Hello, I’m Polly from Haus Of Bling, and welcome to my inaugural Crystal Parade ‘how-to’ blog!

I am a burlesque cabaret artist turned professional embellisher. With nearly twenty years of experience in embellishing many of my own costumes, transitioning into this role felt like a natural progression, especially now that I have a family and have chosen a relatively “quieter” life!

My motto is “more is more.” Subtlety isn’t my style when it comes to bedazzling, a lesson I learned from the world-renowned creative director William Baker, known for his work with Kylie Minogue. He directed my West End show, ‘The Hurly Burly Show,’ and I had never seen so many rhinestones in my life! Previously, I had only used a few rhinestones here and there, but this was like someone had poured a dump truck full of rhinestones over the stage. One of our costume designers was Vicky Gill, the Wardrobe Director for Strictly Come Dancing. The stoning style we had was very ‘Latin dance costume,’ but applying this style to corsetry, contemporary costumes, and underwear was relatively unique to me, and it was AMAZING!!!

My current style is largely inspired by those experiences. I don’t just want to make things sparkle; I aim to create a jaw-dropping transformation with the garments I am given (or that I purchase) to embellish.

I am thrilled to be collaborating with Crystal Parade. Their Zodiac crystals are truly stunning and make my work look incredible.

Over the coming months, I will be blogging some “how-to’s,” sharing hints and tips on all things blinging. We start with a simple pair of shoes…..

Project: Paint and fully embellish faux leather strappy shoes to create a ‘Showgirl Dream Shoe’.

Painting Shoes

These shoes started off in a nude colour.

The aim was to paint them silver to provide a complementary base for the crystals. The tools I prepared were:

  • Soft sanding sponge
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton pads
  • Angelus Leather paint in Pewter
  • Angelus Acrylic finisher
  • Paint brush
  • Masking tape to protect soles

I began by gently buffing the outside of the shoe with a sanding sponge (I like to use the ones designed for acrylic nails as they are soft and small) to remove any shine, allowing the paint to adhere more effectively.

Next, I wiped over the entire shoe with the alcohol to remove any residue and dirt.

 I covered the sole with masking tape and then painted the first coat. To achieve the desired colour, I needed three coats, with about an hour between each coat. I left the shoes to dry overnight.

The following day, I applied one coat of the Angelus acrylic finisher and let it dry for 2-3 hours.

Time for Sparkles!

For the next step, I prepared the following tools:

  • Zodiac Flatback rhinestones in Clear/AB and Mine Silver in multiple sizes
  • Zodiac sew-on stones in Clear and Mine Silver in multiple sizes
  • E6000 plus glue
  • Syringe
  • Small paintbrush
  • Orange sticks
  • Baby wipes

Sparkle Step 1: Edges.

I apply a very thin line of E6000 plus glue to each edge of the shoe, then use a small paintbrush to ensure the glue is right into the edges and that the line isn’t too ‘gloopy.’ E6000 plus takes a while to dry, which has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it means you can move the stones around for perfect placement; on the downside, the stones can move if they are left at the wrong angle. I always wait a few minutes to let the glue start to set slightly before I begin placing the crystals. Using all size SS16 in a combo of clear and mine silver, I go around the shoe section by section.

Sparkle Step 2: Sew-ons

Zodiac Sew-on crystals add substance and depth to any crystal design, along with that extra wow factor. I always place these crystals before I start the fill-ins for accuracy and symmetry.

E6000 plus  works well for these too, but I use an orange stick to coat the back of the sew on stones and leave them upside down for a few minutes to set before placing them to prevent them from slipping.

For extra large stones, I lightly sand the back of the stone first for better adhesion.

Sparkle Step 3: Fill-ins

To fill in the rest of the shoe, I always start at the bottom and work my way up in lines, following the border edge I have created. Because I use different sizes, the line doesn’t stay consistent, but that’s what I aim for. I tend to use a mix of SS30, SS20, and SS16, alternating the colours as I go. I aim for a very ‘compact’ finish with the Showgirl shoes, so I use tiny SS10 and sometimes even smaller stones to fill any gaps.

Sparkle Step 4: Final Checks

Once the glue has completely cured I always give the shoe a good squeeze and squidge around to ensure there are no loose crystals and make sure all gaps are filled and everything looks tip-top.


And that’s it—one absolutely STUNNING pair of Showgirl Dream Shoes ready to hit the stage, a red carpet, the first dance at your wedding, or simply to strut around the house 😜

Thank you for reading x

Follow me: @hausofblinguk Contact me: Hausofblinguk@gmail.com

*It is normal for a few stones to pop off through wear and tear. I always provide a little bag of spare crystals for when this happens.

NB: I follow the same process for the shoe straps but avoid the ends as they wouldn’t fit through the buckle.