How Can I tie it up? A Lesson in Shoe Tying

How Can I Tie it Up? A Lesson in Shoe Tying

Today on #ScribblePicnic Michael gave us this prompt: Tie it up. Since this is the first week back to school my thoughts went to all the tying up of shoes I did as a grade one teacher. And how thrilled I was when those kids could tie them up on their own.

My grandson is going into senior kindergarten and his goal this year is to in his own words, “tie up my shoes really fast”.

tie it up

Therefore my picture today – done very quickly in pencil, then watercolour crayon, is a child learning to tie his shoe.

tie it up


tie it up

As I drew this I realized how complicated the motion of tying up shoes can be. I couldn’t tell where those laces were. And look at how the hands have to twist and turn to make the loops.

When I taught school, velcro had just come into existence. Great I thought – this will make things much easier. Wrong. The kids were so thrilled with the velcro I had trouble keeping them from doing up and undoing their shoes in circle time. Zip. Zip. went the velcro. Enough to drive me crazy.

Tying laces in an art. All ice skaters want to be able to do this task. Although I saw skates the other day that had no laces.

I have seen children make two loops to do their shoes but I tie the old-fashioned way. What about you? BUT….

I learned something today. I have been tying my shoes the wrong way. Here is a TedTalk that shows me how I should be tying them. This makes them stronger and they won’t come apart. I always had ended up double knotting mine. I will try this today.

Here is a cute video about kindergarteners tying their shoes.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. I am always thrilled how there is something I can draw with the prompt.

tie it up



  1. Love the idea to brought to this week’s theme Janis. I’ve noticed lately how very brightly colored sneakers and such have become – I think a pair like your illustration would be fun!

  2. I, too, tied many shoelaces when teaching. When my first graders asked me to tie theirs, I always made them do the first part, then we progressed from there.

    That simple lesson about wrapping around the opposite direction should result in some much nicer looking bows. That must be what I did to fix it when I would tie a ribbon at the back of my daughters’ dresses and they didn’t lay right the first time.

    Nicely done with the drawing!

    1. Thanks so much. This picture has brought a lot of talking about tying shoes for sure. I won’t be so casual about it next time I tie my shoes.

  3. I’ve posted my colour version now btw and will be changing out the themes either tongiht or tomorrow, so stay tuned! 🙂

  4. I double tie mine the old fashioned way though! Didn’t even realise there was another way but at this point, don;t think I’ll switch! funny story about the velcro though and in fact makes me wonder why we have shoestring shoes at all anyway? Seems like that would have gone the way of the Dodo bird!

    Lovely take on the theme and great looking shoes adn angle there, Janis! Clever. thanks for the write up too. Very interesting indeed! 🙂

    1. Michael,
      Thanks. And I probably won’t change my tying either unless I get frustrated with untied laces. Just catching up and haven’t even thought of this week’s. And we leave tomorrow morning. YIKES.

  5. Great post and sketch, Janis…I enjoyed the videos too. Funny, I always tie decorative bows the way he demonstrated because it makes the bows sit neat and flat but I had no idea it was the stronger way. I have always double-knotted my shoelaces after I’ve done the ‘bow’ part for extra security. I tie shoelaces on auto-pilot and so fast now that I’m not even aware of which method I use. haha I do know it’s not the two bunny ears.

    My Mum has always done her bows/laces as follows – Right at the beginning when she does the crossover over and under …she does the cross over and under twice and then pulls tight. It actually does give a better hold and doesn’t fall undone as easily. I do this method when tying ribbons in a child’s hair. Works like a charm.

    Enjoy the rest of your week. 🙂

  6. SO fun to see the children happy with tying their shoes!
    Your drawing is wonderful and yes it must have been complicated to draw!
    Fun also to learn there is a way to tie shoes that might work better at staying tied.
    Thank you.

  7. You are so right, Janis. Shoelace ties are an art form. And funny how each kid, no matter how taught, ends up with his or her own version. Very nice drawing…I could see the action in the fingers as they tied the shoelace.

  8. I tie one loop and then the other so I can pull the knot loose just like that. but I don’t think there is a wrong way to tie shoeslaces as long as your laces don’t untangle.

    this piece is cute. I like the bright colors.

    have a lovely day.

  9. OH MY, Janis, you are the best. After all these years I now find out I am tying my shoes all wrong and like you I have had to double knot them to keep them from coming apart. Not only am I impressed with your great knowledge of this skill, I am super impressed with your ability to draw the hands (which to me is the hardest part of the body to draw) in the proper positions. This post and your art have put a smile on my face … now it’s up to me to keep it there all day 🙂

    Andrea @ From The Sol

    1. Andrea,
      Smiling a week later I hope. I tried tying my shoes that way and it certainly works but I don’t know if I can practice enough to get it as fast as I can tie now.
      Thanks for the compliment. I did a contour drawing course and that helped me see to draw hands.

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