A Winter’s Craft

Did you know that last week there was only one state in the nation, Hawaii, that did not have temps below freezing? Colder weather and shorter days aren’t a bother for me, since winter forces me to “slow down” a bit. I’m also excited because it’s about time to deck the halls! I’ve been crafting more lately, too, and crafting is always more fun with friends. Grab your best gal pal and a cup of hot coffee, and let’s re-purpose some ol’ ice skates!

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My friend Andrea and I are very much alike. We both adore the 1940’s, anything vintage, and love crafting. We especially like crafts utilizing re-purposed materials, and love the idea of old ice skates sitting next to a hearth or hanging as a winter’s decoration. Great minds think alike – why not decorate the skates? Andrea had extra pairs in her garage she’s picked up at tag sales and thrift stores.

For the first pairs, we met on a Saturday. I made us a lunch of quiche and hot kale salad with dried cranberries. We ate quickly, excited to start on the skates! The first thing to do is clean the skates, inside and out, and remove the laces. It’s fine to discard the inside arches, since the inside won’t show. Remove any rust from the blades with fine steel wool.

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IMG_9906Next we mapped out our plan. I decided to paint a whimsical holly design on my figure skates, using acrylic craft paints. Since Andrea’s skates were originally little boys’ skates, she decided to keep the decorations a little simpler. Andrea had brought her button tin, chock full of vintage buttons.

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Instead of painting berries with the leaves,  I attached little red buttons. We used hot glue to attach buttons to our skates.

Before painting directly on the skates, I "practiced" on paper.

Before painting directly on the skates, I “practiced” on paper.

To dress up the blades, we used iridescent glitter, and Beacon’s 3-In-1 Glue, purchased from Amazon. Because I painted onto my skates, I sprayed a clear varnish on top to keep the paint from chipping. I recommend doing this step after putting the glitter on the blades and allowing them to dry thoroughly.

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Andrea carefully dusts the glue-covered blades with glitter.

Andrea carefully dusts the glue-covered blades with glitter.

For the laces, I used red translucent ribbon in a small width, threading through the holes using a tapestry needle from my knitting bag. At the top, I tied large bows from matching ribbon in a larger width, and added some brass jingle bells. Finally, I made two white pom-poms for the toes using Wool-Ease yarn in a white with just a hint of sparkle.

A tapestry needle from crafting or knitting makes it easier to lace the ribbons through the grommets.

A tapestry needle from crafting or knitting makes it easier to lace the ribbons through the grommets.

I decided these skates would sit by the hearth, so I “stuffed” the tops with faux greenery and holiday picks. I used mini lights purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts for around $4.00. The battery-powered light box sits hidden in the boot, sticking up just enough to turn the on/off switch. Stuffing the boot with rags holds the light box in place and “holds” the shape of the skates.

Keep in mind, when using these mini lights, your decorations should be kept inside.

When using these mini lights, your decorations should be kept inside.

Beautiful! My finished skates...

Beautiful! My finished skates…

And Andrea's beautiful skates. I love the stacked buttons and Christmas pompoms.

And Andrea’s beautiful skates. I love the stacked buttons and Christmas pompoms.

For our next pairs, we met at Andrea’s for yummy panini sandwiches. This time, we envisioned girly, pink skates with white branches. After cleaning the skates, we taped the soles and blades using painters’ tape.

IMG_9943 We spray-painted them “Ballet Slipper Pink”, purchased at Wal-mart for around $3.00. This paint was perfect because when dried, it looks like shiny pink patent-leather. For two pairs, we needed two cans and two full coats.

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The skates needed to dry a few days before they were no longer “tacky”.  After removing the tape, scrape off any drips carefully, and touch up the soles using black craft paint and a fine brush. For the blades, this time, Andrea dusted them with super-fine silver glitter ordered from Amazon. This glitter hides “less than perfect” blades and adds a super touch of “bling”.

Next, we hot-glued faux fur around the tops of the skates.

IMG_9990This time, we used white satin ribbon for the laces and bows, and silver bells. I tied my bows twice, for a frilly effect. Tying the skates together helps them stand up.

IMG_9992Voila! A beautiful, Victorian-inspired decoration that could be used as a hearth accent, or as a centerpiece.

 

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I’ve recently noticed expensive, less fancy, decorated skates, some with resin, fake skates, in catalogs and shops. Our creations were created at a fraction of the cost, including the skates. Every winter, when I put them out, I’ll remember how much fun they were to create, and wonderful time spent with a dear friend.

Wishing you all a wonderful, warm and Happy Thanksgiving!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 20 Comments

  1. Dori Troutman says:

    Nicole, these look so darling. And what a fun project. Crafting with friends is always the best, isn’t it? – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –
    P.S. I love your friends vintage button box! :-)

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks, Dori! They were fun to make, and my friend Andrea and I just kept bouncing more and more ideas off of each other. Our hubbies just sat back and smiled, even when we had glitter and supplies all on both our kitchen tables, and skates blocking Andrea’s husband’s car! And you should have SEEN the treasures inside that button box! Happy Thanksgiving to you, blogging sis! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Karen(old cowgirl) Montoya says:

    Thank you Nicole,
    I will be looking for some used skates for my on decoration. I am also looking for used western spurs, bits, bridles, & western boots. All to decorate with. I am a Cowgirl after all and love it all.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.
    Hugs Kay

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Karen! Oh, I bet western boots would be awesome to decorate, too! Great idea! Happy Thanksgiving to you all too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. These are awesome. I have been on the lookout for old skates to decorate for the winter, but never thought of painting them. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Joan says:

    What fun and they are all so wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing your process, I will look for some skates now, they would be great fun to hang with my old bike I just got that will have fresh greenery and a big red bow on the basket. So fun to share and then see how the ideas grow. Happy Thanksgiving! God bless.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan! Thank you! I would love to see a photo when you have them all set up next to your bike! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Betty McTiernan says:

    They are just beautiful! How about making them at a farmgirl get-together this winter?

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Betty, We could…and Christmas picks would be on clearance after Christmas. The trick will be finding old skates for all of us. Keep your eyes open! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Kris says:

    These are so cute! I love them – and I will go on a search this weekend for some skates to use! My holiday decor this year is going be “Frozen” themed, so I am envisioning silver sparkles with a touch of ice blue. I can’t wait – thanks for the ideas!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Kris! Oooooo…I love the “Frozen” idea! I’d love to see a pic when you are all done! Happy (skate) hunting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Rosemarie says:

    What a cute idea with older skates! Everyone has an ice -skating memory and would love a decorative pair of skates to display during the winter months after the Christmas Decorations are put away. And, these would make great Holiday or birthday gifts for friends and co-workers.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks, Rose! They were really fun to make, and each pair comes out differently, with a life of its own. They cost so little, really to make. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Marge Hofknecht says:

    I wasn’t fond of ice skating when I was young but I loved the beauty of the skates with their shiny blades and white leather. On the right feet they created winter magic. Your decorated ice skates look so lovely and what a nice way to preserve these lovelies giving them a new life, so to speak. What do you think of old roller skates redone for a year long decoration? I enjoyed roller skating when I was a kid. I used to have the shiny metal adjustable skates with the skate key to use outside on the pavement and I had a beautiful white leather pair to use at the local roller rink. I might look for some of these old roller rink pairs to decorate for my own home or perhaps I just might luck out and find a pair of those old metal skates. Thanks for this lovely decorating idea.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marge, I love the idea of decorating some roller skates for year round decor! I love anything vintage like that. You could even change the laces and the greens if you used any to match the seasons. Now you’ve got me thinking…

      I, too, had metal roller skates as a kid. I would spend hours outside in the hot Texas sun, skating in little circles in our driveway, pretending I was a graceful figure skater on ice! I didn’t learn to skate until I was an adult, but in my twenties, I learned to figure skate and went regularly until I was expecting my daughter. My husband said the other day I should go back and skate again, just for me. I’d need to be extra careful, though. Falling now would be different than in my twenties. Oh, boy did I get off topic! Thanks for jogging my memory, and love your ideas. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. CJ Armstrong says:

    The skates are wonderful, very creative! I have about 3 pair of old white skates that I use for decorating. I’ve thought about dolling them up but haven’t gotten past liking them for the old, farm-worn look they have!
    CJ

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi CJ, these skates were rather “normal” white ice skates, but my friend Andrea has a vintage pair from the forties that hang by her fireplace…as is, of course! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Becky says:

    Love the pink skates with the fur…very nice!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Becky, Thank you! They sit in my “tea room”…it’s a little sitting room all done up in white wicker, tea cups and pink! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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