It all started when a friend of mine tweeted, “I got two pairs of shoes and about a hundred pairs of shoelaces to choose from,” which made me realize that my situation is the same! As a matter of fact, I have spent more money on shoelaces than on shoes, because I love playing around with colors and patterns that go with my OOTDs. So, I began researching on how to make shoelaces, thinking that maybe I could save tons of money if I were to make my own shoelaces rather than buying them all.
My own researches yielded that the process of creating shoelaces is pretty standard for most manufacturers. I found out that the most common raw materials in making shoelaces are cotton, polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. The ‘aglet,’ or the hard material at the end of our shoelaces designed to keep the fabric together can also be made from various materials such as plastic, and even metal. It was especially surprising for me to find out that most manufacturers actually use a very common substance – acetone – in order to secure these ‘aglets’ to the ends of the braided threads.
If the raw materials needed to make shoelaces are quite basic and simple, how to make them is an entirely different matter. Thing is, manufacturers use big braiding machines just to piece together the laces. Then, the machine does its magic to the materials – there are on average 44 bobbins on each braiding machine, and all of these work simultaneously just to produce one long shoelace strip that would later be cut into varying lengths.
Note that these braiding machines are not all the same – they can be configured to work slower or faster, since there are also different types and looks of shoelaces. The pace in which the machine works determines how loose or how tight the braid on the shoelaces will be. After all these, the machine spews out the braided threads to a waiting bin that would then be brought to the tipping department. This is where our shoelaces earn their aglets with the help of acetone and acetate tape. And after the shoelaces have dried, they will be cut off, and then paired together, and then the shoelaces are ready for consumption.
So, obviously, this is the simple and de-jargonized version of how to make shoelaces. We do not need to know the specifics to figure out that it is not feasible for us ordinary people to make shoelaces the way manufacturers do them. After all, I’m quite sure that even one braiding machine costs a lot, and we still need a tipping machine to go with it.
However, we are fortunate enough that there are tons of creative people who came before us, as I came across a lot of websites offering tutorials on how to make shoelaces using only scrap materials and minimal labor (no big or even small machines needed for this alternative way of making shoelaces!).
Another one of my favourite alternative ways to make shoelaces is by crocheting. I have learned how to crochet from my grandmother, but until now I haven’t found any practical reason in which I could apply my crocheting skills. If you already know how to crochet, then you’re good to go. All you need to worry about is how to create an aglet for your makeshift shoelaces. Remember that there are different materials you could use to create your aglet. You just have to secure it, whether it may be plastic or metal, to the tips of your shoelaces. You can use acetone or even glue gun.
Lastly, I found that duct tapes could also make up your DIY shoelaces! This one is really simple, as well. You just have to fold and glue together different colors of duct tapes to achieve your desired effect or color combination! I like this particular method because it provides waterproof shoelaces that don’t get destroyed easily!
I hope this post was able to give you something new to learn today and I hope the tutorials on how to make shoelaces inspired you to try making some of your own!