DIY Shoelaces

If you have leftover 2 1/2″ strips, sometimes it can be tough to figure out to fit them in with another big project. Maybe you only have 4 or 5 strips leftover, maybe none of them match, maybe they’re a color you don’t typically like in your quilts. Whatever the reason, we have a fabulous project to help use up those leftover 2 1/2″ strips: DIY shoelaces!

Aren’t these just adorable? Shoelaces are shockingly simple to make, easy to customize and extremely fun to make for loved ones! Let’s jump right in:

First, we need to gather up supplies. In this tutorial, we’ll be making shoelaces that are 3/8″ wide. Madison, our Connecting Threads Marketing Coordinator and sewing superstar, made multiple sizes and we’ll have more information about that at the end of this post. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be talking specifically about the 3/8″ inch wide shoelace.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 full length 2 1/2″ strips
    • It’s ok if they don’t match! Who says shoelaces have to match?!
  • Transparent Heat Shrink Tubing or Shoelace Aglets of your choice
    • In this tutorial, we’re using this set of pre-cut heat shrink plastic tubing, because they’re perfect for DIY shoelaces!
    • If you’re using heat shrink tubing, you’ll need a heat source to shrink the plastic. We suggest an iron with the ability to steam, a hair dryer or a heat gun.
    • Looking for a more polished finish? Try these DIY Metal Aglets, which don’t require a special tool to install!
  • Bias Tape Maker ¾” (optional)
    • You don’t need to use a bias tape maker, but it’s highly suggested for such small strips. Trust us, it’ll save your fingertips from getting burnt by your iron!
  • Basic sewing supplies
    • Thread
    • Rotary Cutter
    • Ruler
    • Cutting mat
    • Wonder clips or pins
    • Sewing Machine


These were made using a fabric from the Frost and Flourish collection, which is still available as 2 1/2″ strips!

Basic Instructions:

1. Grab your first leftover 2 1/2″ strip and put it on your cutting mat. We’ll be sizing this strip down to 1.5”. Keep it folded in half, to make cutting easier.

2. Line up a ruler, preferably one that’s at least 24” long, with the longest edge of your strip. You want to cut away the pinked edge along one side of your strip (shown in left image). Before you make your cut, line up the fold of your strip to the short edge of your ruler. This will ensure that your strip is straight and your cut line is perpendicular to your fold (shown in right image).

3. Flip over your strip and line up your newly cut straight edge with the 1.5” mark on your ruler. You should now have a 1.5” wide strip!

4. To prep your strip for the bias tape maker, I highly recommend you cut one edge of your strip at a 45 degree angle. This makes it easier to push the strip through the bias tape maker. It also helps to have a ruler with a 45 degree marked line, like you can see in the photos below. You line up the long edge of your strip with the 45 degree marker and slice off a corner.

5. Now we feed your strip into the bias tape maker. Take the pointed end that you just created, wrong side up, and start pushing it into the widest end of the bias tape maker. It can take a little finagling, so don’t worry if you have a tough time at first! One way to help coax the fabric into moving is to take a thin, sharp object (like this Clover Curved Awl) You’ll know you’re successful when you see that pointed tip peek out the end – once you do, give it light tug to start the process.

6. As you start to pull your strip through, you’ll see the bias tape maker doing its job. It will create two folds which you’ll want to iron down. I like to press my iron down onto the folded strip, pull the bias tape maker back to create more tape, then iron the next section. It’s best to go slow and steady here.

7. Once you’ve pulled your entire strip through the bias tape maker, you have one last ironing step: you’ll need to fold the entire strip it in half. You’re basically hiding those raw edges inside your new fold!

8. Now your shoelace is ready to be sewn. I suggest either pinning or using wonder clips to keep your bias tape folded as you sew. Once it’s secured, you’ll sew as close to the open edge as you can – for me, it was about 1/8”. Sew along the entire long edge of your shoelace.

I’m using Superior Threads’ Metallic Red Thread, just for a shiny and fun addition!

9. Trim one end of your shoelace. Grab your plastic tubing and trim it into two short pieces – mine were about 1”. Fold one end of your shoelace in half to help shimmy it into a piece of tubing. Leave just a tiny overhang of plastic tubing, seen below.

10. Grab your heat source and start it up – I’m using a heat gun. Point it directly at the plastic tubing and begin heating it up. You should see it start to shrink within just a few seconds! Rotate your tubing and make sure to heat all sides until it cinches around the fabric.

11. Optional: I found that, directly after you turn your heat source off, pinching the overhang of plastic helps create a tighter end to your shoelace. Then you can trim off the excess.

12. Before you repeat the plastic tubing process with your other shoelace end, this is a great time to check the length. If you know exactly how long you need it to be, you can measure it now. If you aren’t sure, I suggest lacing it up into your favorite shoes to see how long it’ll need to be. Once you’ve trimmed off the second end, repeat the plastic tubing process.

13. Voilà, you have a finished shoelace! Start back up at Step 1 and repeat this whole process for your second shoelace. Now that you’ve got a pair, lace up your favorite shoes and you’ll be delighted with how lovely they look!

These shoelaces are made from the Elemental Illusions collection, specifically the Modern Basket Weave fabric.


  1. Nancy Matheson - April 7, 2023

    Fun tutorial! The link for the heat shrink tubing goes to the metal aglets. Can I get the correct link? Would love to do this project with my granddaughters.

  2. Robbie Siebert - April 7, 2023

    I too would like the correct link for the heat shrink tubing. I can’t wait to make these! Thanks

  3. Pam Doffek - April 7, 2023

    what size heat shrink tubes did you use in this lesson for the 1.5″ bias strip? The link goes to a kit of 10 different sizes. I’d like to get the size I need and then order larger if needed. Is it the 6mm?

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 10, 2023

      I used the 6mm tube, you are correct! I ended up trying the 4mm as well – it’s a tight squeeze, but I was able to shimmy the lace in after some finagling. I would suggest the 6mm though – since it’s heat shrinking, don’t struggle like I did and let the heat gun do its job!

  4. Sally H - April 9, 2023

    Really disappointing. The heat shrink tubes were way too wide and didn’t stay on the laces.

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 10, 2023

      A few troubleshooting tips that might help:
      – Make sure you’re using the right tube size! I chose the closest size I could fit over my lace, about 6mm, before shrinking. It ended up being a snug fit, which you want, so when the heat shrinks the tube, it’ll cinch right on! The set we link has 10 sizes, so you’ll want to make sure you grab a size that doesn’t leave much of a gap around your lace – just like the photo after Step 9!
      – Make sure you’re using a hot enough heat source, too. I tried my (very old!) hair dryer and it was not hot enough to shrink the plastic, so my tube wasn’t staying on. I swapped to a heat gun and it shrank immediately, and the hold improved immensely. If you have an iron, the hottest setting with steam will also work – just be careful!
      I’ve been using my laces (seen here) all weekend on a walking trip around Seattle and they have held up so well! I think once you grab the right size heat shrink tube, they’ll work much better!

    • Sally H - April 11, 2023

      Thanks for your response. I didn’t realize there were different sizes in the package. I’ll give it a try with a smaller size

  5. Bev Gordon - April 22, 2023

    Hey! Thank you for this fun little project! And thanks, also for you patience with peoples comments!

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 25, 2023

      Thanks Bev 🙂

  6. Linda P - April 22, 2023

    Love this idea! Thanks for the idea. Looks like fun.

  7. MICHAEL W - April 22, 2023

    I like this !!! So many possibilties !!!

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 25, 2023

      Thanks Michael – I can’t seem to stop making these! Every pair of shoes I own with laces have multiple shoelace options now 🙂 Pretty excited to have such a unique summer fashion accessory!

  8. Cindy S - April 22, 2023

    I love this idea, I can’t wait to try it.

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 25, 2023

      Thanks Cindy 🙂

  9. Marsha W - April 23, 2023

    Is there a way to get these instructions, with photos, as a printed leaflet? I need to work from paper rather than digital format and I can’t use up so much expensive ink. I would be willing to pay a reasonable amount to have it snail mailed to me.

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 25, 2023

      That’s a great idea Marsha, I completely understand needing a print-out! I’m so glad I’m not the only one – every time I download a PDF pattern, I immediately print it out. I like being able to jot down notes as I go!
      I’ll work on getting that put together and tag you once we produce it 🙂

  10. Laura L Arnold - April 23, 2023

    I would also like to know if there is a printed pattern with pictures. These are so neat! My grandkids would love these.

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 25, 2023

      I’ll work on getting a PDF put together – it’s so nice to have something you can print out and jot down notes! I’ll make sure to tag you once I get it processed 🙂

  11. Jeanne M Dobbins - April 24, 2023

    What a great idea!! Love this idea and I am going to make up a bunch for all the kids at my church!

    • Elizabeth LePage - April 25, 2023

      That’s such a lovely idea Jeanne – I bet they’ll love them!!

  12. Laurie - May 27, 2023

    Would be nice if we could save your tutorials to Pinterest.

  13. Julie - May 30, 2023

    I would love to be able to pin or download a PDF of the instructions.

  14. Heidi - May 30, 2023

    I assume full length strips = WOF ? Just want to be sure. This will be fun! Thank you.

    • Elizabeth LePage - June 27, 2023

      Hi Heidi,

      WOF = Width of Fabric.

      Most quilting fabric is the same width, about 44-45″, from selvedge to selvedge. 2 1/2″ strips are cut along the WOF, so they should measure 45″ x 2 1/2″.

      Hope this helps and happy sewing!

  15. Kim Luke - June 27, 2023

    Ok I need help I’ve done as told on the tutorial but having trouble w the tips fitting into the grommet lace holes on the tennis shoes. Please any advice would be helpful.

    • Elizabeth LePage - June 27, 2023

      Shoes seem to have quite variable grommet sizes – I had a few shoes that had huge grommets and the laces were swimming in them! Here are a few tips that might help:

      – Your strip should be cut down to 1 1/2 ” wide and will produce a shoelace that is about 3/8″ wide. Remember, if you take a simple 2 1/2″ strip and don’t chop down the width, you’ll have a much larger shoelace!
      – You’ll also want to make sure that your grommets will be large enough to accommodate that size. If they’re too small, I’d suggest cutting your strip to 1″ wide, which will produce a tiny 1/4″ shoelace! Try taking a small ruler to your shoe’s grommets and see what their diameter is – this might help you size your strips accordingly!
      – The plastic aglet also shrinks down to about the same size of the shoelace – a diameter of about 3/8″. Again, if that’s too big for your shoes, you’ll want to adjust the size of strip you use and use a smaller plastic aglet size.
      – Don’t forget to use the smallest/tightest aglet you can, as you’ll want it to shrink enough to really hold the fabric together.

      Hopefully this helps, happy sewing Kim!

  16. Connie - October 11, 2023

    Did you post the other sizes that Madison made? I don’t find them