If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know how much I love to recraft vintage Birkenstocks. I enjoy seeking out older styles/models of Birks, that have been retired by Birkenstock, and transforming them into something unique. For any true Birkenstock lover, finding such gems on Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, garage sales, a wonderful small business owner, or even at second hand store, is like hitting the jackpot.
I am not going to write another Do-It-Yourself blog. I have already done that. If you have no idea what I mean by recrafting, then please start by reading my post "Recrafting" or "Recrafts by Michelangelo". To learn how to paint your Birkenstocks, read my article titled "Bespoke Birkenstock". To find out how to customize your Birks with color cream, check out my blog "Birkenstock Diva".
Here is a sneak peak of what to expect in today's post:
I have been looking for a pair of Birkenstock Messina sandals for quite awhile. I found these on Poshmark and paid $21, including shipping. Here is what they looked like when they arrived:
I disassembled them at home, in my oven, so that I could customize them, before I sent them to Custom Made Birkenstocks for recrafting. Instructions on how to remove the Birkenstock uppers from the soles and footbeds are in the blog post, "Birkenstock Diva".
Once Birkenstocks are deconstructed, one can paint the leather evenly. Here is what the sandals looked like after they were taken apart.
I always use Angelus Direct leather paint when customizing my Birkenstocks. Angelus leather paint is top notch. The paint goes on smooth, dries evenly, and there is never evidence of brush strokes once the paint dries. Please note, that I find leather paint to be more time efficient, and a heck of a lot less messy, compared to dyeing leather. For this project, I chose the color Pearlescent Rose Gold as my base coat, and then added a single layer of matching glitterlites to provide a touch of shimmer. This picture below shows the final product.
This short video shows you how the glitterlites sparkle in the sun. I am thoroughly satisfied with my updated version of the Birkenstock Messina.
My second, spectacular customization, revolves around the Birkenstock Jakarta. This beautiful sandal was released several years ago. I found this pair on Poshmark and paid about $40. Given the laser cut outs and the rarity of this Birkenstock, $40 is a steal! Granted, they looked very rough when they arrived. The metallic gold on the leather was peeling away, no surprise when it comes to Birkenstock metallic leathers. You just look at a shiny metallic Birkenstock and it scratches. Here is what the Birkenstocks looked like when I bought them.
As you can see, they looked extremely worn out. I was not sure that I wanted to keep them. I took a poll on Instagram and 80% of the pollers suggested that I resell them. One reader voted that I keep them and repaint them pewter. I was not sure that I wanted to go through the trouble of painting these, but her suggestion remained in the back of my mind. I listed them on eBay. For months, I had them for sale on eBay. Even at my rock bottom price, they would not sell!! I decided to show everyone what they were missing, and I painted them........pewter. Heck, I had already paid for them, mind as well customize them to Gina Mama standards.
As with the Messinas, I deconstructed the Jakartas in the oven, then I used nail polish remover and a cotton ball, to wipe off the remaining gold paint. The metallic paint came off easily. Once dry, I painted them flat black, added a top coat of pewter, and then brushed three layers pewter glitterlites. These babies were going to have so much sparkle, that you would see me coming from a mile away!!
Here is what the Jakartas looked like, once I pulled the straps off the footbeds, and removed the gold metallic finish:
This video showcases the sparkly goodness of the glitterlites, before the recraft.
Once again, I made all these changes using Angelus Direct paint. After my customization process at home, I shipped them off to Custom Made Birkenstocks, for the final recraft. With this pair of Jakartas, I had something special in mind. I wanted these rare sandals to have an exquisite leather lined footbed. Many of my favorite Birkenstocks have such footbeds. Wrapping the Jakarta's footbed in leather, turned these otherwise pretty Birks, into something très chic. Just look at the final product:
Meet Persian Velvet:
The final pair of Birkenstocks that I transformed, was a pair of Orange Persian Velvet Arizonas. I wanted these Orange Velvet Birkenstocks when they were first released. However, I chose to forgo them at the time because they were only released in narrow width.
A few months ago, Sandy, from Sandy's Birkenstock Boutique, mentioned that she had a pair of Brown Persian Velvet Arizonas in my size. The pair that Sandy had was new old stock!! She asked if I wanted to buy them before she listed them on eBay. I did not have to give this a second thought, I quickly answered "YES"! Since my foot shape changed, ever so slightly, after completing a round of 80 Day Obsession, I was confident that I would now be able to fit into a narrow width Arizona.
I loved the Brown Persian Velvet Arizonas so much, I knew that I had to find a pair of orange ones too. It took me several weeks, scouring the internet, before I finally found a pair. Here is what they looked like when I bought them on Poshmark:
They were the perfect orange. As a born and raised Bay Area girl, my heart belongs to the San Francisco Giants. These Arizonas were Giants orange!!
I shipped them off to Michelangelo, at Custom Made Birkenstocks, with no modifications. The only customization needed on my end, was a vision. My vision was "orange and black" (the San Francisco Giants colors). These velvet orange Arizonas needed to have an exquisite black leather footbed. I told Michelangelo what I wanted, and as the true artist that he is, he made it happen. The final customization with the leather lined footbed will make every Birkenstock lover drool. Check these out:
Words do not describe how much I treasure these orange Arizonas. They are be beautiful, dressy, and unique. I guarantee you that I will wear these every chance that I get. Especially come April, when baseball season begins!
It is truly amazing how a little imagination, quality leather paint, and an incredible cobbler, can truly transform any shabby looking pair of Birkenstocks. I have provided you the tips and techniques for making changes to your Birkenstocks. Now go out there and find a vintage pair that you *MUST* have and customize the heck out of them! I challenge you to take my DIY blogs and actually DO-IT-YOURSELF!! Post pictures of your customized Birkenstocks on my Facebook page. I can't wait to see how you have customized your Birkenstocks!!!
Some blogs don't need words, they just need a good video to tell a story. Here is the world premier release of my movie trailer, "Gina Mama's Big Buckle Gators". Press play and be sure you have your volume on for the full effect. Thank you to Birkenstock Attitudes for help with "costume design". I just love these Arizonas that I purchased from your store.
If this video made you giggle, then I did my job.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram so you never miss a post!
Angelus Direct Glitterlites are Gina Mama’s “sole” mates!! Giltterlites can make your Birkenstocks gorgeous and glamorous. For a little less than $5.00, glitterlites can completely transform any of your Birkenstocks, even that old worn out pair in the back of your closet. All you need is a little creativity and imagination. What are Glitterlites? Well....you are just going to have to keep on reading to find out.
In a previous blog, Birkenstock Diva, I showed you how I completely transformed a pair of pink rivet Birkenstocks.
They turned into this:
Well, guess what? I had another pair of pink Gizehs, just like the ones above. Since I like all of my Birkenstocks to be unique, it took me few months to decide how I wanted to customize them.
Call me crazy, but this time, I took on the task of making ALL of the changes myself. I removed the soles and resoled them myself — at home! I applied the same steps, as I outlined in the Birkenstock Diva blog, to remove the soles. However, this time, I took extra precaution to prevent the toe post from melting. If the toe post melted, my back up plan was to send them to Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks for a total recraft. With a lot patience and a bit of luck, the toe posts did not melt!
After the soles were removed, I used Tarrago color cream to stain the uppers. By staining the leather prior to adhering on new soles, I was able to apply the color uniformly. This meant no gaps of pink peeking through where the footbed and sole connect.
Once the stain was dry, I carefully colored the white toe post black. I tried paint, but the paint chipped off. I tossed the paint aside and pulled out my secret weapon, a Mr. Sharpie. Mr. Sharpie worked like a champ and easily colored the white toe post black, to match the new black soles.
The final step was to glue on the black soles to the footbed. I used Barge All Purpose Cement Glue to adhere the soles to the footbed.
Clamps and rubber bands were used to apply pressure and help with adhesion. I let the glue dry for 24 hours and then I removed all the apparatuses.
The Gizehs looked so beautiful in red. The red made the rivets “pop”. Now, you would think that I would be satisfied just with this gorgeous red. But, I was not!! Something was missing.
The red was too dull and too matte for my liking. I needed some pizazz. But, what was missing?! Sparkle, shine, and shimmer…THAT was what these babies needed.
Where would I find a bottle of pizazz that included sparkle, shine, and shimmer? Allow me to introduce you to Giltterlites in Ruby Red.
This bottle contains one fluid ounce of pure magic. A bottle of Ruby Red Angelus Direct Glitterlites can turn any boring, dull pair of shoes into something charismatic. When I say Ruby Red, imagine Dorothy’s shoes from the Wizard of OZ.
We are not in Kansas anymore after applying Ruby Red Glitterlites to Birkenstocks. The red glitterlites transform any Birkenstock into something elegant and artistic. Think the Land of Oz magical. Ruby Red Glitterlites encompass all that greatness and uniqueness, into a little, one ounce bottle of leather paint.
My Birkenstocks went from this:
I love the Ruby Red Glitterlites so much that I used the same bottle of paint, to transform two other pairs of Birkenstocks!
The pair of Arizonas below was recrafted by Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks. I had purchased them on Poshmark for $20. I initially thought that I wanted the Arizonas to be black with black glitterlites. But, that was not satisfying enough for me. I decided to aim for that Stardust look that Birkenstock created a few years back. Only I wanted red “stardust” on black, something that Birkenstock has yet to produce (hint, hint).
This is what I created:
I love these and get numerous compliments every time that I wear them!! Interestingly, the final product turned out to be a mix between the Stardust effect and the new Iride Red that Birkenstock has released for Fall/Winter 2018.
Finally....my “Piece de Resistance”...are my brown Temaras. I bought the Temaras in black and really loved the look and the feel of the crisscross straps. I loved them so much, that I could not live without the brown ones too…..but, I never wore the brown. They were a little too dull for Gina Mama.
So, what’s a Birkenstock Diva to do?! Pull out some red leather paint and the bottle red glitterlites — that’s what!
For this customization, I followed the steps that I outlined in my blog, Bespoke Birkenstock. I primed the Temaras with one layer of white paint. Then I added two coats of chili pepper red paint from Angelus Direct. Finally, I applied three coats of Ruby Red glitterlites. And the final result were these spectacular Ruby Red Sparkly Temaras!!!
When I wear these Temaras, or any of my other customized Birkenstocks with red glitterlites, I feel like I am walking in a magical land. Like Dorothy, walking in the Land of Oz, in her Ruby Red slippers.
There is something to be said about having a unique pair Birkenstocks. Birkenstocks that no one else has and that no one else can get. It kind of makes me feel like a Diva.
But, I am no Diva at all. I am just a hard working woman/mom/wife with a creative edge. If my head gets too far up in the clouds with my artistic side, all I have to do is click my heels together three times and say, “there is no place like home”. This will transport me right back to reality. Right back home.
There is no place like home. And there is nothing like wearing a pair of customized Birkenstocks.
NOTE: For more suggestions on how to customize or paint Birkenstocks, click here.
Years ago, while I was exploring the myriad of narrow streets in Venice, I stumbled upon a window display of the most beautiful shoes that I have ever seen. It was the shop window of a Venetian shoemaker. The shop was located somewhere between the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto bridge. I could not tell you exactly where the store was, but I can recall, in great detail, each pair of shoes that I laid eyes on that day.
This particular cobbler designed handmade shoes. My husband encouraged me to consider meeting with the cobbler to have a pair custom made. After all, what better souvenir to bring home from Italy than a handmade pair of Italian leather shoes? The thought was enticing. Unfortunately, at the time, it was not in the budget.
Even though it has been years since I came across that shop in Venice, I have never forgotten it. Nor have I ever been able to shake the thought of owning a pair of custom made shoes out of my head. I have always thought that the next time I find myself in Venice, that I would seek out that cobbler and have a pair designed to meet my needs.
The good news is that I no longer have to travel to Venice to have a pair of shoes custom made.
I am thrilled with the pair of Birkenstocks Gizehs that you (Custom Made Birkenstocks) customized for me.
The gold crocodile print is stunningly unique. The Gizhes can easily be dressed up or dressed down. The gold and the pearl will go with everything. The best part is, after a few days, the Birkenstock footbed will form to my foot, just like a pair of handmade Italian shoes. Maybe even better because, after all, the footbeds are Birkenstock! Nothing beats a Birkenstock, in my humble opinion.
Thank you for my one of a kind Gold Crocodile Gizehs. Your craftsmanship, as always, is simply the finest. You have opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that I have when it comes to creating other custom Birkenstocks. I am not sure exactly what is next on my request list. But, once I narrow down the style, color, and pattern of what I want, I will be sure to give you a call!
NOTE: If you would like to contact Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks to discuss having him customize a pair of Birkenstocks for you, give him a call at 1-708-453-4900.
To see more of Michelangelo's craftsmanship, please read these blogs:
- Birkenstock Recrafts by Michelangelo
- Birkenstock Diva
- White Sole Birkenstocks
Once again, I opted to incorporate Birkenstocks as part of my Halloween Costume. Wearing comfortable Birkenstocks makes Trick-Or-Treating so much more fun.
This year, I busted out my high school cheerleading uniform to wear as a costume. After all, what better way to embarrass your kids at their school's parade, then to wear a "vintage" cheerleading outfit?
To complete the outfit, I added my kid's soccer socks. I feel like the red and white striped soccer socks helped modernize a 25+ year old uniform.
Who ever said that Gina Mama does not wear Socks with her 'Stocks? These photos are proof that I wear socks with Birkenstocks. Nothing wrong with wearing socks with Birkenstock high tops!!
NOTE: To read my blog on what I think about wearing socks with Birkenstocks, click here.