Bronzing Baby Shoes: Types, How It Is Done & Tips

Baby Shoe Bronzing – Tips and Process

We love preserving those little things that have been dear to us. Parents can never get enough when it comes to preserving the tiny clothes, books, toys and even shoes that their kids used as babies. Bronzing baby shoes is an age-old tradition with several options. It is a way of preserving those abraded tiny shoes that your baby wears when they start taking their first steps. Bronzed booties fell out of fashion as the process was messy, involved plastering and electroplating for a finish to let the bronzing stick to the shoes. Shoes dipped in bronze are not exactly inexpensive but in recent years, various tips and processes have been invented to help preserve shoes. Parents have scores of options to explore now. The adorable little shoes worn by your little one could become a family heirloom for you to cherish those innumerable memories of your baby’s first steps. Although the popularity fell out for a brief period, it is back in trend again. Most baby items are precious and hold a lot of sentimental value. Little baby shoes evoke a sense of nostalgia and walking is one of the most important milestones in a baby’s life. First steps are a memorable thought and parents would go any lengths to preserve it in their life.

What Is Meant by Baby Shoe Bronzing?

Originally bronzing was done on frames, statues, dishes and household items. Preserving baby’s first shoes or bronzing has been around since 1934. It makes the baby’s shoes into an everlasting memento.  Electroplating- combining chemistry and electricity to create copper lets you baby’s actual shoes to be preserved.

Originally started as a business by Violet Shinbach, a Cleveland kindergarten teacher who learnt the trade from her grandmother, baby shoe bronzing has undergone a lot of change is environment friendly. The American Bronzing Company was set up by Violet once she realised this could be a potential business.

Types of Shoe Bronzing

There is nothing more cherishable that a reminder of when your child or grandchild wore their first pair of shoes. A tradition for over 70 years that continues to be a memoir for your little one, it is a terrific gift that can be given as a gift or even adorn your display cabinet. There are various types that one can choose from

  • Walnut or silver oak base
  • Square or oval base with an engraved nameplate’
  • Antique or vintage bronze baby shoes look with bronze, silver, gold or pewter shoes
  • Single or pair of shoes on a base
  • Pair of shoes on a base couple with a photo frame
  • Felt protectors added to the shoes to protect your furniture
  • Porcelain dipped baby shoes with a hanging engraved name tag

How Is Shoe Bronzing Done?

The entire process of bronzing takes between four to six weeks. A special formula is applied first to stiffen the shoes. Laces are tied to look as if the baby is wearing them. The shoes get coated for electroplating post which they sit on a plating rack for three to four hours. Once they are bronzed, shoes are polished for a shine and lustre. A second coating is applied to protect the bronze. The bronzed pair is mounted on a base. A newly bronzed pair looks shimmering gold in colour and develops a veneer over time.

Where to Get Shoes Bronzed

There are several websites which have shops and owners who offer complete bronzing service along with shoe preservation services. If you are a person who likes to have a go at these traditional techniques, then you could order a personal Do-It-Yourself kit and have the pleasure of creating an heirloom.

How Much Does Shoe Bronzing Cost?

A bronzing kit would cost anywhere within the range of $80 to $400. Prices can vary if it handed to professional depending on the type of service you want. Shipping charges will be separate than what one pays for the bronzing process.

How Can Parents Bronze Their Infant’s Shoes at Home?
How Can Parents Bronze Their Infant's Shoes at Home?

To bronze shoes at home is a fairly lengthy and involved process. One needs to account for the drying time too. It would be ideal to collect the supplies needed and set an allocated space that offers sufficient ventilation. Clean and dry the shoes with gloves on. Make sure to remove the laces and wash and dry them separately. One would need to fill the insides of the shoes with plaster depending on the style to add some weight. This needs to dry completely too. Once done, the shoes need to be cleaned for any remaining dirt or blemishes with denatured alcohol. The bronzing powder can then be applied as per the instructions.

Tips to Maintain Shoes After Bronzing

A few tips to maintain shoes after bronzing:

  • Use a washcloth dampened with warm water to remove any debris
  • Create a cleansing paste with two teaspoons of baking soda and a few drops of lemon juice.
  • In a circular motion, apply the paste on the bronzed shoes to reach the cervices
  • Leave the paste for 20 minutes and wipe the paste off with a wet towel. Make sure to remove all the remnants.
  • Repeat these steps until the shoes are free from any debris, smudges or patina.

It is advisable to avoid any store-bought polishes that will break the protective shield on the shoes and eat away the coating. If your bronzed shoes are mounted on a wooden base, make sure you do not submerge them in water as this could warp the wood or cause any damage to the shoes.

Most parents heave a sigh of relief when their baby takes his or her first steps. They officially become a toddler and parents like to bronze their shoes to freeze those moments in their life. These shoes become a reminder of the baby’s childhood memories. Bronzed shoes are a keepsake and an heirloom that bring a smile to your face.

Also Read: When Should Your Baby Start Wearing Shoes?

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.