Skip to Content
Free Ground Shipping in the Contiguous U.S. on Orders $65+
Cart (0)

Etched Slippers

Merche Mariposa combines two classic art forms to embellish her Minnetonka shoes with stunning results. Growing up doodling, her drawing evolved into ornate henna-inspired designs. Wanting to take her art even further, she discovered she could recreate her sketches on shoes using pyrography for an etched effect. Since then, she has been lighting up her wood-burning tool to decorate unique slippers, boots, and moccasins. We love her creative DIY approach and got to know more about her artistic process. You can see more of Mariposa’s gorgeous designs on her Instagram page, or buy a pair at her Etsy shop.

Q&A With Merche Mariposa

Tell us about your background and how you begin etching designs onto shoes?

I began drawing henna a few years ago, and wanted to find a unique way to branch out from my henna artistry. I experimented with many different methods in trying to get my henna designs on shoes from using henna to stain the leather, fabric paint and even contemplated just drawing on them with permanent marker.

Then while at a craft store, I saw a tool for wood burning and an idea sparked! So I ended up burning my designs into some shoes and it worked perfectly.

Describe your creative process. Where do you find inspiration?  

All of the designs that I etch into the moccasins are my own, original, henna designs.  I draw inspiration from the world around me. I like looking at architecture, embroidery and decor for ideas and many designs are inspired by my mother's garden. I also have a few designs that have been influenced by the personalities of my family and friends.

What's your favorite part of starting a new project?

My favorite part about starting a new project is looking at a blank pair of shoes and knowing that it has the potential to be adorned with any style of design, and that I have the honor of doing so.

And then once I start designing and etching the shoe it delights me to see how the design progresses and turns into a work of art. I don't always plan the designs, I usually start with a small motif and go with the flow and etch wherever the design takes itself.

What's been your favorite style that you've ever created?

I currently have two favorite styles that I call the Melissa and the Marguerite. The Melissa is named after a close friend and is sweet, elegant and spirited, just like her. It is also the design featured on the Cally style moccasin pictured. The Marguerite is named after my sister and is an alluring and dramatic pattern, which reflects my sister's passionate personality.

For more of Mariposa’s designs visit her Etsy shop and find her on Instagram.

Tips for Pyrography on Suede Leather

Feeling inspired? If you are thinking about creating your own DIY looks with a wood-burning tool, here are a few tips.

  • You can pick up a wood burning tool or kit at the craft store. The tool gets hot, so use with caution and follow the provided instructions.
  • Use the tool in a well-ventilated area and/or have a fan on hand.
  • Pick up a thrift store item to practice on.
  • Pictured above is the Cally slipper, but you can also try on a moc like the Kilty.  
  • Use a chalk wheel or white eyeliner pencil to trace your design first.
  • Burned images will appear more vividly on lighter colors.

Tags: DIY, custom, sweepstakes, style, made by hand, Cally