116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Shoe art has a long and complex history across the world.
People have decorated their shoes throughout time to express their culture, status and creativity using items such as beading, buckles, embroidery, feathers, gems, stones, paint and more.
Your own shoes have unique characteristics, just like you do! Take a look at your feet and shoes — yours are different in shape and size from other people’s. Now look at the bottoms of your shoes — what do you notice? Do they have interesting patterns and textures to provide traction as you walk?
You can create works of art using different textures from your own shoes and air-dry clay.
What you need:
- Air-dry clay
- Paper plate or newspaper
- Objects you have that have various textures (bottoms of shoes work well!)
- Toothpick, string and paint (optional)
What you do:
1. Take a small piece of air-dry clay and roll it until it’s about the size of a golf ball.
2. Set the clay on a piece of newspaper or a paper plate to keep it from making a mess and sticking to carpet or flooring.
3. Find something around you that has an interesting texture or pattern you can use to print the clay with. Check out the bottoms of your shoes — usually they have great textures! (Clean the surface if it’s really dirty to prevent that from transferring to the clay.)
4. Gently press the clay to flatten it and get the texture to transfer. Keep the clay at least ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. If it’s too thin, it might crack as it dries.
5. (Optional: Create a small hole in the clay piece so you can attach string once it dries to use as a keychain, ornament or necklace.) Allow the clay to dry for a few days. Paint it if you choose and attach string, beads or others items to make your work of art your own!
- What interesting textures did you find when you started to look around?
- Why do you think shoes have so many textures and patterns on the soles?
- What else could you create with air-dry clay?
Lesson by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Linn County 4-H Youth Development. To get your child involved in fun learning opportunities, check out Clover Kids (grades K-3), 4-H (grades 4-12), Lego Teams and hands-on educational kits for checkout at www.extension.iastate.edu/linn/4h.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Linn County helps build a strong Iowa by engaging Iowans in research, education and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges. Linn County Extension Office website: www.extension.iastate.edu/linn