DIY Boho Boots Tutorial by Mr. Kate & Explanation by Tina Boomerina
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
Here is the coolest tutorial video from Mr. Kate on how to make Southwestern boho cowgirl booties for women. You need to do this. I've been thinking about finding some old cowboy boots and punking them out for years.
I lost this post somehow a while back, and I just realized it, so I'm putting the boot tutorial back on. I have permission from "Mr. Kate" to use her photos and her video. Mr. Kate is one awesomely creative girl.
1. Watch the Tutorial:
- Watch the fun tutorial from Mr. Kate (a female) about how to embellish a pair of old cowboy boots.
2. See Closeups Below:
- Take a good look at the photos below for closeups of the way she groups her embellishments on the boot. And, then, before you run out and go to the thrift store or buy your supplies, you should...
3. Read my Explanation:
- Read my explanation and artistic insight about why these boots are so freaking cute without being crazy and goofy.
Hey, you might be able to figure out how to make boho boots that are even better than Mr. Kate's boots on your own, but I've been lusting after these booties for a few years now, so I might be able to tell you a couple of tricks that she and her artist friend Natalie use (consciously or subconsciously) to make the boots holistically pleasing without being cookie-cutter corny. Hopefully, my ideas will help you come up with your own special boots that rock and roll and look just right with your favorite boho outfits... without copying Mr. Kate or anyone else.
I want you to create your own personal style. Use the ideas, but make them your own.
Come Back After the Video:
I know you can get lost in the fun videos on the Mr. Kate channel, but come back and read the stuff below the video. I used to put together craft ideas for a Girl Scout troop and for my place of worship... when my kids were little... so I know that starting with the right embellishments will save you from throwing your boots out and starting over.
And, even though this is a DIY project, this project won't be cheap unless you just happen to live inside a Goodwill store... or your sister has a lot of old belts and necklaces that she doesn't use anymore.
Here's a closeup of the right boot:
Notice that the boots don't match. They just have the same feel. Part of the cuteness is that the boots aren't all matchy-matchy... and they aren't too cutesy-cutesy.
- Both of the boots have the same or similar ingredients, but they are just different enough that they become less "craft" and more "work of art".
And, here's a pair of feather and leather and fabric embellished cowboy boots made by someone else, but inspired by the Mr. Kate tutorial.
I don't know who made the Mr. Kate Inspired Boots, and I found the photo ages ago so I can't give credit, however I want to show you the difference so you will understand what I'm talking about. (If you recognize this photo, tell me where it's from so I can ask permission to use it. For the moment, I'll just call them the Inspired Boots... as in knockoff boots.)
Boho Boots for Women:
Although I am critiquing the different styles of embellishment, I want you to know that whoever made the Inspired Boots did a fantastic job. Those Inspired Boots are way better than anything I could ever do. I haven't made my own DIY boots because I'm a total klutz with a glue gun. So, don't take this the wrong way. And, I am totally blown away that the chick who made these thought of using feathers. I LOVE that. It's so creative.
However, I think the Inspired Boots would have been better if the left boot was less similar to the right. Part of what makes this project fun (and ever so slightly difficult) is that Mr. Kate's boots do not match. Okay, the Inspired Boots don't match exactly, but I think they could be even more groovy if the artist were to add more "unmatched" embellishments (or two more unmatched belts) to distinguish the left from the right.
It's the unexpectedness that makes the boots pop.
Boho Prairie Cowgirl Themed Boots:
I'm not sure if Mr. Kate planned a theme or if it just happened on its own, but there's a little bit of a boho prairie or calico cowgirl theme going on with the lacy boots in the tutorial. Why do I say this?
- Calico-style floral belt
- White (or Ivory) lace
- Lots of leather (in addition to the leather cowboy boots)
Most people don't start out with a theme. It's something that happens organically as you gather up things that speak to you. And, I think that starting out without a plan is the best way to do this project because your finished boot won't look as cutesy and contrived.
You want to stay open to the process of hunting for cool belts and fabrics and beads and doodads that the Gods of Creativity send your way. Having a vague plan is fine, but the less well defined your plan is, the more fun you'll have... and the better your boots will come out.
Why the Prairie Theme is Not Corny:
Mr Kate's boots have unexpected elements, which keep the booties from looking like cornball, over-the-top, Barbie-style prairie boots for a four year old:
- Unexpectedly bright colors (pinks and oranges in the calico belt, bright teal reptile belt)
- Gold chain
- Shimmery gold belt
- Bright yellow jersey ties
You probably wouldn't look for any of the above embellishments if you started out with a cowgirl-bride-in-a-petticoat theme in your head... and the boots wouldn't end up as fabulous without the improv elements.
Each Embellished Boot is Different but Balanced:
It's easy to see that these boots somehow work even though they are quite different from each other. The two elements that keep the boots from looking all fragmented and weird:
- The symmetrical bands of lace (like a petticoat) at the bottom.
- The two yellow ties that make a little fringe on the outside of each boot.
I'm not telling you to make lacy prairie boots. (Other things that could replace the lace to give your boots a feeling of balance: leather fringe, silky upholstery fringe, beaded belts, charms on chains, feathers like the Inspired Boot, ruffled fabric from a child's dress, etc.)
And, I can think of lots of themes that might spontaneously come to you (Wild West steampunk, Mexicana, mustang horses, rodeo ropes and cowboys, city girl goes country, prairie flowers, diamond-studded Miss Kitty the saloon gal on Gunsmoke), but one obvious theme is Native American tribal (with beadwork belts and faux tribal jewelry - don't use the real stuff). Anyway, you can use any embellishments you love, but you need to have one or two things the same (or almost the same) on each boot to give your boots continuity... or balance.
Mr. Kate's Boots Have Similar Embellishments:
Here are other things that kind of "go" together on Mr. Kate's boots that give the boots a similarity of composition or a harmonious pattern or an agreeable combination... or whatever you want to call it... a design that works.
- Textures: The woven gold belt is similar to the texture of the links on the gold chain.
- Flowers: There's a similar feel with the floral belt, the floral lace, and the floral cut outs on the dark belt.
- A limited color palette: As far as I can tell, all of the colors (even the orangey brown of the boots) can be found in the calico belt.
Natalie's boots (in the video) needed more color. When you watch the video again, you'll see that her boots were mostly blue and brown and they needed something... but they perked right up when she added the red ties. Limit your color palate, but don't limit it too much.
Look for Boho Boot Accessories
You need to get out there and gather up a ton of goodies and play with them until you have enough stuff to make a great pair of boho boots. I would wander around Goodwill and look for belts (you'll need at least four), beads, beaded purses, chains, charms on necklaces, brooches, interesting fabric, sweater sleeves, fake fur, woven leather, things with fringe, and anything else that catches your eye. Don't limit yourself too much when you're in the "hunter gatherer" stage.
Someday, I'll get it together and try this project... or I'll chicken out and buy some handcrafted boho boots that are already made.
So, get that freaking glue gun out and embellish the hell out of something like an old leather handbag or some beat-up old faux-ugggs or cowboy boots. I will be totally amazed and proud of you for giving this a try.
More Boho Articles for My Bohemian Women Friends:
Photo Credits: Prshots and Mr. Kate (with permission).
- Main Photo: Mr Kate.
- Mr Kate is a Girl: Mr. Kate.
- Mr. Kate Video.
- Boho Boot Tutorial 1: Mr. Kate.
- Embellished Cowboy Boot Tutorial: Mr. Kate.
- Mr. Kate Inspired Boots: Flickr.
- Collect Tribal Accessories: Accessorize UK.
- Look Around for Belts: Debenham's Men's.
- Tribal Ethnic Jewelry: Accessorize.
- Ethnic Belts and Hatbands: Wikimedia Commons.
What do you think of this article and the boho boots? Would you ever try to make wearable art like this? I can explain how to do it, and I could draw designs for boots, but I'm sure my boots would fall apart... in real life. Have you ever done anything like this?