Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Handwoven Shoelaces

Today is my son Max's 25th birthday. Happy Birthday, Max! Many years ago, when he was in grade school, his shoelace broke while tying.
I said "I can make better shoelaces than that". And I did.
Years later I decided to make some for sale. I found this great nylon crochet thread that comes from Mexico in lots of bright colors and has a great sheen to it.

I bought some heat-shrink tubing at the electronics store along with the special heating tool for finishing the tips of each lace. Although I have made several pair of laces, it never has really worked out to my satisfaction.

The tips are fat and do not go through the holes on many types of shoes. And worse yet, the tips do not always stay on. Glue could help out here, but I haven't tried it yet.

What I really want is a way to compress the ends of the laces and attach a small piece of tubing that will stay. Recently, I sent away for samples of metal "aglets" which are made for this purpose. They were much too small to accommodate my laces.
Anybody know of another source for aglets or have another idea for making a nice looking tip on these laces?


  1. I have an idea...sort of. Not sure it would work but how about when you finish weaving the laces, cut the ends to a point and dip them in fabric glue (or since they are nylon, you might be able to burn them together) so they don't come unravelled. Then try to put the tubelets or aglets on. Did you do the laces with weaving cards? I just bought some and can't wait to try them out!

  2. Love the laces - I helped my children weave some a long time ago. You are inspiring me to do some for my grandchildren!

  3. A friend of mine weaves shoelaces out of kevlar thread and she puts the aglets on the warp thread only.

  4. Hmmm....
    Sara- Aglets on warp threads only is something I hadn't thought of. And I also have not heard of kevlar thread. Do you suppose there are photos somewhere that I could look at?
    Spinning Out of Control- I will have to experiment with glue and burning. Sounds like I should plan a mad scientist day!

  5. Annie,
    Have you tried wrapping the ends tightly with copper or other metal wire? I am not sure if you would get the sort of end you are looking for, but they would definitely by funky and individual and have a handmade look, and could be compressed enough to fit through tiny holes on most shoes.

  6. Hi, Naomi.
    I have not. I did try wrapping them in dental floss to make them smaller before putting the plastic tips on. I will add this to my list of experiments.

  7. Check out the Aglet Repair section of Ian's Shoelace Site, which has eight different ways to make aglets:

  8. Thank you Professor Shoelace. I think you must be an interesting guy. I have visited your site before and was thinking that I need to revisit it. The solution is probably there.

  9. Hi, Have you ever tried kumihimo to finish the ends?. you could leave length at ends to put through a handheld kumi disc and weave the ends tightly that way and then use a bit of glue on that area for the finish. I have made a couple pair of kumihimo shoe laces in a flat braid and finished them with a round braid for the ends and then rubbed glue on the round ends then cut them apart.