Dressing Up Your Flip Flops

The sound of water-wrinkled feet slapping against foam soles is a summertime staple. Dressing up your flip flops, with its Y-shaped thong wedged between first and second toes everywhere, can elevate the most basic of all shoes – not to mention a gloriously affordable warm-weather staple.

Nothing beats the ease of slipping into a pair and scurrying across scorching-hot sand for a cool dip for kids. So why not give this simple sandal a spiffy makeover for the summer? It’s a snap with fabric, ribbon, beads, and whatever else catches your eye!

  1. Get yourself some flip-flops. The simpler, the better. Find a worn-in pair from last season, or get some on the cheap from a discount or dollar store. We found ours in white, green, and pink at a local Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts store for a reasonable price of $1.39 each.
  2. It’s fabric time. Gather a few spools of cloth ribbon and/or about a 1/4 yard of fabric to give your shoes a scrappy look. Visit your local sewing store’s remnant and bargain bins – or delve into the depths of the kids’ closets, where outgrown clothes can be transformed into the perfect flip-flop fixings. Colors and patterns can be mixed and matched. We got a picnic-themed “fat quarter” (which is normally used for quilting) and some flashy, blue-bubbled swimsuit material (read: dries faster!).
  3. Form it up. Cut the fabric or ribbon into strips of varying widths. Aim for two to four inches in length, depending on how big or small those tootsies are.
  4. Everything is tied up. Start knotting and channel your inner Scout. Tie the strips onto the thong portion, beginning at the toe divider and working your way up. Sometimes a single tie is sufficient; we doubled up for our swimsuit material, a little slicker. Fill the entire strap or tie a “poof” in the middle.
  5. Extra glitz. Fill your flip-flops with as many trinkets as your feet can handle! Try weaving matching girly ribbon around the strap with pink and purple “pony beads” (Tips: A large plastic needle is great for threading two ribbons through one bead, and make sure the inch closest to the base portions is bead-free to avoid a painful stroll!). Tie on letter beads in the center for a finishing touch. The green pair was transformed into “creature flops” using bulging Styrofoam eyes. For the grand finale, our pink flops were embellished with fabric, beads, coordinating star and heart-shaped foam beads.

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