How to make beaded barefoot sandals

The other day, I was looking on Pinterest for some images of beading – particularly beaded beads, which I find fascinating. I haven’t made any yet, but I’m tempted…

While I was looking, I came across what are described as ‘barefoot sandals’, which I had never heard of before. They look like you’re wearing sandals, but really they are a kind of necklace for your feet, and they are often marketed to women who are going to get married somewhere exotic and hot, on a beach in the Caribbean or somewhere like that. And the prices often reflect that kind of  ‘it’s a wedding so money is no object’ idea. That is, they can be EXPENSIVE. I don’t fall for that, so once I’d seen a few images of barefoot sandals (sometimes called ‘slave sandals’ or ‘thong sandals’), I was starting to think ‘I could make that – it doesn’t look too difficult’. Beading is one of those crafts that doesn’t have to be difficult, fortunately  🙂

I looked carefully at some close-up images to try to count how many beads I might need, then went off to surf for a good bead shop. I decided on The Bead Shop in Manchester –  their range was good, and they did a lot of stringing elastic too, so I could get all I needed in one place.

Sandal 1

All you need is about a yard of 0.5mm stretchy bead elastic (I used Stretch Magic), some number 11 seed beads, some clear rocaille beads for the ‘spacers’, some 6mm beads in various colours (I used pearl white and frosted white), and some strong glue such as G-S Hypo Cement (available on Ebay).

You string about three inches of seed beads onto the centre of the length of elastic first – long enough to go round your second toe. Then you put both ends of the elastic through a large bead, then divide the elastic again and string the same pattern of large beads on to each side, then thread both ends of the elastic through a single bead again, and so on, for about three inches (to reach up to your instep). Divide the elastic and start to thread beads, in the same pattern for each side, long enough to reach around the back of your ankle. You will need to try the sandal on at this point to check the length. When you are sure, tie the elastic in a surgeon’s knot, and put the strong glue on the knot to make sure it won’t come undone (keeping the glue off the beads). When the glue is definitely dry, trim the elastic.

The beaded barefoot sandals, when completed, look a bit like necklaces
The beaded barefoot sandals, when completed, look a bit like necklaces

They are a bit strange to wear, at first. You can just about feel the part that goes round your second toe a bit, like you would with toe-post sandals. But they are very pretty. I made mine so that I can wear them when I do Dances of Universal Peace – I usually dance barefoot then, and it’s nice to have something pretty on my feet, and not just completely ‘bare’ feet! I can see that I might end up with several in different colours, to co-ordinate with different clothes that I wear for dancing. It only takes about two hours to make a pair, after all.

Beaded barefoot sandals 2

What do you think of them? I love them!


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