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Topic: DIY Tap Shoes with Metal  (Read 2749 times)
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« on: June 25, 2016 12:52:56 PM »

So I made my own tap shoes!  It wasn’t difficult, and I happened to have everything I needed lying around.  And the best part?  They actually work!  Like, I used them opposite someone with real tap shoes and it worked.  They didn’t sound identical, but it was good enough (and certainly not as tinny as gluing pennies to your shoes!)

What you’ll need:
1 pair shoes.  These can be anything you happen to have, I’d guess even sneakers would work.  I happened to have an old set of white heels that I knew was never again going to look good enough to wear to a wedding, so I used those.
Scrap metal.  The metal is important, because that’s what will make your normal shoes into tap shoes.  It needs to be thick (mine is about 1/8 in. thick), or the tap sound will be tinny (you don’t want that).  I happened to find a nice old bracket out in my bro’s scrap metal bin, which worked nicely.
Pencil or sharpie
Hack saw (for cutting the metal)
Sand paper (rougher is better)
Glue.  I used super glue, but I’ve heard Goop works better.

[My shoes]

Begin by figuring out how large you want your taps to be.  My ball taps (they go on the bottom of the toe of the shoe) were about 2 inches by 1 inch rectangles, because the bracket was only about 1 inch wide and I needed the two inches to go all the way across.  If you really want to do it right, I’d make a sort of trapezoid shape (triangle with the top point cut off) about 3 inches tall and as wide at the bottom as your shoe’s sole is 3 inches from the toe.  That way you get as big a tap as possible without the metal showing while you’re tapping.

Draw the shape of your taps on the metal using a ruler and a pencil or sharpie.  Use an edge if you can; you’ll have your work cut out for you without having to cut around all four sides!  Make two of these.

[Ball tap]

Now figure out how big you want your heel taps.  I skipped this because my heels were good and tappy already!  In general, if you’re using women’s heels, you can just make the tap about the size of the sole of the heel.  If not, simply make it about 3 inches tall by as wide as the heel of your shoe.  Again, draw the shape of the heel tap onto your metal, then make an identical second heel tap shape.

Note: you can make the taps smaller, but tapping would be easier with larger taps.

Ok, so now for the really not-so-fun part: Take the hack saw and cut out the taps.  Because you’re using thick metal, this could take some time and energy.  (My bro’s one comment when he saw me using metal from his scrap bin was, “Good luck cutting that – I’ve tried!”)  I didn’t find it much worse than using a dull saw on a piece of thick maple, but it’s certainly not a stroll in the park, either.

[Another pic of the ball tap]

When the taps are (finally!) cut out, use rough sand paper to sand down the edges (you don’t want to get cut, nor do you want to scrape up your tapping surface any more than necessary).

Now apply glue to the metal taps and glue them to the soles (balls/toes and heels) of your shoes.  Apply the glue using the manufacturer’s directions; some say to apply it to both surfaces, others only one surface, some want you to use the glue outside, etc.

Then wait – as patiently as you can – for the glue to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions (usually about 24 hours, though quick-drying super glue should be fine within a few hours).

Now you can start tapping away!

A note about durability: I have used these for several hours and they’re still going strong.  I’ll let you know more if they ever break or come unstuck...
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2016 06:49:08 PM »

What a cool project! I'm super impressed. Now we need a link to a video of these in action. Ahem. Wink

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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016 06:12:30 AM »

Lol, maybe once I get a bit better... never taken lessons, so it's just me, the tap shoes, and YouTube   Grin
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