Blog by guest blogger Amber Mitchell @ambershauntel

Hey y’all, my name is Amber! I am a designer based in Denver who loves unique one-of-a-kind clothing. As a designer who loves to upcycle, every time I walk into a thrift store I feel as though I am a painter walking into an art store. However, instead of looking for paints, brushes, and canvas to express my creativity, I am looking for clothes, shoes, and accessories! It is always a journey and I never know what I am going to find and or get inspired by, yet I always leave with something and am always filled with inspiration. I love taking used items and creating them into something new and unique to fit my style, something that I know that if I want it, I can only make it myself!

My most recent trip to arc Thrift Stores was a win, as always! I decided that I wanted to customize a pair of heels so I headed to the footwear section where I found these amazing platform heels for only $8.99!

Of course I am not just going to look in one section and leave! I have to skim through the store to see if I happen to come across some more amazing finds, and lo and behold I find this amazing leather purse with gold hardware for only $6.99, and at that moment I decided I am going to make a matching set!

Now that I have my canvases to work with, the fun part begins: designing! I decided that I wanted to embellish both the shoes and purse with gold adornments to match the metalware on the purse. I wanted the adornments to be galaxy themed, so off I went to my local craft stores looking for gold metal galaxy charms that have a flat back to ensure that I can secure them to my items, and that they are of varying sizes. What I was looking for was very specific, so as you can imagine I had no luck finding anything in store so I turned to the internet. On Amazon, I was able to find these tiny galaxy themed metal charms that matched perfectly! The only issue is that they were all the same size and I wanted variety and dimension, so I needed larger pieces. I found nothing.Then in a flash of creativity, I remembered that I would sometimes use these gold spiral hair accessories to put in my hair after getting it braided, and that they may be perfect for what I am trying to achieve. They were!

Anyone who knows me knows I love a shoulder strap! So I knew I had to add one to this purse as well. I wanted the shoulder strap to match the galaxy themed design I was going for, so I searched online for star or sun gold chain shoulder straps and found nothing. I then remembered seeing many star and sun themed chain belts and I wondered if I can use a belt for the shoulder strap instead. I ordered a belt for $7.99 from Amazon and hoped it would work, and it did!

Now that I had all my embellishments, I only needed two tools to execute my vision. The first tool I needed was Black E6000 glue. This glue has a super strong permanent hold so I knew it would be the perfect glue to use since I was gluing on heavier adornments. I made sure to get the black glue as well to ensure it stays camouflaged as much as possible. The second item I needed was long-nosed pliers, which I need to open the metal clasps on the belt.

The final step to this upcycle design was to attach all the embellishments! I mapped out where I wanted to place each charm prior to gluing it to make sure I like the placement. Using E6000 can be a little messy so I also used q-tips to make sure I was not getting glue all over the shoes and purse. E6000 takes up to 72 hours to completely cure, so when using it, plan for the cure time. Lastly, to attach the belt I just took the pliers to remove the sun charm from the end of the belt so that it will fit through the shoulder strap holes. Once I strung the belt through the holes, I reattached the sun charm and connected both ends of the belt creating a shoulder strap, then instantly fell in love!

So I challenge you to create your own super unique upcycle! Remember, I used a belt and hair accessories to complete this matching set, so be as creative as you want and tag me on IG @ambershauntel so I can see those upcycles!