Today I saw a girl with a KILLER pair of combat boots with a ton of metal hardware on them. I debated in my head for like 5 minutes while walking behind her if I should run up & ask her where she got them from, but then she crossed the street =(. I was obsessed, and kicking myself later… they really were perfect. After looking online for a similar pair, I couldn’t find anything I liked, so I decided to make my own. Unfortunately, the internet didn’t offer up much in the way of tutorials, so this was done on the fly. After seeing Kristen‘s DIY metal bar belt tutorial, and Karen‘s tutorial for metal shoelace tips, I figured I could definitely manage this on my own. First I went in search of a cheap pair of black combat boots. I wanted them to be hardware free, and able to fold over the tops (Look for a pair with a back zipper, not a side zipper). I found a pair at one of those cheap clothing stores in the city for $30, Bonus – they have snaps on the side to keep the sides folded. Sold. Then I headed to my nearest art store (Dick Blick) & local hardware store for inspiration & supplies.
All told, here’s what I bought:
|5/32″ Hollow Brass Tube*||$1.39||1||$1.39|
|0.32″ x 0.75″ Brass Strip*||$1.99||2||$3.98|
|0.10 Brass Sheet*||$2.99||1||$2.99|
|Black Combat boots by Refresh (Here or Here)||$29.99||1||$29.99|
|3′ of black chain||$2.12||1||$2.12|
|Small gold-tone screws||$4.00||12||$4.00|
*All by K&S Precision Metals, stocked by Blick. They don’t show online, but are in stock in stores.
Tools-wise, I used a power drill, drill bit set, straight edge snips, hammer, pliers, and a nail art pen.
Here’s the boots before I started working on them + main supplies:
Process + Photos
Heel Plates: I bent one of the long strips around the heel, using a combination of my hands and a hammer (with a towel on top to avoid dinging the metal). I cut off the extra length, and put it aside to use for the harness. After bending the strip to the shape of the heel, I drilled two holes in each end. I absolutely don’t condone my method for drilling – definitely not the safest way to do it, but I just held the bar against a cardboard box for support & drilled through. After lining up the bar with the heel, I used the screws to attach it. I was originally going to use glue + bars, but it wasn’t necessary.
Harness: I used a can of pledge to shape the extra pieces left over from doing the heels. After I got it bent into a roughly curved shape, I drilled a large hole in each end. I used pliers to open up a link on the chain, and attached one end to the plate. After measuring how much I’d need to go around the entire boot shaft, I did the same thing with the other side. Same method for a second length of chain that goes under the boot & connects to the first chain to make a harness.
Shoelace Tips: I had the boots with me when I went to the craft store, and tested a couple different brass tubes until I found one I could fit the shoelaces ends into. I used snips to cut off a little section from each end (a little longer than the hard plastic existing tips), which crimped the ends perfectly. After sliding the shoelaces into the tube, I used a nail + hammer to make an indentation, which will be enough to keep the shoelace inside the tube. Since the tube was now crimped from the first two snips I made, I used a nail + hammer to open one side up after cutting the second set.
Toe Plate: I made a template out of paper, and traced it onto the brass sheet with an oh-so-manly nail art pen. I added a little tab to each end so I could bend those out & screw them down. Drill a hole in each tab BEFORE you cut them out – trust me, I made like 6 wrong ones before I got it right. After holes were drilled, I used the snips to cut out the plate. I lined up the plate, following the shape of the toe & making sure it was centered in front. I drilled two screws on an angle into the holes to keep it there.
After everything was assembled, I took a couple after pics – VERY happy with how they turned out, and way less than this $180 pair I was considering! I’m debating adding an off-white cable knit lining instead of the blue plaid, but that’ll be another day.