Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baha Cat

Dolls and Friends was closing and there was this Pipos Baha Cat on 65% discount, so I got one a bit ahead of the schedule.

I wanted to take pictures of the doll outside and as it is winter now, she needed shoes for that. The doll's feet are fairly small, which limits the types of shoes I can make for her. However, boots with laces are always a safe option, so I started with those.

The picture below shows the inner soles (thick white leather) and the upper parts (brown leather). There are only three pairs of holes for the laces as the eyelets were a bit large.

Parts for Baha Cat's shoes
The next stage was gluing the upper parts in place.
Assembling Baha Cat's shoes
The leather was fairly thick, so I had to glue filler parts on the soles to make sure they would be even after gluing the outer soles in place.
Assembling Baha Cat's shoes
The finished shoes look like this. The picture was cropped from one of the outdoor photos of the doll.
Finished shoes on Baha Cat
This picture shows the outer soles, which are also made of leather.
Finished shoes on Baha Cat
Original Finnish post is here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I haven't made any new shoes for some time, but I did make an outfit for the American Model that can be used with the boots shown in the previous post.

Original Finnish post is here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Boots for American Model

I had tried making boots for Cissy once, but they did not succeed and had to be converted to ankle boots instead.

Cissy's ankle boots
I was not going to give up, though, and tried another pair, this time for the American Model.

The boots are made of leather and there is a zipper on the back. I did not even try to sew the zipper, I just glued it in place. The front has eyelets for the strings. This way, the boots fit tight, but you only need to loosen the strings a little when putting the shoes on the doll's feet.

Boot legs with eyelets and zippers
I'm sure the neighbor downstairs was not happy when I started banging those eyelets in place. There are 48 of them in total and each required a couple of hard hits with the hammer.

I would have preferred metal color, but I only had the required amount in pastel colors and pink was most suitable of them.

There wasn't enough of that dark purple leather, so the boots ended up having two colors. Actually, that was a good choice considering the color of those eyelets.

Boot soles and uppers
Then I made the heels using modeling clay. The outer soles are made of leather and the strings are made of cotton yarn.

Finished boots for Tonner's American Model
The boots are shown here in plaster castings of the doll's feet.

Original Finnish posts: March 2, 2007, and February 16, 2006

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sybarite's feet

Handling an entire doll is always a bit difficult and there is the risk that the doll will be stained by glue, paint or some other material used in making the shoes. That is why I usually make plaster castings of the doll's feet. I was a bit hesitant to do this with the Sybarite as she is made of different material than the vinyl dolls. Finally, I decided to try making a latex mould.

The latex I had used previously had become clumpy so I had to buy more of the stuff. Unfortunately, the new brand turned out to be almost unusable. The brand of latex shown below is not suitable for making tubular moulds. It is too thick and will rip easily under the sort of stress the mould is subjected to when removing it from the doll's leg.

Latex for mould making
As I could not get better latex right now, I decided to try this stuff anyway, although I had already found out how unsuitable for the purpose it was. I felt awful spreading the stuff on the feet of the doll that had been so expensive. It probably would have been a good idea to try the latex first on some part not usually visible, for example, the scalp.

Sybarite's feet covered in latex
I'm happy to tell that the doll suffered no ill effects from the latex. And I even managed to get the moulds out in one piece. That was probably because they were short and the hole was quite large.

Finished latex moulds of Sybarite's feet
Then followed casting the plaster. I used soles I had made for Sybarite to support the moulds. They helped to keep the moulds in correct position and also to keep the shape of the arch correct.

Casting the plaster in the moulds
So now I have a pair of Sybarite feet. Their surface is not perfect due to the poor quality of the latex, but they are good enough for making shoes.

Finished plaster lasts of Sybarite's feet

Original Finnish post

Shoes for Sybarite

This is something between a wedge sole and a normal sole. The picture shows (from top to bottom) the inner and outer sole patterns, inner sole made of leather and cardboard, outer sole made of leather, pieces that come in between, and outer and inner soles for the other shoe.

Parts of Sybarite's shoes
The next picture shows the structure of the soles better. I got the idea for these shoes when I found those little curved pieces of wood that had been left over from some earlier project. The straight part of the sole is made of cardboard and the curved inner sole is made of four layers of cardboard.

Soles for Sybarite's shoes
Here are the finished shoes in the doll's feet. The red pearls are attached to that string and I had to crush a couple of pearls on each end of a strap with pliers to be able to glue the ends of the strap under the inner sole. The shape of the soles is just right and the shoes won't fall from the doll's feet, which is rare with this kind of design.

Finished shoes for Sybarite

Original Finnish post

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Plastic wedge soles

I made a wedge sole (shown on the right in the next picture) for making a latex mould, but then I realized that it would be fairly easy to use it to build a metal mould for casting plastic.

The moulds are made of thin copper sheet. Before cutting the sheet (with scissors, which have suffered quite a lot due to this habit), I covered it with clear packaging tape. This is meant for the inside of the mould to ensure that the plastic casting will have shiny surface. The pieces of the mould are held together by normal adhesive tape. Note that there are small pieces of wood under the toe part to keep the moulds straight.

The plastic I'm using is the type you need to heat in order to melt it. The brand name is E-Z Water and the only reason I'm using that is that it's the only brand I have found. The plastic is in the form of small grains.

The plastic is slightly yellow and if it gets too hot, it starts getting darker. I'm using the lowest possible temperature in which I can get it to melt, so the color won't change. Also, if the melted plastic is too hot, it will melt the packaging tape and the adhesive tape holding the moulds together. The result of that is a horrible mess as I once found out. Fortunately, I only managed to ruin the kitchen counter instead of burning myself with the stuff (even in the lowest temperature, it's still hot).

Before pouring the plastic into the mould, I placed a paper flower in the mould. As the flower had a stem, it was easy to hold it in place until the plastic had cooled down enough, so the flower would stay in place by itself.

You need to wait until the plastic has cooled down. Then you need to tear apart the mould to get the casting out. I usually do this when the casting is still a bit warm to touch, but not hot. Leave the casting to cool down properly after removing it from the mould.

Here are two pictures of a finished casting. There are some air bubbles in it, but I have noticed that it is almost impossible to avoid them altogether in castings of this size.

Here are the shoes I made using these castings. The ribbons are made of silk and the inner sole and strap are made of satin that was treated with sealer. The outer sole is again made of leather.

Original Finnish posts: Feb. 20, 2007, and July 7, 2007

Friday, March 14, 2008

High heel platforms

I decided to try a new way of making platform shoes. This time I wanted to make something higher than ever before.

I started by cutting suitable pieces from thick foamcore and glueing them in two layers.

Then I painted them to fill in the biggest gaps, although they would not have shown under the fabric anyway.

The arching part of the sole is made of several layers of cardboard (160 g/m2). I think I put 5-6 layers in these.

When making parts like this, you need to use glue that doesn't set right away. Start with two layers, spread glue on one and place the other on top of it. Then you form the desired shape and keep the pieces in that shape until the glue has dried enough to prevent the pieces from getting out of shape. Then glue the rest of the layers one layer at a time.

Then I glued the parts together. I noticed afterwards that it would have been better, if couple of the lowest cardboard layers had gone all the way down. It would have been easier to make the soles keep their shape that way.

I covered the shoes with fabric that I had treated with sealer. The heels are cut from thin metal pipe and the parts where they are attached to are made of modelling clay (the type that does not need to be oven baked).

I used the same fabric for inner soles and straps. I only used two straps for the shoes as the patterns of the fabric were decorative enough and there was no need for a more complicated design.

I covered the rest with the same fabric and glued small pieces of leather for taps and to the part that shows green in the picture below.

The picture below shows the finished shoes on the doll. I haven't tried it, but I don't think the doll could stand wearing these, because of balance issues.

Original Finnish post

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Set of shoes for Tiny Betsy McCall

I had swatches of furniture fabric in several colors. I treated the fabrics with sealer (FolkArt Outdoor Satin Sealer) to prevent fraying and staining. After I had made shoes for larger dolls, there was still enough fabric left to make one pair of shoes in each color for Tiny Betsy.

This model is very simple. It requires minimum amount of glueing. The inner sole is made of the same fabric as the upper part. The outer sole is leather.

As the shoe has open toe, it is easy to glue. All you need to glue are the sides under the inner sole, the strap behind the ankle, and finally the outer sole. You can also glue a small piece of leather as the heel of the shoe.

You can use fairly thick fabrics for this model as the sides are straight, which makes it easy to glue them.

Shoes for Tiny Betsy doll
Here is the full set of shoes. Some of the decorations are glued to place, some attached with sewing thread.

Set of shoes for Tiny Betsy
If you want to try making this kind of shoes for your doll, here is the pattern. Save the picture on your computer and print it making sure that the scale in the picture matches reality.

Pattern for Tiny Betsy shoes
If you make shoes using this pattern and put a picture of them on your web site, Flickr, etc., please leave a comment here telling me where to go to see the picture.

Original Finnish post

First post

My Finnish blog about doll shoes has had a lot of foreign visitors lately, so I thought maybe I could create an English version for those who do not understand Finnish. I will be adding stuff here occasionally (can't promise a frequent or regular update schedule as even the Finnish blog is updated sporadically).

For more pictures, you should see the Kenkäfriikki blog. I'll try to add here the posts that contain useful instructions.

If you would like to see a translation of a specific post in the Finnish blog, leave a comment here and I'll include it in my list of posts to be translated.