Have you been dancing for years? If you’re anything like us, your experience has resulted in a stash of old, worn, or outgrown dance equipment that you just don’t have the heart to get rid of! Some of the clothing can be passed on as hand me downs, but that’s always a little bit harder with shoes. Some dancers also like to keep their worn out dance shoes or favorite leotards for sentimental value! What do you do with them after years of building a collection, though?
Check out these 15 awesome ways to upcycle your old dance gear into awesome DIY decor and keepsake projects!
1. Pointe shoe shadow box
If it’s finally time to hang up a pair of pointe shoes that mean very much to you, like the first ones you began learning on or the last pair you wore before you finished a production that was important to your career, consider displaying them in a shadow box! This lets you hang them on the wall in a more decorative way than just dangling them from their ribbons on a nail. We love the idea of using sheet music as the background! Choose a piece of music you love to dance to, just like this user on Pinterest did.
2. Ballet slipper photo mobile
This gorgeous hanging photo idea is a great way to transform years worth of ballet slippers into nostalgic wall decor. Pin the slippers up in order of size to show how you’ve grown and hand a string with a printed picture at the end from the toe of each. Check out how it’s done on Indulgy.
3. Pointe shoe Easter basket
Do you have many pairs of old pointe shoes, or perhaps a few friends who all have old ones too? Try using fabric paint or fabric markers to decorate them just like you would the outisde of an Easter egg, then collecting them together in a basket! They’ll make the perfect seasonal decor in the lobby of your dance studio.
4. Rhinestoned pointe shoe
Montana Rose Painter reminds you how beautiful pointe shoes can look as decor simply displayed on their own… especially if you dye them, cover them in rhinestones, and tie them with a nice, big ribbon!
5. Decorated pointe shoe centre piece
DesignsEnPointe designs these absolutely beautiful art pieces made from old point shoes, faux flowers, and other embellishments. You could try your hand at making something similar, using these same techniques, decoupage, fabric paint, and other such customization techniques.
6. Dance leotard tote
Chica and Joe show you the steps for transforming a child’s dance leotard into an absolutely adorable little tote bag. This is the perfect thing for little dancers to keep their little dance shoes in! The idea would work for an adult leotard too, but it’s especially cute with the kinds of colours and embellishments kids’ leotards are more often available in.
7. Ruffled tank top from old dance tights
Do you have a large collection of tights that are fast becoming too torn or too full of runs to wear to class? Design Diary walks you through the process of recycling your old dance tights into adorable ruffles along the top of a tank top!
8. Fairy wings from old tights
As Design Diary will tell you, tights are probably the number one thing you’ll have in excess when it comes to leftover dance gear that doesn’t get used anymore. Just because you’re not using it in the studio, however, doesn’t mean it’s completely useless! Check out this tutorial on how to make adorable fairy wings from old tights.
9. Ankle socks from old tights
Have you found yourself with a surplus of old dance tights but barely any socks? Design Diary has a solution for that! Check out their step by step guide to transforming one into the other.
10. Tights rosette necklace
We love the idea of creating little flowers with tights because it’s a versatile skill. You can transform those flowers into any number of things! This rosette necklace by Tights rosette necklace is a particularly adorable way to use them.
11. Tights to bow headband
This tights transformation, once again from the upcycling goldmine that is Design Diary, is simple and sweet. It uses the waistband and a section of a leg to create a stretchy hairband that you could even wear right back into the studio.
12. Tights to applique flowers
Here comes Keep It Simple, Sister to save the day once more! These little flowers are a little different in appearance and technique than the flatter rosettes we listed earlier, but they’re still made of old dance tights! We love how they look on this otherwise simple jacket.
13. “Framed” point shoes
An actual pair of pointe shoes, especially ones that have been used and bent, aren’t exactly the easiest thing to frame. We love this alternative “framing” idea from Pinterest that removes the glass and just leaves the shoes hanging on the wall with the decorative frame surrounding them. They’ll look like a beautiful 3D picture or painting!
14. Ballet slippers in a pretty jar
We think this beautifully decorative idea from The Feathered Nest is a breath taking way to display your daughter’s first pair of little ballet slippers, or perhaps even your own! Cover the bottom of the jar with silk flower petals and decorate the lid with ribbons or lace before position the shoes and close them up!
Have you found other ways to repurpose your old dance gear? Tell us about how you did it in the comments section!