This post and photos may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. If you purchase something through any link I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
If I had to choose between unicorns or mermaids, I’m definitely on team mermaid every time. Maybe it’s the pull of the beach. I LOVE the beach. Or maybe it’s the idea that you can be one person somewhere and a different person somewhere else. In the water, I’m a fish-lady. On land, I’m a sprinter. Okay, okay. So I’m not that great of a swimmer and I haven’t run in, like, years. But as far as mythical creatures go I really love the whole idea of mermaids.
Seeing mermaids surge in popularity has made my little salt-water loving heart do flips. And it also inspired me to make a pair of mermaid sneakers. So I researched materials and decided I wanted to pop some Holographic Iron-On onto a pair of blue kicks. The idea was born quite some time ago and the supplies purchased in February of this year. But the actual mermaid shoes weren’t made 8 months later in , now, in October. I decided it’s cool, though. October is the best month because, HELLO, here’s my mermaid on dry land costume! :) Seriously, though, check out these easy DIY Halloween costumes for kids or for adults if you need some inspo.
I’m sure you’d just love to hear about my procrastination, right? But I’ve got a lot to cover today, so let’s get after it.
Supplies needed to make your own Mermaid Sneakers:
- Cricut EasyPress Mini
- Cricut Holographic Iron-On (I used Cobalt)
- Cricut Cutting Machine (Cricut Maker or Explore Air 2)
- Cricut TrueControl Craft Knife (with a sharp blade)
- Sneakers (I used these)
- Teflon Sheet (optional but helpful)
- Cricut Design Space Cut File with Scales
This was my first time working with Cricut Holographic Iron-On and so I didn’t fully understand how the material works. It’s not opaque like all of the other Iron-On I’ve worked with, but sort of sheer. The color beneath Holographic Iron-On shows through and changes the color. So the end result likely won’t be exactly like what you see on the roll when selecting a color. It’s a combination of the Iron-on’s color plus the surface color.
Also, as heat is applied, it also Cricut Holographic changes color. For me, the cobalt lightens up in color considerably.
I had originally planned on using my cobalt iron-on on a pair of blue sneakers. But set side by side, I worried the 2 were too close in color. You can actually see the first pair I was going to use in the photo above. In the end, I used a pair of teal sneakers instead of not realizing that the blue would change a bit once applied.
Hey, now! What is that Mini Thing in the supply list?
Basically it’s a new tool by Cricut that have made these mermaid sneakers a reality. Guys, these shoes have been on my crafty to-do list since FEBRUARY of this year. But I’ve only just now tackled them because I just got my new Cricut EasyPress Mini, which is just basically a little bitty heat press you hold. I’ve not been shy about the fact that I love my Cricut EasyPress because A. it’s far more conveniently sized to use and store than a traditional heat press and B. it gets the job done spectacularly well.
Having gotten my Mini out of the box, I’m massively in love with its itty bitty size. It’s smaller size makes it perfect for small or oddly shaped projects. Think of all of the hats, shoes, and pockets you can embellish with this tiny dream. Oh, and you can totally add heat transfers to STUFFED ANIMALS. Is this not such a cool idea? I LOVE THIS IDEA.
This smaller EasyPress handles like a little iron with a pointed tip that’s great for getting into corners. And that’s super helpful on projects like today’s shoe tutorial.
Is an EasyPress Mini better than a mini iron?
Because it was the only option, I’ve used a mini iron for loads of projects in the past. And though an EasyPress Mini is more expensive that should not put you off because it’s also so much better. The Mini’s shape, in general, is easier to hold. And it has a convenient handle on top of the device, keeping your hand away from the hot metal plate.
The Mini is also heavier, which seems like it would be a negative but it’s not. Because of the weight, you don’t have the cord spinning and winding up on you. Have you ever used a wood-burning tool or a mini iron? Because every once in a while that sucker does roll when the cord gets wonky and you just have to jump back and rush to pick it up once it’s settled the heck down. That just doesn’t happen with a Mini.
Basically, if you’ve ever used a mini-iron you’ve burned yourself, I can pretty much guarantee it. Besides that crazy cord, there is just SO MUCH METAL that heats up on one of those things. And those suckers get HOT. I have a scar on my thigh that will probably never go away. Clumsy me, I dropped a mini iron on my lap. Yikes. The Mini, in comparison, has a mostly plastic shape with a plate on just the bottom that heats up. Can you still burn yourself with this thing? Yes. It gets hot. Hot things burn.
Last, but not least, the Mini is MADE to work with heat transfers. So rather than having 2 heat settings that might or might not be close to what you need, there are 3 settings that are exactly what you need. No more applying too much heat and rushing off hoping your iron-on doesn’t shrivel or warp the vinyl as it over-heats.
Basically a mini iron is just that while a Mini is just a heat press that fits in your hand. And there’s a world of difference, there! Boom! Cricut EasyPress Mini, it’s worth it.
How to get started making a pair of mermaid sneakers.
Prepare your sneakers by stuffing with socks or other fabric. Stuff them well to help the canvas hold its shape as you apply pressure.
Here is the same file that I used to cut my mermaid scales. The smaller grid I used for the small individual scales.
The larger I used for the outline of the scales. You can use both sizes or work them however you please. Cut your mermaid scales out of holographic iron-on and weed appropriately. I cut one of each size in the file. Those 2 cuts (less than a full roll) were enough to cover a women’s size 8.5 pair of sneakers.
Pre-heat your EasyPress to the second level, listening for the beep to know when it’s ready.
How to apply Holographic Iron-On to mermaid shoes.
Cut interesting shapes out of different fish scales and place them as you’d like on the sneaker’s canvas. Don’t worry about any overlap of eyelets or edges, we will work that out in a bit.
When working with the Holographic Iron-On you can only apply so much heat before the adhesive won’t work. As such, you’ll need to apply heat and remove the carrier sheet as you work. This ensures that the vinyl takes hold before you get to the point of overheating.
Keeping the canvas of the shoe taut apply heat to the center part of the design where you want it. Apply heat for 5-10 seconds, or until you can feel the adhesive start to take. Don’t apply too much heat. Move to the edges near the eyelets applying just enough heat to begin setting the vinyl. Remember to peel away the carrier sheet as you work.
Using a craft knife gently trim away the excess vinyl from around eyelets and near the rubber sole. This iron-on is super thin. It’s more like gold leaf or foil than it is traditional HTV. While delicate, I recommend using a sharp blade for the best results.
With the carrier sheet gone, a Teflon sheet works well to protect the iron-on. Use a sheet while completing heat setting the vinyl to the shoe’s canvas surface. FYI – I purchase Teflon sheets in sets of 3 or 6 and cut them down when needed for projects like this. If you don’t have one of these protective sheets, you can also use butcher or parchment paper from your kitchen.
Layer the different cuts of scales for an amazing and unique pair of mermaid shoes!
Because of the delicate nature of the holographic iron-on, I decided to mix and match 2 different types of scales. This adds interest in a way that reminds me of seeing fish scales on an actual fish. It also helps us cover up any mistakes we make where the iron-on breaks or wrinkles.
As you layer, tack down small areas. Then, trim away excess as needed for an attractive look on your mermaid sneakers. Here I’ve applied a swath of the smaller scales at the back near the heel. To keep from totally covering my other design, I’m trimming the new down. A pair of very sharp, small scissors like the ones from this set, will make quick work of any alterations like this on the fly.
For my shoes, I decided to cover only the sides, not the tongue or the heel stripe on the back. I figure this much holograph is definitely enough for one pair of kicks!
Bling, bling! How cool are these mermaid shoes?
Ooh, and I’m going to leave you with some awesome mermaid knowledge right quick… Did you know that Animal Planet released a mockumentary series about mermaids that were believed to be true? So many people believed that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (an actual department of the U.S. Government) had to put up a webpage debunking mermaids that straight up starts out: “no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found”. psst <— you’d know this cool fact if you’ve played my DIY Popsicle Stick Trivia Game!
After they were done I added some glitzy blue shoelaces and I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a pair of my DIY shoes more! Whatcha think? :)