Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Crayons to the Rescue! Fluevog Fixers

Hello! You might recall that when I unpacked my spring/summer clothes in my March closet swap-over (here), I was devastated to find that some colour had stained my orange and yellow waxed canvas Big Presence Desmonds (picture here). Ruined!

They'd already had quite a bit of wear and tear, just from wearing them - I'd talked to my local Victoria Fluevogologist Katie W. months ago (before the recent staining) about what to do to fix the various marks, scuffs and buff patterns that were marring the waxed fabric, and she suggested crayons. After all, it's a wax finish. I picked up a box of Crayolas ages ago with grand plans, which of course, I never got around to.

I've had the shoes and the crayons sitting out for nearly two months, and today I finally decided to bite the bullet and see if I could fix them, or at least make them presentable and wearable again. 
Above, the Before picture...

And below...
The After! They are again wearable - the yellow ones came out better, but they had less damage overall. The orange ones are...acceptable. 

So, wanna see what I did? Let's take a look at them again. I'm set up on my kitchen counter, with paper towels laid out, and my crayon colour selections chosen. 
I've circled two of the spots. Mental note for packing these up in September: wrap each shoe separately. 

 I dug into our crafting stash and found an unopened pack of nylon-bristled brushes. 
I made a mini double-boiler out of some steel measuring cups. Water in the bottom cup, inner burner on Low and the smaller cup floating.

I started with the yellow shoes, and chopped off a length of the yellow crayon with a steak knife. Klassy!
I chopped it finely, and transferred the wax to the cup with a cake/pie slicer thingy. 
I won it at Pampered Chef party years ago. I only use it for serving lasagna.

I stirred the wax with a wooden toothpick.
When it was all melted, I used the biggest brush and took a deep breath!

Some Before pictures. One of the spots on the toe of the left shoe.
The top of the right shoe also had spots.
Plus wear-and-tear along the side and toe.

The outside of the left shoe.
Some more wear spots. Not too bad.

I painted the wax on, gently heating the brush on the bottom of the top pan when it started getting clumpy.
A great colour match!

The inside of the right shoe.
I found that thin layers worked better.
It took a few layers to cover the orange spots.

The Before:
That colour went right down to the canvas - I could not scrape it off.

The right shoe Afters.
 Looks pretty good!
I gentle scraped at the edges of these raised areas with my fingernail to make it look more natural.
Some of the thicker areas cracked a bit when I did this.
The toe area of the right shoe, with all the spots covered up, pre-scraping

Remember, this is what it used to look like:
Not bad! I'm happy with that!

Now the orange pair. These pair have always been weird. The right shoe has always been a mess with much softer canvas, wear spots and colour rubbing off. 
The one obvious dark stain, but the other areas are heavily worn, with the wax rubbed off in places.

Same with the outside of the shoe.
 Even around the heels and the edges of the vamp.
The top of the right shoe is just nasty. I had to nearly "repaint" the entire thing in crayon wax.

The left shoe is nearly pristine in comparison.
 A few minor marks on the insides.
 And one big spot on the toe - the storage damage.

I mixed the light orange with the orange red crayon, with more of the lighter orange.
I used a bit too much of the dark orange. Ah well. Noted for next time, or when I do touch-ups.
I cleaned up between colours by wiping out the top cup with a paper towel and reheating it to get every bit of the yellow out. I washed the brush in the hot water of the bottom cup and wiped it down with a paper towel, repeating until it was clean.

After touching up the left orange shoe.
It's a bit noticeable on the toe where the spot was - I buffed that off with my fingernail. The wax on the sole came off easily.

Here's the Before again.
That's a solid cover job. 

From there I went back to the more problematic right shoe. After - you can see that the darker red is a bit streaky due to the thin layers I built up.
 The Before again:
And the inside:
 With the Before again:
They look fine from a distance, but are much more messy close-up:
I have a feeling this may crackle when I wear them.
But compared to what they looked like before...
I think they turned out rather well!

After "sanding" them down with my nail, I gave them a vigorous brushing with a soft toothbrush to remove any shininess and smooth down the edges of the wax "patches."
I thought a firmer bristle would cause more flaking. This ended up working quite well and gave them a soft buff.

Here's the comparison of the two orange shoes side by side. Not perfect, but fine for another season of wear.
This repair worked best on the yellow shoes, but I'm very pleased with how it covered many of the wear spots on both shoes, including the toes.

 And here we are, all ready for wearing again!
I'm feeling rather pleased with myself!

I went find Vizzini for some cuddles and validation.
"Do you mind, Woman? I'm napping here!"
So helpful. 


  1. How very clever! I think they turned out incredibly well. Big round of applause from me!

    By the way, I think your book nook is becoming a kitty corner :)

    1. Thanks, Nana! I'm very happy with the yellow ones, and okay with the orange, but pleased overall.

      Yes, I think you are right! I certainly get a glare when I try to use that chair!

  2. There's nothing more satisfying than restoring a well-loved piece but watching somebody else do it come a closer second!
    What an inspired idea to use crayons, I'd have probably gone for fabric dye and completely ruined them. How brilliant Fluevog have an expert on hand to advise you, what a brilliant company they are to offer aftercare in addition to fabulous shoes!
    Vizzini looks deliriously happy in his patch of sunlight. xxx

    1. I was so happy that I was able to save both pairs! I'd tried just rubbing the crayon directly on the waxed canvas, but they were too hard. The original wax is a bit on the sticky side, so dye would not have worked on it. Fluevog is amazing for their customer service!!

      He does, doesn't he? What a spoiled lump he is.

  3. There's something so life affirming about a successful repair job, it's good for the planet and good for the wellbeing. I remember my dad, long passed on, repairing shoes, in our old garage. He grew up going to school barefoot so he wasn't about to chuck away perfectly salvageable leather goods.
    Well done on an amazing repair. And by the way, the shoes are beautiful and fully deserved all your TLC!

    1. Agreed, Juliana! I feel so good about myself for trying and succeeding! It's far better than tossing them or giving up on them, as your dad was so wise to know.

      Thank you! I love these shoes - I was almost in tears when I saw the spots in March.

  4. What a clever idea! I think these look great! I'm pleased you could restore the shoes so you can get more wear from them! :) It's always so sad I find shoes show wear so quickly (of course as they are on the ground so much) and it can be a pain to properly clean them. I've not had to do anything like this with my shoes but I'll remember it if I ever get wax coated shoes - the kids crayons will not be safe, haha!

    1. Thank you so much, Mica! Remember, the more shoes you have, the longer they last (because you're not wearing them as frequently!). That's good justification for having a lot of shoes, ha ha!

      This waxed finish is unlike anything I've encountered before. I'm glad to have this fix in my arsenal!

  5. You did such a fabulous job! I'm doffing my (wide brimmed - sunny weather being upon us again) hat to you big time.

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

  6. Really fabulous job!, and so glad that you can wear your lovely shoes another season!

    1. I know, I'm so excited to be able to wear them both again! Thank you so much, Monica!

  7. My mother had a great saying for when something wasn't perfect but it would do. She used to say 'a galloping horse would never see it'!

    I think you've made a wonderful job of covering up the damage to the shoes. Just think so many people would have just binned them. Well done; you'll get another season's wear out of them and if you pack them carefully when they go into storage maybe another season too!

    I thought Vizzini might have tried to eat the crayons....
    Take care,

    1. Oh, I like that. We say "good enough for government work" which is a bit disparaging!

      Thank you! I am quite proud of myself for doing that. The yellow ones will definitely last me another season or three, and if I've wrecked the orange ones, well, maybe I can get even more creative with them and glue gems all over them or something!

      No, he was not interested in this, once he ascertained that there was no tuna or kitty treats involved.

  8. Genius! Happy for you that everything worked out so brilliantly!

  9. Freakin' BRILLIANT!!!! i would have never thought of this! and it's looks great!
    xo Eva

    1. Thanks, Eva! I felt very chuffed that they turned out so well, especially the yellow ones!

  10. What an inspired idea to use crayons to restore those shoes. And how absolutely brilliant that Fluevog put you in the right direction. Now that's what I call customer service. And that fiddly job definitely paid off, as both pairs are more than wearable again. I've been using an eraser for scuff marks on some of my (fake) suede shoes, red nail polish on a pair of patent slingbacks and green marker for my beloved pair of green shoes, but I might now very well add crayons to my shopping list and repertoire! xxx

    1. Thanks so much, Ann! I know, Fluevog is the best - that's why they have such a loyal customer in me!

      I have used felt pens, highlighters and nail polish as well!

  11. This is amazing! Way to go, Sheila! I was wondering if you could use a hair dryer on the waxed areas to kind of soften it into the weave a bit. Just a thought -- they look great as they are, but perhaps if the was cracks??

    1. No, I tried the hair dryer and it doesn't get quite hot enough, although maybe I should try it on the newer parts. Great idea, Cynthia, thanks!

  12. Aren't you clever?! I applaud your ingenuity. I believe strongly in finding ways to use products until the very end, so extending the lives of these shoes is laudable.

    1. I felt very clever! I'm so glad I was able to rescue them. Even if the orange ones don't survive (they have a lot of new wax on them!), I can still do something with the shoes to fancy them up.

  13. What a fantastic job you did. And so cleaver coming up with the heating. I would have just used the crayons themselves to “paint” over the spots.
    These shoes are ready for summer.

    1. Actually, just drawing on the shoes with the crayons was what I tried first, but it didn't work at all. Would you believe I made candles when I was a kid in the 70s? We did all kinds of crafts - I remembered that we had to use a double boiler to melt the wax then, so I did it here.

      Thanks so much, Greetje! I am so happy to have my yellow shoes back!

  14. This is such a great DIY. It wouldn't occur to me to use crayons for this but you're right- they're vax, aren't they? So, why not try it? You did get a great result and prolonged the life span of your shoes. I've used acrylic paints on my shoes in the past, but it is not always the perfect solution. For textile shoes, I've used fabric paints. For real leather, it is best to buy special paint for real paint. I bought a bottle of leather paint once and was very happy with results- one needs to apply it with a brush. It is a very simple and elegant solution to fix leather shoes, bags and accessories.

    1. Exactly! The wax that's already on them is rather sticky, so I couldn't use paint on them. I'll keep an eye out for leather paint - thanks for the tip!

  15. I'm amazed! That is absolutely brilliant and seems v eco-friendly to me! They are such bright, ebullient shoes! P.S. I forgot to comment on the odd shoes in the last post! Amazing!

    1. Yes, better to repair than to discard. They're so fun. I'm glad my fix worked.


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