I am a big fan of unique autograph ideas when I travel to Walt Disney World. Meeting the characters is one of my favorite memories from my Disney vacations – I am a big kid at heart! When I know I am meeting a specific characters, such as at a character meal, I usually try to come up with an idea unique to that character for their autograph. For other characters, I still love to have something special to bring back home!
On my recent solo trip to Disney World, I decided to bring along a pair of canvas shoes for characters to sign. They were a big hit with the characters, Cast Members, guests & friends back home!
You will need:
White or cream colour canvas shoes (I used cream)*You could also use black, with a silver fabric marker!
A fabric marker
Shoe Protector Spray
First, you have to choose what kind of shoe you want to use. You can use a pair of official Toms, or you can do like I did & find a knock off pair for $10. The articles I had read, used a white shoe with multi colored markers. If this is the route you want to take – go for it! I decided to go with a cream-colored shoe with black markers. I liked the vintage look it gives & that it could also match any outfit.
If you want to mix things up a little, you could also do a black or brown shoe with silver markers! I’m not sure how this might turn out, so you might want to test a couple shapes or designs before diving in with autographs.
I did some research on how to protect these prior to doing them on the best way to get a cute, wearable shoe that wouldn’t fade. There was no prep work required with the shoe in terms of any sort of base coat.
What I did do, however, was test a spot on the shoe to see how the marker would work & hold. I initially tried to use a sharpie, because I had some kicking around at home. I drew a Mickey head on the back of the shoe, so it couldn’t easily be seen if it didn’t turn out well. I quickly realized that a standard sharpie would not do the trick. It bled a little & I didn’t want to have to worry about that happening.
I went to my local craft store & purchased a pack of two black fabric markers. I tested again on the back of my shoe, this time with a little Disney star. It turned out perfect! I cleaned up my Mickey & was ready for my autographs.
Fill those shoes with autographs on your trip!! I used some newspaper to stuff in the toes, so they had a solid surface to sign. When my shoes started getting a little fuller, I opted to not have characters with those big hands (like Mickey, Donald, etc) sign them, because they have such big signatures & found it difficult to sign with their oversized hands (or paws)! In this case, I would just get princesses, etc. to sign in the smaller empty spaces.
The shoes get filled up pretty quickly, so you may want to consider choosing a theme, such as all princesses, the fab 5 and friends, or all rare characters. I didn’t choose a theme with mine, I just wanted as many as I could get! I did, however, meet a lot of rare characters, so I was sure to include them.
Pro tip: When I got home, there was still some little areas that I thought could’ve used an autograph. I went back through my many character meetings & selected a few character signatures to add myself with the use of google images. I know, I know. It’s cheating. But I did still meet them! I just got crafty with my last 2-3 autographs.
I fit about 12 autographs on each shoe comfortably.
Each night when I got back to the hotel, I used the hair dryer on the autographs for a few minutes. Supposedly this helps the ink settle in the fabric better. When I had all autographs, I did it again. However, I read that it is best to do this as soon as possible after getting the autograph so the ink settles better. You could even make use of a hand dryer in the parks if you really wanted to!
I had my autographs & was absolutely in love! I wanted to do some research on the best way to protect them – because of course I had to wear them & show them off! I had read that the best way to protect them was with the beeswax method. I decided to use paraffin wax as some articles had said to do because it was a cheaper option. After just spending a pretty penny on my trip, I didn’t feel like spending $30 on one bar of beeswax at my local craft store & on amazon!
Using a hairdryer, I melted the block of paraffin wax & lightly rubbed it over the autographs, and then used the hairdryer to melt it into the shoe. I did a test area first to see how it would do. I was not happy with the outcome unfortunately, as it created an oily dark residue on the shoe. I was happy I did a test section first!!
I decided to toss the wax and go with plan B – just use a simple shoe protector spray. At the very least, this would protect the shoes from the elements a little bit. Again, I tested a small area first to see how it set. It worked perfect!
Maybe the beeswax would’ve worked better, I’m not sure. Whatever route you choose, make sure you test a small area before doing the whole shoe.
I wear mine all the time! But only when the ground is dry & they can’t get dirty.
There you have it! You can now get some super fun & cute autographs in the parks for you & your family. The characters loved them, and were super interactive. These are quite possibly my favorite autographed item that I’ve done so far & they were the perfect, affordable souvenir!
Have you gotten character autographs on shoes before? What tips do you have? Let us knowin the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!
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Disney lover & photographer, living in Newfoundland, Canada. My first trip to Disney World was at age 15 & I have been more times than I can count since! When I see Cinderella's castle, or the fireworks, my heart skips a beat. If you know what I’m talking about, then you’re a Disney lover too! I can't wait for my next trip home & hope these blogs help you plan your next trip to the world!