Do It Yourself Spiked Aerator Sandals

If you don't know already, thatch buildup in your lawn can lead to a host of problems. Aerators help get rid of it as well as facilitate getting needed oxygen, water, and nutrients to your lawn.

For about $70 a day, you can rent an aerator from your local home improvement store (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.) or for a lot less money, you can do the job with a pair of spike sandals, also available at many lawn-care retailers. Or, you can build your own spiked aerator sandals that will probably fit better, last longer, and be the least-expensive route of all.

Making the Foot Templates

Build your own spike aerator sandals by first purchasing a 2'x2' square of heavy-duty, 1/4 to 1/2" thick Plexiglas. This will be larger than you really need, but in case you make a mistake, you'll have some extra to try again with. While wearing the shoes with which you'll be doing your lawn work, place your feet on the Plexiglas and use a marker to trace around each one. Try to go outside the perimeter of your feet about ½" to leave room to insert slots for straps.

Using a jigsaw, cut out your traced templates for both feet. Frequently spray the blade with an aerosol cooking spray, such as Pam, to keep the Plexiglas from melting from the heat of the jigsaw.

Liquid dish soap also works well as a good lubricant and coolant for cutting Plexiglas, as well. After you've cut out the feet templates, cut out ½" spaces for straps to be inserted to hold the sandals to your shoes. On either side of each foot template, you'll need to cut a set of openings at the top, the middle, and at the bottom.

Adding Hardware and Velcro

Putting on the spikes is the next step as you build your own spiked aerator sandals. For this, you'll need to purchase enough 1 ½" galvanized screws to cover the bottoms of your sandals at one-inch intervals. The amount of screws you buy will depend, of course, on the size of the sandals.

You'll also need the same amount of washers and nuts. Drill one-inch-spaced holes in the Plexiglas using a special acrylic drill bit. You'll also need to use the cooking spray or the dish soap to help keep the heat down during this step, too.

Purchase enough Velcro 'tape' to make three, 18" strips. This can be found in different-sized rolls, so it may behoove you to go ahead and buy an entire roll. Velcro is one of those things that seem to always be handy around the house for a myriad of uses. Insert the strips through the slots you've made in the sandals with the jigsaw.

The last step to build your own spiked aerator sandals is easy:

Simply insert the screws (from the top, where your shoes will meet the sandals), slip on the washers and the nuts, and tighten. The Velcro strips go over your shoes, and you can adjust them to fit as necessary. If you need longer strips, simply cut the Velcro to the suitable length.

You can also build your own spiked aerator that's a lot more heavy duty than this with a barrel, some spikes, and wheels. But to do this, you'll need to own a welding torch (or rent one), know how to use it, and be willing to invest quite a bit more time.