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!!!