Parents maintain beautiful memories of their children in several different ways such as photographs, their first hand prints, or first footprints. One unique yet traditional way of retaining or preserving such memories and experiences is to get your baby's first pair of shoes bronzed. They also make great gifts for grown ups. You can get this done professionally, or you can do it by yourself. Given below is the process of doing it at home.
Bronzing the shoes yourself gives the entire memory a personal touch and a unique feeling. The following are the steps involved.
1. First, choose the pair of shoes you would like to bronze. Clean them thoroughly to eliminate all the collected dust and dirt. You can do this by washing them with soap, or just using a damp cloth to wipe them clean, depending on how dirty they may be. Also, rid them of any polish or wax by wiping them with a cloth dipped in denatured alcohol. This will allow the bronze to settle on them properly.
2. If they have laces and a tongue, arrange these to your preference in a manner that is appealing. Once the bronzing process is complete, this arrangement cannot be changed. If you wish to harden the shoes, you may apply a coat of Plaster of Paris on them, and allow it to set for a day or two.
3. Make a tiny hole in any convenient place in both the shoes, through which a string can be passed. This is to be able to hang the shoes and allow them to dry. Also, it eases the bronzing process.
4. You can use a liquid bronze solution available in the market, or mix bronze powder with quick-dry varnish to create a bronzing liquid. Mix it thoroughly to get an even color.
5. Now, proceed to bronze the shoes. Use a good-quality paint brush for the same. Apply the solution on the inside as well as the outside of the shoes. It may require several coats, as some shoes may absorb the bronzing liquid and make the appearance patchy. Continue the procedure until you are convinced that the appearance is even, smooth, and glossy. Avoid painting in a place that is too windy or open, as this will allow dust particles to settle on the shoes, thereby disturbing the process.
6. After they have dried, you can give them an authentic antique look by using a little black oil paint mixed with a small amount of bronzing liquid to highlight the creases in them, using a fine brush. Allow the shoes to dry.
7. Give them a final touch by fixing them to an antique wooden base, or encasing them in a glass box, to be presented or just preserved.
Several bronzing kits are available in the market that can enable you to complete the entire procedure yourself. The steps to use the kit are similar to the ones mentioned above.
When you get shoes bronzed professionally, the companies use high-quality chemicals to harden the shoes. They also undergo a process of electroplating. The shoes are then polished to a shine, and coated with a solution that will protect them.
Bronzed baby shoes can also be used as book ends, can be mounted on picture frames, or just kept as a beautiful show piece at home. As such, they are also a great gift idea. They can be used to announce the arrival of a baby, and make for a great baby shower gift too. In short, this is one of the most creative ways of making precious memories eternal.