How to Make Pointe Shoes Out of Duct Tape
Duct tape is a strong, durable material used to create anything from clothes to furniture. It’s also perfect for making pointe shoes! The duct tape will stick securely and not damage the studio’s flooring because it doesn’t leave a residue when removed. Duct tape is also inexpensive and easy to find in any hardware store or discount department stores like Walmart or Target. And most importantly, it’s as effective as regular pointe shoes! So today, I am going to discuss an easy technique on how to make pointe shoes out of duct tape.
Why Choose Duct Tape for Making Pointe Shoes?
Duct tape is a wide, strong, and durable cloth-backed pressure-sensitive tape. It is used to fix various items, including seams, tears, or even gas leaks in your home. Duct tape is also waterproof, which makes it the perfect material for pointe shoes since we are dancing on our toes, and most modern pointe shoes are made of leather which can easily become damp with sweat if not properly cared for.
A Process on How to Make Pointe Shoes Out of Duct Tape
First, find some duct tape, make sure it is the strong kind. Try to avoid the silver-colored, as the silver might wear off and stain your skin. Instead, find a plain color such as solid black or white.
Next, you should measure how long you want your pointe shoes from toe to heel; do not forget that in ballet flats/tap shoes, this length includes the platform at the bottom of the shoe as well. Ensure to measure around several times for accuracy on each foot until you are satisfied with both feet’ measurements (the two together will equal one set of pointe shoes).
Also, keep track of whether or not you made more length for your big toe. If any length were added for this toe, it would need to be added to both feet. Let’s say that each foot measured from toe to heel is 2 inches, and we want the platform of our pointe shoes to be an inch at the bottom. This would equal 3 inches for each foot because there will be two layers of tape on top of each other: one by itself and then another right next to it.
You should now have a total measurement of 5 inches for each foot if you used my example measurements, in which case your new pointe shoes will be 13 inches long (2+2+3).
Now you are ready to start applying duct tape! Start with just one layer directly on top of your bare skin. If you find that you cannot get the tape to stick very well, you can try using hair spray or baby powder (corn starch) instead of water to make the duct tape sticky. Keep in mind that your shoes will be hard to remove if it is too sticky, and if there is not enough adhesive, they will rip easily.
Then, apply a second layer of duct tape directly next to the first one; this should create a 2-layer platform at the bottom of your pointe shoes an inch thick and 3 inches around for each foot (2+3=5). If you are creating shoe covers instead of actual pointe shoes like in my example, then keep in mind that you will want extra length so that your toes do not hit the ground when you are wearing them, at least 2 inches.
Now it is time for your toe pads! Duct tape is not too easy to cut, so that you may need something very sharp, like a rotary cutter or utility knife; it also isn’t too hard to tear, so hands work just fine too if that’s all you have handy. Start at the top of the toes on one foot when creating pad covers and start with two layers of tape for each pad.
If you want more cushioning than the standard amount included in this process, add more layers as needed but keep in mind that this can make your shoes harder to break in because they will be thicker around your toes/front foot area. Then, place another layer of tape over these two layers (to create 3 layers) on the bottom side of your toes (this is where they will connect with the tape that goes up your shank).
This allows for more cushioning directly under your feet, and it makes them stronger in this area, which is why most professionals use extra layers here.
This whole process creates a one-inch platform at the bottom of each foot and two-inch pad covers for each foot; keep in mind that if you have added padding to these areas, then it should add about 1/2 an inch to the total length of each shoe (in my example, 13 inches long + 2 inches = 15 1/2 inches long). Again, make sure you mark this measurement somewhere so you can refer back to it later if needed.
You can also do a quick test to make sure that your pointe shoes fit by having someone hold them up for you while you are sitting down. If there is extra length, then cut it off with the rotary cutter or utility knife.
After completing this step, apply a layer of tape around all four sides of your shank; this will create something called a “lift” in which the bottom of your foot will be lifted off of the ground when you are wearing these special ballet shoes (this lift helps people who have weak arches to support their feet).
Now measure how thick this part of your new pointe shoes is from the bottom side (the one without any tape around the edges) to the very top side (where it will overlap the top platform created from step two). In my example, this measurement is 1 3/4 inches thick for each foot; keep in mind that you may want to add extra cushioning if your shanks are not as cushioned as professional or hard-to-break shoes.
It is possible to make pointe shoes out of duct tape! This article has shown you how. All you need are a few supplies and some patience as it takes time for the shoe to form around your foot fully. It’s important not to cut the toe box too small because that can cause pain in your toes when they try to splay on relieving or demi-pointe, both common positions in ballet technique. With just these simple tips, anyone should be able to give this project a go!