurora borealis swarovski crystal. I would really recommend to anyone who wants to try this, to use 3 different sizes of crystal. It gives the shoes dimension. (I work at a store that sells everything from swarovski shoes, to phone cases, to glasses) I would also recommend trying to find your swarovski at wholesale cost! My next project : swarosvki cowboy boots!

civa Avatar

Beautiful work for your first try Christine! You’ll be so stunning on your wedding day. Maybe you can glue the left over stones to your phone case or laptop. 😉

Rose Avatar

I’m seriously in awe These are THE wedding shoes that I’ve been dreaming of and searching high and low for! Great pump wedges in decent fabrics are so hard to find at any price point. I’m seriously gonna bookmark this and create my own! You’ve made it look easy and absolutely STUNNING!! Your guests will be so impressed!

I’m a crafty person, I used Swarovski beads to make jewelry, but never bedazzled anything Now I’m planning on using some of your tips to create custom Chuck’s for my Niece’s birthday outfit 😀 Thanks a bunch for sharing this!

Christine Avatar

Yay!! My search for more formal wedges that weren’t going to break the bank is finally over – I was really happy to find those wedges, even just as they were. The only other option I had on the table was a pair of Badgley Mischka’s, but the price was steeper than I wanted to spend.

desigirl Avatar

christine, i happened to be doing this type of project on my lil girls shoes soon. but did you know theres a “pick me up” tool at kmart for $5 that will make picking up the stones wayyy easier? i couldn’t find it in my local kmart but i will order it. i’m sure this took you a few hours?

desigirl Avatar

i wanted to update my comment. i couldn’t find the pick me up tool anymore. so if u google “china marker” which is a wax pencil in stores, that will work beautifully. there are a few youtube videos showing how their version of this picks up/releases rhinestones. i’m going to try it out!

Christine Avatar

I used a wax stick which was supposed to work but didn’t. Tweezers went faster for me than the pick-up stick I was using did, so it wasn’t so bad. These took me just over six hours, and from what I’ve heard, most pairs take between 6-18 hours depending on the area you’re covering!

Heather Avatar

So just a helpfull tip. Go to a beauty store like sallys and they sell the pick me up tools they sell for rhinestone nail art. Dont laugh but the work best if they are slightly damp. I usually lick mine *blushes*. I did something like this for my prom shoes ages ago.

Michelle Avatar

If someone has asked this question, I apologize for the repeat. I have it in my head to crystalize a pair of leopard print pumps. From what I have looked at so far calf hair shoes seem to offer the most distinct pattern to be able to follow when gluing the colored (jet, light topaz and copper) crystals. I know that e6000 works well on suede, but would like your or others opinions if it would adhere to calf hair. Here is a link to an image of the type of shoe I am referring to.

Thanks for the tips you’ve shared the shoes look fabulous.

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