Bronze baby shoes have served as a tribute to childhood innocence for centuries. Baby shoes cast in bronze, pewter, gold, silver, and even porcelain keep the tender memories of childhood alive, and are a lasting family keepsake.
Bronze Baby Shoes History
The history of bronzing dates farther back than the sixth century BC. Bronzing was used to make statuary and tools around 1500 BC. By then, bronzing was a pretty sophisticated process. Bronze statues, picture frames, dishes, and other items have been a part of family households for centuries. Bronze starts off as a shiny gold color and then with time becomes the beautiful patina shade that one associates with bronze.
There are two ways to bronze those cute little shoes. You can send them off to be cast by a professional or you can do them yourself. Bronzing baby shoes professionally takes about four to six weeks. The bronzing process involves:
- A special formula is applied to stiffen the shoes
- The laces are tied, and the shoe is formed
- The shoes are coated once more for electroplating
- Shoes are inspected and placed on plating rack for three to four hours
- Shoes are then removed and polished to a high luster
- After a thorough inspection, they treated with a protectant
- Your new bronze keepsake is then inspected and mounted to specifications
American Bronzing Company and Memories in Bronze have a variety of mountings for your bronzed baby shoes. Options include bookends and frames mounted on quality wooden or marble bases, ornaments and more.
For the Do-It-Yourselfer
If you are creative, you may wish to bronze your own baby shoes. This process is somewhat involved but can give you a real sense of accomplishment. Your keepsake will be even more significant if you made it yourself, especially if you are giving the bronze baby shoes as a gift to someone else. To bronze shoes DIY:
- Clean the shoes
- Form the shoes as you wish for them to appear once bronzed
- Apply rubber cement to hold laces or tongue in a desired position
- Let shoes dry
- Create a tiny hole in the sole of the shoe, run fishing line through the hole
- Prepare your liquid bronze
- Apply the bronze with a quality brush to the inside and outside of the shoe
- Once the shoe has dried, you may "age" the shoe by adding some black oil paint to the liquid bronze and painting it into the creases of the shoe.
If you enjoy making this baby shoe keepsake, you may want to open your own baby shoe bronzing business.
Kits and Supplies
Casting Gifts sells an easy to use kit to bronze your baby shoes. They also have many unique casting kit supplies to create other keepsakes such as your baby's tiny little fist or even a cast of your pregnant belly.
Caswell Plating is a supplier for people who are going to become serious hobbyists or go into business creating bronze keepsakes. Their supply sets require more advanced tools and come in larger quantities.
Not Only Decorative, But Useful
Keepsakes are wonderful, but it is nice when they serve a function besides eliciting wistful smiles and collecting dust. This was the thinking behind incorporating bronze baby shoes into other useful household items such as picture frames and bookends. Family keepsakes can also illustrate the way life has changed as well as preserving how things once were.