Saturday, May 30, 2009

Christian Dior shoes for Silkstone Barbie

I've got the Shoes Gallery Calendar 2009 (Page a Day Gallery Calendar) and I noticed something interesting when I bought a Barbie outfit set a couple of weeks ago.

The picture for May 4th was a Christian Dior shoe from 2007:

And this is the pair from Mattel's Barbie outfit pack (it had three dresses for Barbie and a groom outfit for Ken):

The similarity is quite remarkable, although the Barbie shoes are much too small to include that twisted strip structure the Christian Dior shoe has.

For the Finnish post, see here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Silver leather ankle boots for Sybarite

I got the idea for these ankle boots from two pictures in the book A Century of Shoes: Icons of Style in the 20th Century. The pictures are these:

The good thing about this design is that it is a lot easier to make than normal ankle boot as the parts to be glued under the inner sole are almost straight.

I used a pair of soles I cast using casting resin. The color is a bit off in the picture as the soles are actually pale blue.

I drew a pattern first and marked the places for holes in it. Then I cut the pieces out of leather and marked the places for holes in them using the pattern.

The special tools needed are the pliers for making the holes and the tool for attaching the eyelets.

Here are the leather pieces with eyelets in place, but not hammered flat yet (if you want to see how to attach the eyelets, see the beginning of the video in the previous post). The eyelets are even paler blue than the soles. I would have preferred smaller eyelets in a slightly darker shade, but these were all I got.

Here are the inner soles before cutting the extra leather around the cardboard soles. As the outer soles are made of hard resin, the inner soles only consist of one piece of cardboard and one piece of leather. This is enough to keep the form during the assembly.

Here are the boots before gluing the outer soles in place.

And here are the finished boots.

For the Finnish post, see here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Making boots for a Pipos Baha Cat BJD, part II

Here is the second part of the video for making the Baha Cat boots.

The boots with the polymer clay outer soles glued in place.

With laces made of cotton yarn.

And last, but not least, Baha Cat in an outside photo shoot.

Earlier posts on the subject:
Mould making: Flat soles with Sculpey Mold Maker
Making a foot last for a doll with flat feet
Making boots for a Pipos Baha Cat BJD, part I

For the Finnish post, see here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Making boots for a Pipos Baha Cat BJD, part I

I decided to make the red leather boots first. They are not finished yet, so this is just the first part. The picture below shows what is finished so far.

The video below shows the progress so far. The rest will be in part II.

Earlier posts on the subject:
Mould making: Flat soles with Sculpey Mold Maker
Making a foot last for a doll with flat feet

For the Finnish post, see here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Making a foot last for a doll with flat feet

I have usually made plaster castings of dolls' feet for making shoes for them, but BJDs are a bit difficult in that respect. They have open joints in ankles, so it is very hard to make a latex mould of their feet. I have done it with Sybarite, but I decided to try something else with the Pipos Baha Cat.

I carved a foot last out of balsa wood. It will be used for boots, so it doesn't matter if it is not exactly the right size as long as it is bigger than the doll's foot. After carving and sanding, I painted the last with acrylic paint.

As you can see, it is roughly the size and shape of the doll's foot. The exact shape depends on what kind of toe part the shoes are to have. I decided to make it round as that fits best the overall shape of the foot.

Afterwards, I thought that as I am going to use this for boots, maybe it would be better to have the ankle in it as well. So, I glued another piece of balsa wood on top of the last and carved the ankle part.

I will use this for making boots using the soles I made earlier out of polymer clay.

For the Finnish post, see here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shoes that will fit Silkstone Barbies (and Fashion Royalty)

Here are some shoes that will fit Silkstone Barbies and some also fit the Hollywood Royalty Lana Turner doll, which has wider feet than Silkstone Barbies. The doll wearing the shoes in the pictures is a Spa Giftset Silkstone Barbie.

The first pair is from a set specifically for Silkstone Barbies. These slingbacks also fit Lana Turner as they are made of a bit softer plastic than the other pairs of the set.

This pair is from the same set, I think. I thought I'd never find anything for my Barbies to wear that would go with these, but the dress I made for Lana has orange, so these shoes go with it. Unfortunately, the shoes don't fit Lana that well, but at least the dress fits Silkstone Barbies.

This is a cheap pair of shoes made of fairly soft plastic. You can get these on a Silkstone Barbie only just and I expect them to break at some point when putting them on or taking them off.

This is another cheap pair I ordered at the same time as the ones in the picture above. Unfortunately, I don't remember anymore where I got these.

These are Fashion Fever Barbie shoes and soft enough to get onto Silkstone Barbie's feet.

This pair is from a fairly new set of Barbie shoes from Mattel. These also fit Lana.

This pair is from Bob Mackie's Cher Barbie.

These came with a cheap Barbie in a neon green dress.

These are from 1970's and I think they are original Mattel shoes, but I'm not sure. They originally had ankle straps, but I remember cutting them off, because they were too difficult to use. I've also got a similar pair in yellow.

These are also from 1970's. These fit basically any Barbie sized doll.

The last two pairs are ReMent shoes and both pairs fit Lana as well. (I got these from Miss Blythe store, which is in Portugal.)

For the Finnish post, see here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mould making: Casting the doll shoe soles

What I forgot to mention in the last post is that I don't recommend the silicone I used for making these moulds. The red stuff I used earlier (see my home page) was much easier to work with and that was the first time I was making this kind of moulds. I think that silicone was manufactured by hobbytime, but I'm not quite sure.

I am sure that I will try to find better silicone for the next time, if there is going to be a next time. Rai-Ro web shop sells two component silicone, which sounds promising. That one is mixed 1:1 and that should make things a lot easier.

Let's move on to the main subject of this post, casting the soles. The picture below shows the casting resin I'm using. Those bottles had these childproof caps that you need to press and turn. Bad idea. The bottles were made of very soft plastic and it was impossible to get the caps open. I ended up cutting the bottles open and pouring the contents into two small airtight containers.

Before starting, I made two openings in the moulds, one to pour the resin in, another one to let the air out. After several unsuccessful attempts, I realized that for some reason, air wasn't getting out as planned. That's when I made the third opening at the bottom of the heel and cast the first complete sole. So, you need three openings as shown in the picture below.

Treat the forms with the form separating agent and let it dry before closing them for casting. I used small clamps to keep the halves of the mould together. Sturdy pieces of cardboard on both sides of the mould distribute the pressure evenly. The clamps should not be tightened too much, just enough to keep the mould halves together. If you tighten the clamps too much, the mould may get distorted.

Pour in a little resin through the opening in the toe part, turn the mould carefully back and forth to spread the resin and let the air bubbles out (tap the mould lightly to loosen any air bubbles), pour in more resin, turn again, and continue until the mould is full. You can see it is full, when the surface of the resin rises to the middle opening, which is in the highest part of the mould.

You probably won't have much time for all this as the resin starts hardening fairly quickly (check the instructions of the resin you're using). Mix small batches of resin and work with one or two moulds at a time.

Measuring the correct amount of resin is difficult with something this small. We're talking about milliliters here and there is always going to be a little extra mixture, no matter how carefully you measure. This is where a mould for a wedge sole becomes handy.

I made a mould for a wedge sole, because you can leave a large opening in a mould like that. When you have filled the mould you're working with and there's a bit of resin mixture left, instead of just letting it harden in the mixing bowl, pour it in the wedge sole mould. It may not fill the mould entirely, but as you cast several soles and pour the extra in the wedge sole mould, you're going to end up with a wedge sole eventually. The structure of the mould makes it easy to fill the mould a little bit at a time instead of filling it all at once. And even if the resin is already starting to get a bit thicker, it can still be poured into an open mould like this.

Here is a little video clip showing some of what I have explained above.

You should remove the cast sole from the mould as soon as it is solid. At this stage, it is still soft and it will be easy to cut off all extra resin. Remove the sole from the mould, cut off the protruding pieces where the openings were, wash the sole (to remove any remaining form separating agent), and cut off any extra resin, for example, in the seams. Then check that the shape of the sole is correct, for example, that the heel is straight, and let the piece harden as long as is needed to achieve final hardness.

The instructions of the casting resin said that it can't be stored very long after the bottles have been opened, so I decided to use it all at once. The picture below shows the cast soles that are good enough to use for shoes. Some of them have holes left by air bubbles, but those can be filled in and covered. Mostly these are for Sybarite's shoes. Most of the small soles are for Silkstone Barbie and Fashion Royalty shoes, but the ones on front left are for Tonner's Tiny Kitty Collier. The individual heels and toe parts on the right are for Tonner's American Model. The transparent yellow soles are made of E-Z Water plastic using the wedge sole moulds.

Earlier posts on the subject:
Mould Making: Making a master
Mould making: Silicone
Mould making: Problems with silicone

For the Finnish post, see here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mould making: Problems with silicone

The first half of the mould did not harden as expected. I put a little too much hardener in the silicone and didn't have time to mix it properly, so some parts of that piece remain sticky even after a couple of days.

The surface is supposed to be firm and definitely not sticky like in the picture below (that's a closeup of my finger and the surface of the silicone that did not harden).

The problem with that batch was that it was so small, only 50 g. It is easier to measure the hardener for a larger amount of silicone, so I used 100 g for the next try and made several mould halves at once. This time everything went as it should.

I also decided to make one mould for a wedge sole. This one will have a very large opening and the reason for that will come out later as I explain the casting process.

The pink dots you can see on the surface of the silicone in the picture of the three mould halves are drops of the form separating agent. I don't know why it did not spread more evenly like it did when I used it for the models. Anyway, that was the next problem.

I managed to get the right amount of hardener in the next batch of silicone for the other halves of the moulds, so that went fine. When the silicone had hardened and it was time to separate the mould halves, things didn't go as expected. The halves were stuck together. I had to use a hobby knife to cut the moulds open. Fortunately, that worked fine and now I have moulds for the soles.

I have already cast a couple of soles with the moulds, but I will go into that in the next post as there are still things that need to be figured out.

For the Finnish post, see here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mould making: Silicone

The master from the previous posting is not finished yet, but I made another one from polymer clay and wood. I wanted to see how it would work and it turned out fine. I didn't paint this one, but varnished it with water-based varnish (solvent-based varnishes do not work on polymer clay).

After varnishing, the master needs to be treated with form separating agent, which is basically liquid wax. It will help to get the master out of the mould at the end of the process.

For the mould, I'm using Silcolan NV mould silicone. It is white and fairly thick, but it should settle well even around small objects with many details, so it should be fine. The biggest problem is the amount of hardener. Add too much and the silicone will start to harden before you're finished pouring it, add too little and the mould won't harden (or it will take very long).

After the master was treated with form separating agent and silicone and hardener mixed, it was time to press the master into the silicone. Now I just need to wait for the silicone to harden.

The next stage will be applying form separating agent over the entire surface, letting it dry and then pouring in the silicone for the other half of the mould. The form separating agent will keep the two halves separate.

Finnish post is here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mould Making: Making a master

I started the process for making moulds for Sybarite's shoe soles. The first step is to create a master, that is, a model of the sole. I've made a couple of these and this post shows the making of a stiletto heel.

I am making a universal master, a sole that is the same for left and right foot, because this is difficult enough without having to try to make two pieces that are mirror images of each other.

First I carved the heel out of fairly hard wood. I often use balsa wood for making a master, but it was too fragile for this purpose.

Then I made the sole out of several layers of cardboard. The colors do not matter when making a master, only the shape.

Next, I glued the heel in place. I used PVA glue as always and this time there was a good reason to do so, as you will soon see.

I shaped the upper part of the heel using polymer clay. This is why PVA glue is a good idea. As the master consists only of wood, carboard, PVA glue and polymer clay, you can bake it in the oven. I'm not sure what would happen with other kinds of glue, but PVA can take 130 degrees Celsius easily. On the background, you can see a couple of other masters for Sybarite's shoe soles.

Here is the master with a plaster casting of Sybarite's foot. I must say I'm fairly pleased with the result so far. Of course the master still needs painting and light sanding before it is ready. The surface needs to be perfect, or as close to it as possible, because each sole cast with the mould will be an exact copy of the master.

It will take some time before I get to the actual mould making, because I need to make several masters for various dolls before that. Making the moulds is time consuming and a bit messy, so I prefer to do several moulds in a batch.

Currently, I have a couple of masters for Silkstone Barbie and several for Pullip, although they also need painting and sanding. I decided to try these, because all other ways of making soles for Barbie or Pullip shoes are more difficult.

Finnish post is here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mould making: Flat soles with Sculpey Mold Maker

I am going to make some moulds for doll shoe soles. There is some info on my home page, but I'll go into more detail here. Also, I know a lot more now than I did when I wrote those instructions.

I'll start with flat soles for Baha Cat's boots. The boots will be similar to the ones I have made earlier with cork soles for a lot bigger doll.

First I drew a pattern for the foot. Then I cut one piece of foam core and several layers of cardboard using the pattern.

I glued the cardboard pieces together, cut a heel out of that piece and glued it in place to the foamcore sole.

Then I drew a pattern for the sole in the rest of the multilayer piece, cut out the pieces and glued them to the foam core sole.

When the glue was dry, I painted the sole. I used gloss acrylic paint and applied several coats.

Now I had the model ready and it was time to make a mould. I used Sculpey Mold Maker, because that is what was available. There may be other clays similar to it.

See the instructions in the package for making the mould. I noticed that it is easier to make the mould, if you cool the clay in the fridge for some time (after shaping it to suitable size) before pressing the object into it.

Bake the clay in the oven according to the instructions in the package. When the mould is cool, mist it with water and press a piece of polymer clay into it. As you may guess from the amount of water, I didn't actually mist the mould, I just put it under the tap and then shook off the extra water. It works fine that way.

After making the desired amount of pieces, bake them in the oven. I used red clay to get better pictures. The actual soles are going to be black or brown, but I do have some red leather, so maybe the Baha Cat is going to get red boots as well.

This mould was easy to make. I'm also planning on making moulds for casting plastic soles for Sybarite's shoes, but more about that later.

Finnish post is here.