DIY How To Create A Zebra Print With Flatback Crystals
The purpose of this tutorial is to show you how to create your own Zebra print pattern on a converse toe which can be crystallized. The more crystal sizes you have the greater the flexibility of being able to fill in the pattern as exactly as possible. The main crystal sizes used in the tutorial are ss9, ss12, ss7 and ss5, I have also used one or two ss3, ss8, ss14 and ss16 crystals. You DON’T have to have all these crystal sizes to complete the tutorial but its recommended to have a few ss5 or ss7 crystals for filling in smaller gaps.
- Fine Sandpaper or emery cloth/file for roughing up/scratching the rubber toe.
- Isopropyl Alcohol also called Rubbing Alcohol which is used for degreasing the rubber toe and removing any dust. (available on ebay which is where we get ours).
- Clean Cotton Cloth/hanky/tea towel for applying the Isopropyl alcohol.
- Flatback Non Hotfix Crystals – For this tutorial I have used Jet and Clear Crystal colour flatbacks (rhinestones) in a variety of sizes. (available here)
- Orange Stick which is a small wooden stick used for pushing back cuticles (available in any chemist).
- Converse Trainers to add crystals to.
- E6000 Adhesive which is an industrial strength craft adhesive that’s very strong, flexible, waterproof and clear in colour. It should be used in a well ventilated area with a mask for protection from the harmful fumes. (available here)
- Crystal Katana Tool for applying non hotfix flatback crystals which is a really nice tool to use for all crystal sizes (available here)
If you are on a tight budget or are only looking to use the tool once we also have a cheaper tool available which you can use called the Magic Pick Mini (available here)
- Fine Permanent Black Marker for drawing and colouring in the black zebra stripes.
- Silver Ringed Rose Flatbacks these are HOTFIX flatback crystals for the tutorial we used 30 x ss20 Clear crystal and 20 x ss16 Jet Hematite silver ringed rose crystals. (available here)
- Hotfix Applicator Tool with size ss16 and ss20 tips these crystals can also be applied using adhesive despite them being hotfix if you don’t have an applicator tool. (available here)
TIP’s for first timers:
- Work out the pattern of crystals before adding any adhesive. (To do this physically add the crystals to the stripe covering the black stripe as closely as possible and then remove the crystals placing them on a flaty surface in the same pattern that they came off the stripe)
- Only apply enough adhesive for a few crystals at a time especially if the room is warm as the glue sets quite quickly
- If you are using smaller crystals apply the adhesive thinly or when you press the crystal down it will get buried under the adhesive, if this happens use the end of the orange stick to remove it, flatten the adhesive and try again.
- Gently apply the crystal onto the adhesive, position and then press the crystal into the adhesive. If you press down and then position the sloped side of the crystal will act like a shovel scooping up a large blob of adhesive ! If this happens use the point of the orange stick to remove the excess adhesive.
- Make sure the marker that you are using is permanent and keep from resting your hand on the fresh ink until it is dry or it may smudge.
- The larger the variety of crystal sizes you have the more flexibility in filling the stripe with no gaps. If you decide to use just 2 or 3 crystal sizes I recommend one of them is ss5 which are tiny nail art crystals perfect for the end of the stripe of filling in tiny gaps. It wouldn’t be economical just to use this size though as it would take up too many crystals and the main size I used for this tutorial was ss9.
1. Place the crystals faceted side facing up on a clean flat surface, keeping the various crystal sizes in separate groups so that they are easy to find.
2. Give the white part of the rubber toe a good rub down to scratch the surface creating a much better platform for the crystals to bond to than a smooth surface.
3. Using a clean cotton cloth and some rubbing alcohol wipe down the surface of the toe to remove any grease or dust. The alcohol will dry very quickly leaving no residue behind.
4. Using the black permanent marker draw the outline of the stripes and then colour them in so that they are a solid black then leave to dry.
5. Zebra pattern complete……… Before you apply any glue work out the best fit for applying the crystals by laying them over the stripe (one stripe at a time). As the surface is curved lightly wet the stripe (you can use some water or just lick your finger and rub it over the stripe) this will allow that the crystals will stick to the curved surface. Once you have worked out a nice fit remove the crystals one at a time placing them in the same order on your flat surface ready for gluing. It takes a little longer doing it this way but the end result will be much more satisfying than guessing once the adhesive is applied.
6. Apply a small amount of adhesive to the orange stick and spread it thinly over the stripe, only enough for bonding several crystals not the entire row as the glue dries very quickly.
7. Using the Crystal Katana pick up the first crystal in the row (from the pattern you have already worked out and laid out onto your flat surface) and apply it to the adhesive. Once you are happy with the crystals position depending on the crystal size either use the chrome part of the crystal Katana or the opposite end of the orange stick to ensure that the crystal is firmly secured into the adhesive.
8. Continue adding Crystals to the fist stripe. If the initial pattern you worked out before gluing was quite a tight design (crystals close to each other) ensure that you apply the crystals onto the adhesive in the same manner or when you come to the end of the stripe you may find the pattern you carefully worked out no longer fits. (If this happens don’t worry just add some smaller crystals to close the gap and try placing the crystals closer together on the next stripe).
9. The first zebra stripe complete as you can see the initial crystal pattern worked out fit perfectly : )
10. Work out the pattern for the next stripe once the first one is complete, then carefully remove the crystals laying them in the same order in a row on your flat surface.
11. Onto the second stripe using the orange stick apply a small amount of adhesive spreading thinly and evenly.
12. First 3 black stripes complete.
13. The 4th black stripe complete and the final black stripe’s pattern has been worked out then removed from the toe and placed onto the flat surface removed ready for gluing.
14. That’s all the black stripes complete.
15. Once again work out the pattern for the white stripe, then remove the crystals one at a time placing them onto your work surface in the same order as the stripe. Once this has been complete add some adhesive and you are ready to add the crystals to the white stripe.
16. First row of the white stripe complete starting on the second.
17. Continue working out the pattern, removing the crystals, gluing and then adding crystals.
18. Continue crystallizing
19. Voila One Complete Crystallized Converse Zebra Toe!
12. This step is optional but adds a nice touch to the design. Add the ss20 tip to the hotfix applicator, turn the applicator on and wait 2 minutes for it to heat. Place the crystal into the correct position and then heat the crystal with the applicator tip. It only takes a few seconds, if you look closely you can see the adhesive melt. If you don’t have an applicator tool and you would still like to use the ringed rose crystals you can apply them with an iron (with the steam turned off) or just use adhesive to stick them to the shoe.
21. First ss20 clear crystal silver ringed rose 2039 crystal set into position. For this tutorial every 2nd eyelet has been crystallized on the one side of the shoe and on the opposite side the eyelets that were missed out were crystallized. This means that on the outside of the shoe 3 eyelets are crystallized and on the inside of the shoe only 2 eyelets have been crystallized to give a zig zag effect (see final image) .
i. Apply all the centre ss20 crystals first then turn off the applicator tool and allow the tip to cool.
ii. Attach the ss16 tip, heat up the applicator tool and then apply one ss16 Jet Hematite ringed rose crystal either side of the ss20.
iii. Turn off the applicator tool and allow the tip to cool, remove the ss16 tip and add the ss20 tip then turn on the applicator to heat up.
iv. Apply one ss20 clear ringed rose crystal either side of the jet hematite crystals to give each eyelet a design that has 3 x ss20 Clear and 2 x ss16 Jet Hematite.
22. The completed eyelet crystal design. (if you are confident with using the hotfix applicator you can add all of the ss20 crystals before changing the tip over simply place the jet hematite crystal in place as a guide and then add the ss20 crystals. Once they have all been added you can then change over the tip and add the jet hematite crystals into the gaps left)
23. The finished shoe.
24. Finished design on pair of shoes.
Thank you for viewing the tutorial if you found it useful a like or share would be much appreciated as these tutorials are very time consuming to put together and it makes it worth while to create more : )