Saturday, March 12, 2011

Custom gold and silver henna patterned gumboots

Hello world,

Here they are! My beautiful custom gumboots. I may even do some more work on them in the future... depending on how I feel. There's space for more but I do love them as they are.

To replicate these all you need is:
  • A clean pair of gumboots - I picked up my pair from Bunnings for $20
  • One or more permanent paint markers with a fine nib - I used gold and silver Artline 999XF with a 0.8mm nib
  • And internet connection or a library where you can look up examples of the many and varied awesome henna patterns... or, you know, innate artistic talent (I went with the internet connection and the library books as my Mum funnelled all of her drawing talent into my little brother Michael)

I also used a couple of stick-on jewels I had left over from my cake pop bouquets a few years ago. If you're planning on adding anything like that, I suggest using construction adhesive (in careful quantities) because hot glue won't stand the elements (Selleys in a good brand; they even have one specifically for rubber).

Method: Just go for it! Hmm, but if you're concerned about not getting it right first time, I'd recommend first doing some practice on paper. e.g. I made one of my zine-per-diems just henna patterns - they're fun, pretty, easy even if you're not good at drawing, and you end up feeling quite calm and tranquil while you're doing it.

For a great resource on the mechanics of drawing henna patterns, as well as examples of some masterpieces and descriptions of the different styles of henna around the world, check out The Henna Page.

What's the story?

I decided to make these beautiful gumboots for an adventure EJ and I were planning - foraging down an old abandoned train tunnel at Helensburgh. We originally discovered the place while geocaching - Dub Side of the Moon is hidden sneakily at the mouth of the dreamy location. Take a look how romantic a scene it is:

Sorry for the low-quality image - we left the photo-taking 'til the sun was high in the sky and it was a sweltering 40°C, making for harsh lighting conditions. That and trying to hash the image size down for the internet means this doesn't even show you a fraction of how beautiful this place is - if you're anywhere nearby, go and check it out!

Inside there was an escape from the stifling heat, not to mention a canopy of glow worms that have aligned themselves with the old brickwork. The mud is the perfect thick glompy kind, and you see frogs hopping around and other creatures too.

The mud was the reason we left exploring the tunnel for another day - giving me a week to make these babies! Below is a comparison - my gummies in their, uh, natural habitat on the left, and on the right, after our adventure.

Yes, they survived. The mud came off easily, and any spots that had dried too much to come off under running water were easily removed with a soft damp cloth. In face, the walking and the cleaning didn't affect the drawn-on patterns at all. Success! The only smudge is from where EJ's ridiculously heavy torch was resting on them in the bag on the way home.

OK, I won't post any more pictures (I have roughly 100... yes I always take things overboard).

Au revoir,



  1. I really love your boots! You have mede a great work with them! I've been looking for some boots but I havent find the perfect ones. Now I think that I don't need to look more for them, I'll made them! ;)

  2. @Pececillo con volantes

    So glad you like them! At the price you see pretty gumboots for online and in stores, I definitely think customising your own is the way to go. In fact, if you wanted to you could even make some spats for them to match any outfit... as long as they're washable. :)

  3. Truly impressive; thanks for sharing.