Friday, August 3, 2012

How I made my Yoko Boots

I'm not really labeling this as a tutorial b/c it's totally up to you what info you use and don't.  My method was actually a hodge-podge of info I researched from the internet.  I just combined ideas and added a few of my own to get what worked for me.  I'm posting this in case someone finds something here that helps them.

The hardest part for me was finding a pair of boots that I really liked for this cosplay.  I spent weeks researching online for boots, and was even suggested a great pair by a fellow cosplayer from, only to find that they didn't come in my size.

Anyway, I found these great boots at on sale.  Cutting the buckles and other bits off was really easy.  I took pics of them after, but don't think you need to see that, lol.  After cutting off the unnecessary decorations, I used pure Acetone (bought in the paint dept at Walmart) and took off the layer of finish that's on the boots.  This took off a little bit of the color, but that didn't matter because I was changing the color anyway.  You should be careful with the Acetone, use it in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves to protect your hands.  It won't burn your skin, but will remove the color from carpet and clothing so be careful.  I would put a few cotton balls in a glass jar (Acetone can eat some plastics), and pour enough Acetone to wet the cotton balls without them being drippy.  Then I'd just wipe away.  When the cotton ball had too much gunk on it, I'd get another one. 


My BF found these amazing oversized zippers at OrgXIIIOrg.  They are fellow cosplayers who specialize in making huge zippers.  If you just search "large zippers" or any derivative of that, what you get are zippers that are extra long. Instead I now have zippers with HUGE teeth.  Look how huge that zipper pull is compared to my hand!

Yoko's zippers don't go all the way down, so it was decided that mine would only go 7 inches down my boots.  I measured the zippers to 9 inches to have enough zipper tape to attach and cut them from the bottom.  This ensured that I had the top zipper stop intact.As you can also see I cut the extra zipper tape from the top.  I then used Fray Check on the top and bottom edges.    I'm not sure how well you can see it, but for the extra 2 inches of zipper, I put gorilla glue in the teeth to ensure that they wouldn't split during wear.

The zipper teeth were 2cm wide, so from the outside of the boots I cut out an area that was 7 inches long, and slightly wider than 2 cm.  

I hand-sewed the zippers into the boots.  My right index finger and thumb were not happy about that.  The zippers are even still functional.

Here are the boots after 4 coats for paint.  I mentally divided the boot into sections, would paint a section and then use my blowdryer on low before painting the next section.  (Please ignore the disaster that was my living room at the time.  Lol, didn't notice the BF in the corner of the pic until later)

It took 9 coats of the white Angelus leather paint to completely cover the boots.  I could have stopped at 8, but did one more just for good measure.  My BF drew an outline of the flames on in pencil for me.  He used actual pics of Yoko's boots and made sure that the patterns faced opposite directions.  It took 3 coats of the red paint for that level of brightness and then I used one coat of the finisher.

 I forgot to take pics before I wore them so what you're seeing is them after a day of wear.  They held up really well; no chipping, no peeling, and no rubbing off.  I forgot to mention, the zipper pulls are just two layers of the craft foam, cut in a zipper pull shape and glued together.  They're attached to the zipper by small key rings.

Honestly at this point after seeing how well my boots held up to wearing them all day I would swear by Angelus paint and thin layers.  Even after 9 layers of that white paint and 3 layers of red, those boots are totally flexible.  They don't move like they were painted at all. 

So this is basically what I did.  I may have forgotten something, or not explained it well.  Feel free to ask questions and. . .

Happy Cosplaying!


  1. How many bottles of paint of each color did you use all together?

  2. I bought the pint-sized bottle of white because I didn't run out and it only took about half of that. I was slightly thinning the paint out by dipping the brush in water and then dipping it in the paint.

    For the red I had also bought a pint, because I'm always super worried of not having enough paint for every project I do, but I think the 4 oz. bottle would have been enough.


  4. How much were all the supplies together?

  5. Let's see... 1pt. of white Angelus $16, 4 oz. red Angelus $6, 4 oz. Angelus Acrylic Finisher $6, the two zippers $20, Acetone $6, Fray Check $5, Gorilla Glue $5, boots $28 so total $92. That does not include the shipping price for the paints, zippers and boots, so maybe add another $10.

    $100 is a lot of money, but honestly the ones I've see online that you can purchase don't look nearly as good. The only Yoko boots I've seen that looked truly authentic, after talking to the owner were either bought on commission and they paid twice as much as I did or the owner made them herself as meticulously as I did. Trust me the money and time was definitely worth it.

  6. Would you recommend sewing the zipper first like you did or painting and then sewing?

    1. Sorry for the super late reply. I didn't get an email saying that you'd written this :-( I would recommend sewing first, because I actually sewed mine by hand and the paint helped fill in and hide the small holes I had created. I feel like even if you managed to machine stitch the zipper on. The paint might gum up the needle. I wouldn't want to risk it.