Baby Shoe Bronzing
Baby shoe bronzing is a baby keepsake with a 71 year history. The post war baby boom of the sixties popularized the bronzing of baby shoes bringing them into the home of many families. There are few people that don't know about or haven't seen a pair of bronzed baby shoes—their popularity has extended far and wide.
Baby shoe bronzing involves an electroplating process in which baby shoes are cleaned, encased in a layer of pure copper, bronze, silver, gold, or pewter, and covered with a protective lacquer coating to protect the finish. The shoes are first sealed and stiffened. While they are wet, the laces are tied and they are shaped to give them the appearance of being worn. Once the shoes are fully covered to make the conductive to electroplating, they are placed on plating racks.
The shoes are then placed into copper electroplating tanks for three to four hours until a heavy copper coating completely encases each shoe. Once removed from the plating racks, the shoes are buffed to remove any rough edges and polished. If the antique bronzing finish was chosen, a thin layer of oxidizing is applied. The shoes are then polished to remove the oxidizing layer, leaving the recessed areas darker, and then sprayed with a clear lacquer coating to protect them from tarnishing.
If you are not fond of metals, you can have your baby shoes porcelainized to a finish similar to fine china. The most common type of bronzing uses an antique bronze or bright bronze finish.
You have many styles to choose from when bronzing baby shoes. Your shoes can be mounted on an all-metal stand with picture frame, a mixed metal and wood stand with picture frame, metal bookends, wood stand without picture frame, or unmounted. Engraved nameplates can be added to mounted baby shoes noting your baby's name and birth date. Unmounted shoes are finished in your choice of metal and felt protectors are added to the soles of the shoes to safeguard your furniture. Your baby's name and birth date can be engraved onto the toes of the shoes if desired. Some bronzing companies will even mount your shoes on marble.
Almost any type of baby shoe or sneaker can be bronzed. Baby shoes made of satin, soft cloth, lace, or knitted booties cannot be bronzed because they do not hold their shape during the bronzing process. Laces must be tied on all shoes to prevent them from falling off during the bronzing process.
Bronzing takes 6-8 weeks. If you want your baby shoes bronzed for a specific date, make sure you order well in advance, taking shipping time into consideration.
Caring for bronzed baby shoes is quite easy. Just wipe them clean with a soft dry cloth. Never use polish or cleaners. Metal polish and cleaners will dissolve the protective lacquer coating that preserves the finish of the metal.