Affix to Shoes

Prototype your design with double-stick tape. This way you can decide where your battery pack will go, and the path your ribbon will take along the shoe, and you can easily readjust as necessary.

Wait to cut the excess ribbon until later.

While planning your design, put on the shoes and see where they bend when you walk. Space your ribbon so as to avoid placing the LEDs directly where the shoe bends. The connections between the soft ribbon and the hard LED epoxy blob are the most fragile part of the ribbon, and repeatedly flexing these connections may break the circuit.

If your ribbon must span a flexing area, avoid applying glue to the span, so the ribbon isn't forced to bend as sharply as the shoe.
Start with the battery pack. Thread a needle with clear thread (black shown in this step for visibility), double it over on itself, and tie the ends together in a knot.

Pull the needle through the plastic loop on the battery pack, and pull the thread most of the way through.

Separate the doubled thread and pull the needle between them, then pull the thread taut. Now the thread is looped securely around the battery pack!
Stitch through the shoe a few times to affix the battery pack, tie a knot, and snip the excess thread. See how the clear thread is barely noticeable? (click photos to enlarge)

Remove the double-stick tape one section at a time, getting ready to glue.
Our preferred glue for this project is E6000. It dries clear and is flexible, and it sticks to many materials. You may have to experiment with adhesives to find the right one for your shoes, or even sew the ribbon on if your shoes allow!

Use tiny strips of painter's tape to clamp the ribbon to the shoe while the glue dries.
Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours before removing the tape. Trim the excess ribbon. You can connect a spare battery pack to the excess ribbon, and depending on how much ribbon you use on each shoe, you could potentially get away with one reel total. These winged ballet flats use 3/4 of a reel each (two reels total with two extra bits left over).
This guide was first published on Aug 20, 2013. It was last updated on Aug 20, 2013. This page (Affix to Shoes) was last updated on Sep 01, 2019.