Add Some Flair to Your Feet With DIY Shoelaces

Jan Howell
by Jan Howell
11 Materials
30 Minutes

Today, I’m going to show you a few different methods and variations for how to make homemade shoelaces to add a little spice to your sneakers. The first two methods use woven fabric or bias tape (that you’ve either bought or made) and require a sewing machine. The third method is no-sew, using an upcycled t-shirt, which has been turned into t-shirt yarn. You can download my PDF for an explanation on how to measure the amount of fabric you’ll need for this project here.

Tools and materials:

  • Woven fabric
  • #18 Bias tape maker (optional)
  • Rotary cutter or scissors
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Safety pin
  • T-shirt (preferably without side seams)
  • Sewing machine
  • Heat-shrink tubing (optional)
  • Heat gun or hairdryer
  • Needle and thread

Sewing method 1

Cut a strip of woven fabric

The first step is to figure out how long your shoelaces need to be, and then cut a strip of fabric one and a half inches wide, and as long as you need. If your fabric is not long enough, the following is a method to join two strips of fabric in a way that the seam will not create a bulky area on the shoelace:

Attach strips of fabric

Place the strips of fabric together

Lay one strip of fabric horizontally, right side facing up, and the second strip of fabric vertically over one end of the first strip, leaving a quarter-inch of fabric overlapping on the top and the side. 

Sew diagonally

Sew a diagonal line 

Sew a diagonal line from the top left corner to the bottom right corner of the overlapping fabric. 

Cut excess fabric

Cut the excess fabric and press the seam

Cut off the fabric above the line of stitching, leaving a quarter-inch seam allowance, and trim any overhanging threads and bits of fabric. Then press the seam flat. 

Make DIY shoelaces

This method of attaching strips of fabric can also be used to make multi-color shoelaces from fabric scraps. 

Create bias tape

Create bias tape

If you are using a bias tape maker, insert one end of the fabric strip into the wide opening of the bias tape maker and use a pin to feed it through until you can pull it out the narrow end. 

Iron the folds

Iron the fabric

Move the bias tape maker down the strip of fabric, and iron the folded fabric down as it comes through. 

Fold and iron again

Fold the fabric again and press

Once the fabric has been turned into bias tape, fold the strip again lengthwise and iron it flat. 

Fold the fabric lengthwise

Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise

If you don’t have a bias tape maker, you can simply fold the fabric in half lengthwise and iron it flat. 

Fold the edges into the center

Fold the edges into the center and iron flat

Unfold the fabric, and then fold the edges inward so they are aligned with the center fold and iron them flat.

Fold and iron

Fold and iron again

Finally, fold the fabric in half lengthwise once more, and iron it flat. 

Sew DIY shoelaces

Sew the fabric down

Run the length of the folded fabric through the sewing machine using a top stitch, and stitching as close to the open edge as possible. 

Trim the ends

Clip the ends

Cut a bit off each end to get rid of any hanging threads and uneven fabric.

Cut small pieces of shrink tube

Cut four pieces of shrink tube

Cut four small pieces of shrink tube; two for each shoelace.

How to make DIY shoelaces

Insert the fabric into the shrink tube

Insert the end of the fabric strip into a piece of shrink tube and push it through until a very small amount of fabric exits the opposite end of the tube. Repeat on the other end of the shoelace.

Heat the shrink tubes

Heat the shrink tubes and cut excess fabric

Using a heat gun or hairdryer, shrink the tubes, and then let it cool completely before trimming the bits of fabric at the ends of the tubes.

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise

Sewing method 2

Fold fabric in half lengthwise and sew down

Another way to create shoelaces with woven fabric is to create a tube. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, right sides facing each other, and sew a straight stitch all the way down the open edge, leaving a quarter-inch seam allowance. 

How to sew DIY shoelaces

Attach a safety pin

Attach a safety pin to one end

Attach a safety pin at one end of the tube, along the fold in the fabric. 

Turn the fabric right side out

Pull the safety pin through the tube

Insert the top of the safety pin into the tube of fabric, and start bunching the fabric up along the pin, pulling the pin through to the other end, and pulling the fabric right side out along with it. 

Apply shrink tubes to the ends

Apply shrink tubes and heat

Cut pieces of shrink tube and apply them to the ends of the shoelaces, and heat them with a heat gun or hairdryer. Once it has cooled completely, trim the excess fabric on the ends of the shoelaces. 

Finish the ends with needle and thread

Finish the ends without heat-shrink tubing

If you don’t have shrink tubes, you can finish the ends of the laces with a needle and thread. Insert the needle into one end of the folded fabric, and push it through to the outside of the fabric, about an eighth of an inch from the end of the lace. 

Roll the ends tightly

Roll the end

Roll the end of the lace as tightly as you can, and pull your needle and thread from the inside of the fabric to the outside once more.

Wrap the thread around the ends

Wrap the thread around the fabric

Start wrapping the thread around the fabric as tightly as possible. Make a stitch every once in a while as you wrap, to anchor it down. 

DIY shoelace ends

Make a stitch to finish it off

Once you’ve wrapped about half an inch of the lace with thread, make a stitch at the end and tie it off. 

Trim the excess fabric

Trim the ends

Trim the excess fabric off the ends of the laces, and apply seam sealant to prevent fraying.

T-shirt yarn

No-sew method

Cut strips of fabric from a t-shirt

To make shoelaces out of an upcycled t-shirt, cut one-inch strips from an old t-shirt, or any other item made from a knit fabric. Stretch the strips so they roll in at the edges. 

Apply shrink tubes to the ends

Apply shrink tubes

Put a piece of shrink tube on either end of the fabric, ensuring a bit of fabric is sticking out at the end of the tubes. 

Basic DIY shoelaces

Shrink the tubes

Use a heat gun or hairdryer to shrink the tubes. Once it’s cooled completely, cut the excess fabric off the ends of the shoelaces.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas for fun laces you can create using fabric scraps or even an upcycled t-shirt. Let me know if you liked this tutorial!

How to clean shoelaces

Do you have a pair of laces that could use a clean? Check out this tutorial on How to Clean Shoelaces of Every Kind

Suggested materials:
  • Woven fabric
  • Bias tape maker
  • Rotary cutter
See all materials

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Join the conversation
  • Fran Fran on Apr 02, 2021

    Very cute! We used to do something similar in the 80ies in London using patterned satin, jacquard, or grosgrain ribbons... whatever we could get our hands on cheap.

  • Doreen Kennedy Doreen Kennedy on Apr 03, 2021

    Your laces really add a lot of flair.