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Uses for Dead Pointe Shoes in Ballet

After hours of rehearsal, classes, private lessons, and performances, the pair of pointe shoes you’ve got are probably ready to croak. But before you chuck them in the trash, consider turning them into useful ballerina art with the 10 creative ideas outlined below!

1. Potpourri Pointe Pots

Dead pointes can be a bit smelly, particularly if you’ve worn them a lot. Solve two problems at once by taking an inexpensive bag of dried potpourri and filling your shoes with it. Then tie the ribbons together in a simple bow and hang them from your closet door, ceiling, door knob, bedpost, or anywhere else you can think of!

Change the potpourri every couple months. You’ll have a gorgeous, romantic holder for your sweetest scents.

Hot Tip: Sweet Scents

To make your potpourri holders personally perfumed, try picking flowers from your own garden. Hang them up for a week or two to dry. Then crush them, and fill your shoes with the homemade potpourri.

2. De-shank & Reuse

Talk to your teacher about the benefits of using de-shanked pointe shoes in your technique classes. If (s)he approves, go home and rip the shanks out of your dead pointe shoes. Use a hammer. If you’re a younger dancer, make sure a parent helps you. Hang on to the sole lining, as you’ll have to put it back in after removing the shank.

When you’re done, just put them on and voila: Brand new flat shoes with strengthening abilities! Even without the shank, the toughened canvas of pointe shoes will force your feet to point harder.

3. Dramatic Décor

If you’re feeling crafty, maybe try to paint and decorate your dead pointes. Use floral sprays to lay down base colors. Then sew on sequins, ribbons, or pearls for decoration.

Feeling risqué? Use a spray adhesive to attach some playful feathers to the vamp. You can keep the shoes, or maybe give them as gifts.

4. Ballerina Bouquet

For a classic and timeless aesthetic, try placing your pointes in a vase. Different arrangements can make different shapes; get creative and you may even find ways to make your shoe bouquet resemble a floral one! For added flair, line the bottom of the vase with spare lamb’s wool or old ribbons.

Another creative touch (if you have the time), is to decorate the vase itself with ballet themed accessories. Think about items such as white faux-feathers or glittery appliqués.

5. Frame the Fame

Add an adorably saccharine touch to your favorite ballet photo by taking a large frame and super gluing a pointe shoe to either side. This can turn even the most simple and cheap frames into custom designed ballet themed memory holders. For an added flair, embellish the shoes with writing inscriptions, such as the date of the show in the frame or the dancer’s name.

6. Shadow Box

Since even dead and worn out pointe shoes are still beautiful, try putting them in a shadow box to hang on your wall. Placing shoes in these 3D frames display all their beauty — but with none of the post-rehearsal scent.

Ambitious ballerinas (who own a lot of pointes) should make murals out of their shadow boxes. Place different pairs of shoes in various positions. Create a line of shadow boxes along a wall.

7. Shoe Death as Art

Ballerinas with artistic interests aside from dance can use dead pointe shoes as studies in visual art. Pile up pairs and snap some artsy photos. Try a variety of arrangements, and consider making sculptures.

Working on drawing? Set up pointe shoes for a still life sketch. The way light reflects off satin can make for an interesting artistic endeavor.

8. Wonderful Workouts

If you’re in the mood to shape up your feet and do some reps with your Theraband, try wearing your dead pointe shoes. This eliminates the need to de-shank shoes for strengthening exercises, while still making use of the toughened box. The shoes will make your feet work harder as well as provide a good, sticky grip for your Theraband!

9. Knock, Knock

Think about wrapping pointe shoes around your doorknob. Or maybe nail the ribbons to the outside of your door to create a personalized knocker.

Tie a fairly tight knot in the ribbons to minimize the amount of swinging the shoes can do when you open or close the door. Hitting your guest in the face with your Sugar Plum shoes is not a great way to make an impression!

10. Stuffed Shoe-Bear

Being ballet obsessed can lead to cuddly toys. Try making a stuffed animal by cutting the satin off your dead shoes and stitching it together in the shape of a bear or bunny (or whatever else you like).

Get Creative

Whatever you decide to do with your dead shoes, remember that the sky is the limit! Get creative, and try to think of more things to do with your dead shoes. The only bad thing to do with them is to throw them away — a ballet sin!

Have no clue what to do with your worn out pointes? Put them to work at home or in the studio with ideas from this guide -- no matter what shape they're in!
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