Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book about doll shoe making techniques

I have been planning on collecting together and organizing information on tools, materials and techniques for making doll shoes. Much of the information is already in this blog, but it is here and there and may not be easy to find. That is why I'm planning on writing a book about the subject.

To keep the costs down, I am planning on making it an ebook, specifically a Kindle book available through Amazon. This way, I do not need to limit the number of pages and can be as elaborate as I think is necessary.

Considering my track record of unfinished projects, I cannot make any promises about if and when the book will be ready, but I have started planning the structure of the book and what information to include. This is where you, the readers of my blog, enter the picture. If there is a specific subject you would like to see included or any other requests, leave a comment to this blog post or tweet it to @kenkafriikki.

The preliminary plan for the structure is to have four main parts: Tools, Materials, Techniques for different parts of shoes, and example projects showing how to make shoes from start to finish (also different scales and different skill levels from very easy to ones using advanced techniques). This may change once I start writing the book and see how the structure works.

Update: I checked the sales of my previous book and as it seems not to be selling anymore, I lowered the price. You can find it here. It is not exactly cheap even at the new price, but an even lower price would mean all profits going to Blurb. Actually, the printing cost is the main reason of choosing the ebook format for the next book.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wedges for Sybarite

I realized I haven't used many of the cast resin soles I made for Sybarite a few years ago. I found interesting plastic material I wanted to use, so I decided to use a pair of cast resin wedge soles with that. I started by painting the soles black using enamel paint (solvent-based). The extra sole in front is there to show how the soles look straight out of the mould.

The plastic for the uppers looks like this. It was rectangular originally, but I had already cut the required pieces out at this point. These were available in various colors at 2 € per 10 x 12 cm piece. I got this and another piece in silver.

Here are the pieces for the shoes before trimming the edges.

And a closeup showing the structure of the material better.

Plus another closeup showing the back.

The insole is just one layer of card stock and a piece of leather. There was no reason to use more layers of card stock as the arch in the soles is exactly the same as in Sybarite's foot, so the foot provided the desired form during assembly. After trimming the edges of the plastic pieces, I attached them using sewing thread.

Here are the straps with sewing thread attached.

And here they are in place. As you can see, they stay straight at this stage because of the way the sewing threads are attached, but gluing the ends to the sides of the soles will correct that.

The ankle part is closed with a strap made of leather.

I attached a small piece of bent wire at the end of the strap and that goes through a hole on the opposite side as shown in the photo. It is the same method I used for Monster High shoes with cork soles and it works surprisingly well despite being so simple. You just need to apply a lot of glue on the inside of the strap where the end of the wire is to make sure the wire will stay in place and won't scratch the doll's foot.

All that is missing now are the wedge soles.

The strap looked a bit out of place as it was, so I decided to glue some leftover pieces to it.

Then it was time to glue the wedge soles in place and the ends of the toe straps to the sides of the soles, so the straps would keep their correct form.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tiny Kitty's shoes

These shoes had been at this stage for a long time. In fact, so long that I didn't manage to find any of the earlier photos, even though I must have taken some. It doesn't really matter, because the stages up to this point are described in earlier posts about other shoes. I used a pair of wedge soles made by casting plaster in latex moulds. I glued some silver-colored fabric on the sides of the soles, glued pieces of leather as outer soles, and made the insoles using cardstock and the same fabric I used for the sides.

Next I glued the insoles in place as the straps were so thick that they had to be glued to the sides, not under the insoles (that works in bigger shoes, but not in 1/6 scale). The straps are made of card-woven bands left over from some earlier project. I glued one side first and let it dry.

Then I glued the other side and the pieces behind the heel that will hold the ankle straps.

The way of closing the ankle straps is a bit different from the ones I've tried before. I attached a small bead and button on the vertical piece and used glue to secure the ends of the thread. The bead is there to make some room between the band and the button, so closing the strap will be easier.

Then I glued the ankle straps in place. Making working buckles in this size isn't easy, so I used thin rubber bands. They will deteriorate in time, so I'm not too happy about using them, but they work very well in the short run.

Here are the finished shoes from different angles. Dark ankle straps probably would look better, but I only had rubber bands in gold, silver, bronze and multi-color, so silver will have to do for now. Also the vertical pieces look clumsy. This is really why I rarely make shoes in this scale (only slightly bigger than Barbie shoes). It is so hard to make them look right.