Embroidered Ribbon Switch Flops: They Are Interchangable!

I’m from South Florida, where the weather is warm, the beach is fine and I can wear flip-flops all the time. But how many pairs of flip-flops does a girl really need? My answer is in the title of a James Bond flick, The World Is Not Enough.

Flip-flops have been said to be the glass slippers of the South, so why not embellish your own using machine embroidery and some cool craft products.

Two Pairs of Flip Flops with Colored Flowers

Once a year, I host an intimate embroidery and embellishing conference in Sarasota, Fla., and the photo below is from one of our fun workshops.

View of Women's Feet Wearing Flip Flops

Needless to say, the girls loved this project so I thought I’d share the tutorial with you.

Some notes on the materials:

  • Old Navy is a great source for flip-flops year round. You’ll need a pair where the straps are pushed through a hole in the sole. They should look like this:

Close Up Shot of Blue Flip Flop

  • The width of the ribbon is very important and I have found that narrow ribbon works much better than wider. It’s much easier to work with 3/8” ribbon than 5/8”, and it lays flatter on the strap, resulting in a more professional finish.
  • There are so many types of printed ribbon on the market, it’s hard to choose. I recommend using a saddle-stitch ribbon, which is very easy to align when twisting and turning.
  • There’s a new craft product on the market called Pfoomph for Fabric, which is a double-sided craft foam with a release paper on each side. This is a no-sew product that works with paper, fabric, soda cans, thin metal, ribbon or just about anything you can cut with scissors. For this project, we will add fabric to both sides and then die-cut flowers that won’t sag, wrinkle or fray. Pfoomph for Fabric is perfect for use on the flip-flop flowers.

Materials needed:

Note: I found the best way to wrap the ribbon is to start from the center toe area and work back toward the end of the strap. When you get to the ends of one strap, start back in the middle and work your way back on the other strap. This way, the ribbon will be nice and neat on both sides.

Black Flip Flops with Materials for Project


Step 1:

Find center of ribbon and glue the wrong side of the center ribbon to the top middle of the flop near the toe divider. Let glue cool.

Step 2:

Wrap ribbon from the center down one strap by going under the strap as it comes off the center for the first wrap. As you come back up on top, add a dab of glue and continue wrapping around, gluing the top only.

Note: When wrapping straps with ribbon, use very little glue and never place the glue on the underside of the strap, as this will be uncomfortable when you wear your shoes.

Collage of Flip Flops Being Decorated by Two Hands

Step 3:

To end the ribbon strap, add a dab of glue on the outside near the end and let the glue cool. Cut the ribbon leaving 1” tail and shove it down into the hole, making sure it is not twisted or wrinkled. Lift the strap up and add a tiny bit of glue on the outside so the ribbon won’t come out of the hole when in use.

Step 4:

For the other strap, start back in the middle toe area and wrap the ribbon from the center by going under the other strap, and use the same technique as described above to finish.

Woman's Hands Wrapping Flip Flop with Ribbon

Step 5:

For the embellishments, embroider two 1” or 1.5” buttons and make into a ponytail button using a small ponytail elastic with no metal parts.

Colorful Graphic Reading "Frames & Borders Button-Ups"
Step 6:

Remove the release paper from the Phoomph and stick wool, fabric or grosgrain ribbon to each side.

Step 7:

Lay square over a flower die and sandwich between two acrylic cutting mats. Roll the die through the Sizzix Big Shot to cut a perfect flower.

Step 8:

Mark a hole in the center using chalk or a water-soluble marker and punch a large center hole using a Crop-A-Dile.

Machine Punching Hole in Bright Pink Foam Flower

Step 9:

Place the ponytail shank through the hole on the flower.

Step 10:

To attach the embellishment to the flip-flop, wrap the ponytail elastic around the center of the flip-flop, looping it back over the flower.

Black and Pink Decorated Flowers Side-by-Side

Don’t own a Big Shot, no worries, any manual die-cutting machine will work. I also own AccuQuilt GO! and AccuQuilt Studio machines,  but choose to use the Big Shot because they have a huge variety of small flower dies, since they are primarily used by scrapbookers instead of sewists. A word of caution though: Do not try to cut Pfoomph with an electronic die-cutting machine.

Come back to the Bluprint Blog on Wednesday for more fun with machine embroidery! We’ll be sharing a fun tutorial on how to make bunting flags!

You can make different embellishments to switch your flops to coordinate with every outfit! Will you try this fun and easy project?

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