Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Boots made of felt and modeling clay

The second Doll Shoe Projects book will be about making boots. This is one project that did not make it in the book, because things didn't go as planned. The yellow felt used for the uppers was already salvaged from another unsuccessful project. Probably should have just scrapped the whole thing, but I didn't want to throw all that felt away.

The pieces for the boots are simple, just the uppers and soles, both made of felt. The grey felt is made of recycled textiles and is 3 mm thick, so it's very stiff.

The first step was to glue the uppers to the edges of the soles. I used PVA glue for this. It works well when gluing pieces of felt together.

When the glue was dry, I sewed the front seams. The boots could be used like this, but my plan was to make the outer soles using modeling clay.

Here you can see the paper pattern on the left and a pattern cut from plastic on the right. The reason I was using a plastic pattern was that it's easier to get the modeling clay off from plastic after shaping the sole by pressing the clay against the pattern.

The clay I used was air-drying modelling foam, but any modeling clay would work. Actually, polymer clay would have been a better choice for the reason explained later in this post.

Here are the soles, shaped using the plastic pattern. I made them slightly bigger than the pattern, because air-drying clay tends to shrink.

Not big enough, it turned out. As you can see, the sole doesn't cover the entire insole and some gray remains visible. With polymer clay, this wouldn't be an issue as they don't shrink, at least not noticeably. At this point, I again considered scrapping the entire project, but decided to go on anyway just to see if this could still be salvaged.

I decided to glue some of that yellow felt to the soles to cover the gray felt. You get exactly the right shape by gluing a bigger piece first and then cutting off the excess.

The final stage was to glue the foam soles in place. I'm not sure I like how the seams between the uppers and foam soles look like, but at least the gray soles are hidden now. I may end up covering the seams with ribbon, but for now, these are good enough.

I've done all but one of the projects I intend to include in the book. The structure of the book is all planned, almost all photos are ready, and I have plenty of notes in Scrivener for writing the actual text. I'm aiming at getting most of it done before the end of the year, because I'll be very busy in January due to starting my studies. We'll see how that goes. The first book remained unfinished for a very long time.

I'm also waiting for a snowfall, because I plan to shoot the cover photos outside and snowy landscape would be perfect for that.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Fixing the loafers

The second try on the loafers was more successful. In the photo below, you can see the soles (black, made of the same old mousepad as the sandal soles), paper pattern, pattern cut from clear plastic (more durable than paper), and the vertical side pieces. The soles are smaller this time. I traced the foot on paper and just rounded the result, not adding any extra length.

This time I used hot glue for attaching the side pieces around the edges of the soles. I even used it for the back seam, overlapping the edges a bit. Hot glue works extremely well with felt. I had soles made of air-drying modeling clay for which I used hot glue to attach the felt, didn't like the result and tried to remove the felt. Can't be done. The felt gets so effectively stuck that if you mess up, you cannot remove it and try again, you need to start from scratch.

The top of the shoes is similar to the first attempt. I tried making it narrower first, but it didn't work with these smaller soles, so the pattern for the top part was drawn the same way as in the first time. Basically, everything else was fine in the first time, just the soles were too big.

Here's another picture from a different angle. I'm still thinking about adding some decorations, but haven't figure out what those would be. The main thing for now is that the pattern and structure work, you just need to get the size of the soles correct.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Simple loafers

This is the sole I made for the Kindi Kids sandals. You just trace the doll's foot on paper and then shape the sole around it. This time I used it for making loafers out of felt.

Here are the pieces for the shoes. The grey soles are made of thick felt (0.3 mm) that is made of recycled textiles. The red parts are made of thinner felt I bought from a supermarket's crafts section. The uppers are shaped using the sole pattern and adding a small bit that won't be sewn into the side pieces, so it will turn up along the top of the foot.

I sewed the side pieces to the soles and then the back seam. Then tried this on the doll to check how it looked like.

The sides of the toe part were too high, so I adjusted them while the doll's foot was inside the shoe. Then I wrapped the remaining side piece around the shoe to adjust it the same way before sewing it in place in the other shoe.

Then I sewed the uppers in place. At this point I realized that the upper should have been narrower than the sole, but I wasn't going to undo anything and just accepted that this first try wasn't going to be a success. The soles need to be smaller anyway, so I'll make all the necessary adjustments in the next pair of loafers.

Here are the finished shoes on the doll. Not totally awful, but definitely in need of improvement. This doll's feet are so oddly shaped that it is a challenge, but I'm sure I'll be able to make a nicely fitting pair eventually.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Sandals using hot glue

I have been practicing with hot glue, and the Kindi Kids doll I have is perfect for this. The proportions of the doll are so off that it doesn't matter, if the shoes look a bit clumsy.

I'm also practicing with some new materials. The first of those is the black foam I used for the soles of these shoes. It's from an old mousepad. I just removed the fabric covering of the mousepad, and the material was easy to cut with scissors. It's soft, but still sturdy as the mouse pad was 0.5 cm thick.

As usual, I started by tracing the doll's foot on paper and then shaping the sole around that. Then I cut the soles from the mousepad.

For straps, I used this Christmas decoration material. It resembles the material I used for the stiletto heels, but it's not as stiff as that was. I expect to be making several pairs of shoes while experimenting with this material as there's 2 meters of it in the roll.

Here are the main parts of the shoes. On the left, the ends of the straps are cut in a way that they can be placed slightly slanted on the sides of the soles. At this point, the straps are a bit too long as it is better to leave some extra and trim that away while checking how the other end should be glued.

I used hot glue for every part of the assembly. Here the blue headed pin marks the place for the front edge of the strap.

I first glued one end and then checked with the doll how long the straps should be and where the other ends need to be glued.

After gluing the other ends in place, I glued vertical pieces behind the heels for attaching ankle straps. I also glued some of the red material on the edges of the soles where they remained bare.

The ankle straps are made of three thin rubber bands. I glued the ends inside the heel part, because that was the only place to hide them. Another option would have been to make a knot and let it show on the outside or cover it with some decoration.

Here are the finished shoes. The soles could have been shorter, and maybe the strap should have had only three rows to show the toes, but these are good enough for a first try with new materials, new kind of glue and new type of doll.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Variation of the stiletto heels

These shoes are made with similar resin soles as the red stiletto heels. The previous post shows the painting stage. I wanted different heels for these, but ended up using the same structure underneath. I don't remember what kind of glue I used for the red pair, but this time I used hot glue to secure the wooden sticks in place.

I painted the heels black, and while the paint was drying, I thought about different ways of using the plastic material also in the heels in addition to using it for the straps. I ended up with the structure below in which the bottom pieces are first glued in place around the heel and then the upper part.

Here are the finished shoes. The plastic parts of the heel are glued in place using hot glue, while the straps over the toe part are sewn in the similar way as in the red shoes. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Painting resin soles

I have two more pairs of the soles I used for the stiletto heels. I like resin soles, because you can do so much more with them than with plaster castings, but the thing I'm not that fond of is the painting required. It took over a week to get these painted because enamel paints have such a long drying time.

Now I'm trying to decide the type of heels and the uppers for the yellow shoes. The black ones will have the uppers made of the black and silver material in the picture below. It's similar to the all silver material I used for the red shoes. I also found some fairly similar material last weekend (the red and gold ones in the photo), except a lot cheaper, 4 cm wide and 2 meters in a roll and only cost 1€ per roll. Of course I had to get some, although not for these shoes. I think the yellow ones will have something different for uppers.

The next problem is figuring out the heels. I have plenty of those round wooden sticks I used for the stiletto heels, but I want something different for these. Maybe using the sticks as a support inside and building something fancy around them. I guess it's time to go browsing my collection of shoe pictures to get ideas.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Monster High shoes

The final wall-hanging display case has really small spaces, so only fairly small shoes fit into it. Mainly that means Monster High dolls, Sybarite and CED dolls. The link info below the picture again states for which dolls the shoes are made.

Row 1 - Decorative copper shoes, Madame Alexander's Alex: second pair, third pair; Tonner's Tiny Kitty: fourth pair, fifth pair

Row 2 - Monster High: first pair, second pair, third pair, fourth pair; Tonner's Tiny Kitty: fifth pair

Row 3 - Monster High: first pair, second pair, third pair, fourth pair, fifth pair

Row 4 - Monster High: first pair; Rini: second pair

Row 5 - Sybarite: first pair, second pair, third pair, fourth pair, fifth pair

Row 6 - Sybarite: first pair, second pair

Row 8 - CED doll (Finnish blog): first pair, second pair

Row 9 - CED doll (Finnish blog): first pair, second pair

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Another wall-hanging display case

Here is another display case hanging on the wall. The shoes in it are for Monster High Nefera, Tonner's Jessica Rabbit, Tonner's 16" Miss Piggy, Madame Alexander's Cissy, and Tonner's American Model. The link info below the picture will state which dolls the shoes are for.

Row 1 - Nefera; Jessica Rabbit: second pair, third pair, fourth pair

Row 2 - Miss Piggy: first pair, second pair

Row 3 - Miss Piggy: first pair, second pair

Row 4 - Miss Piggy: first pair, second pair

Row 5 - Cissy (Finnish blog), American Model

Row 6 - Cissy: first pair (Finnish blog), second pair (Finnish blog)

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Various types of shoes

The next part of my collection is yet again in a display case in my bookshelf. The top shelf contains shoes for Tonner's American Model, Jessica Rabbit and 16" Miss Piggy. The second shelf has shoes for Tonner's Agnes Dreary on the left, and two pairs for Mezco's Living Dead Dolls on the right. The small shoe in the middle is a charm that I cast using tin and a silicone mold. The third shelf has one pair (the yellow ones) for Rini and three pairs for Jolina by Zapf Creation, and the bottom row has one pair I made for Sybarite, plus her original shoes.

Here are the links to available blog posts:

Top shelf: first pair (Finnish blog), second pair, third pair, fourth pair

Second shelf: first pair & second pair, fourth pair

Third shelf: second pair (similar to the orange ones in the post about the third pair), third pair

Bottom shelf: first pair

Friday, December 4, 2020

Some boots

The first picture shows another display box in my bookshelf. The black boots are the first ever pair of doll boots I have made. They are for the same old doll as the flat-soled shoes in the first collection post. The post about these is in the Finnish blog. The other two pairs are for Tonner's American Model doll. The post about the beige boots is here, and the other boots can be found here.

The next display case is hanging on the wall. I have three of these, and this is the one that can accommodate boots. The others are suitable for smaller shoes. The red pair is for a Lipstik doll, and the boots under them are for Tonner's 16" Miss Piggy as are the ones below those. The two pairs on the right are repainted Monster High boots, upper for Clawdeen, lower for Draculaura.

The next picture shows a display case in my bookshelf. I will probably later use it for boots, but at the moment, there are some shoes for Monster High Gooliope (upper row) and Jolina by Zapf Creation (bottom row). The red shoes with stiletto heels are new, and the darker pair is the first one I made for Gooliope. The black pair on the bottom left is the first pair of gladiator sandals I made, and the two others I made while writing the first Doll Shoe Projects book.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

More of my collection

The next part of the collection is two display boxes in my bookshelf. These shoes are mostly for Madame Alexander's Cissy and Tonner's 16" Miss Piggy.

We'll start with the display box on the left. The bottom shelf has one pair of shoes for Cissy and two pairs of boots for Monster High dolls. The rest are shoes for Miss Piggy. There's no blog post for one pair, which I think I made when writing the Techniques book.

Top row: left pair, right pair

Second row: left pair

Third row: left pair, right pair

Bottom row: leftmost pair (Finnish blog), middle pair, rightmost pair

The display box on the right only has shoes for Madame Alexander's Cissy. These blog posts are all in the Finnish blog.

Top row: leftmost pairmiddle pair, rightmost pair

Second row: leftmost pair

Third row: leftmost pairmiddle pair, rightmost pair

Bottom row: middle pair, rightmost pair

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

First part of my collection

I started making doll shoes about 20 years ago, so I have accumulated quite a bit of them, although I did sell some for a brief time around 2004. The money I got for the ones I sold wasn't worth it because of the time it takes to make just one pair, so later I just traded some with friends for other doll items.

This is the first post of showing my collection and providing links to the relevant blog posts, if available. Let's start with some of the older ones, although future posts will have old and new mixed as I tend to group the shoes by the doll for which they were made.

The glass box I have on top of one of my dollhouses contains shoes for the following dolls: The shoes in the front row are for an old, 18", hollow plastic doll with no manufacturer markings. The doll has flat feet, so I haven't made very many pairs for it. The pair with pale green insoles is for Tonner's 16" Miss Piggy, and the rest are for Madame Alexander's Cissy.

Front row: The rightmost pair can be seen in a post in the Finnish blog. The post also has a picture of the doll. The brown shoes next to them are made after a Manolo Blahnik design. The blue shoes are made after a Mary Quant design and the post is in the Finnish blog.

Miss Piggy's shoes can be found in this blog. The posts about Cissy's shoes are all in the Finnish blog, links below. 

Back row: First from left, second pair, third pair, fourth pair.

Middle row: First from leftsecond pairfourth pair.

It seems that there is no blog post about the ones in which I used a zipper in the upper (middle row, third pair). I thought there would be, but it's possible I just posted it in Flickr at the time (when I was still using it).

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Baha Cat's boot lasts

The final piece of resin casting was making a pair of boot lasts for the Baha Cat. I used the last I made using balsa wood. I made one latex mold, then placed it beside the last when making the second one, so the two molds are connected and, thus, easier to keep upright when pouring the resin into them.

I cast a pair of lasts from the regular resin, and as I had some clear resin left, I used that for making an additional last just for fun.

Friday, November 27, 2020

More resin castings

As I was using the last of the resin as long as it was still usable, I decided to make some castings for boot making. For shoes, you only need the casting to be up to the doll's ankle, but I wanted to make boots for Gooliope. 16" dolls are especially difficult to handle when making shoes, so having just the leg below the knee makes things a lot easier. As I was going through the trouble, I thought I might as well make some others. The other doll in the picture below is a Living Dead Doll.

The picture shows how messy it is to create latex molds. Latex keeps dripping for some time after dipping the doll's feet to it, so you need some protection, in this case a newspaper, on the table.

At this point, I had to start calculating the amount of resin required, so I wouldn't have any resin mixed without having a mold to put it in. The easiest way to check the amount needed is to put some water in a measuring cup and put the doll's feet in it. The rise in the water level shows the amount needed. Unfortunately I didn't have a better measuring cup, so the numbers were only approximates, but that's better than nothing.

You also need to remember that if you're using resin with the ratio of 1:1 between resin and hardener, you need half of the measured amount of both. Elementary, but can be easy to forget when you keep thinking that one number you just measured.

The latex molds I made were fairly thin as you can see in the picture. They were only needed for one casting, so I didn't see any need to make them real sturdy. The third pair in the picture is for a My Little Pony Equestria Girls doll. 

Below are some castings waiting to harden. The big pair is for a 16" male doll by Robert Tonner. The ones with flat soles usually stay upright by themselves, but the Equestria girls molds needed some support, so I put them into a small plastic cup.

Finally, here are some hardened castings that have been removed from the molds. They still need to harden some more after removing them, although these are so thick that there was no risk of anything bending. When making shoe soles, it is important to always check immediately after removing them from the molds that the shape is correct, and if it is not, fix it as long as the resin is still soft enough to do it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The first Doll Shoe Projects book

I finally finished the book, and it is now available in Amazon. I was planning to make it -50% for the first few days, but it seems that I can't do that. The promotion page says it needs to be available for 30 days first. So, it's $3.29 or whatever that is in your currency. To check it in, click here.

Edit: It seems that the price is actually $2.99 like I set it when publishing the book, but I'm seeing $3.29 due to VAT being added to the price, so your price will be equivalent to $2.99 plus any applicable taxes.

This is the first book in a series of books of doll shoe projects. Each book will have a theme, like this one, and all the materials used for the projects are selected so that they will be as easy to find and as affordable as possible. The projects are described step by step, and everything you need to know is explained, so although some of the techniques are the same as in Techniques for Making Doll Shoes, you do not need that book for making these projects.

Stiletto heels for Gooliope

This is one of the projects that have remained unfinished for a long time. The idea with these was to create resin soles that would require little additional work for finishing. Of course that didn't turn out to be true, because the painting alone took a lot of effort as these had to painted a bit at the time and using several coats.

The first thing I did was creating a universal sole (same for both left and right) using modeling clay. In this sole, there are holes on the sides for attaching the strap that goes over the toe part. For making the latex mold, the holes are not punched through, but just depressions in the modeling clay to make it easier to drill holes in the resin soles after casting.

In the picture above, the sole is attached to a piece of cardboard with double-sided tape for making a mold. A made two molds (below) to be able to cast a pair at the same time.

Latex molds aren't the best for resin casting, but I managed to cast several pairs using these molds. Below are two of those, and you can see on the leftmost sole that the holes on the side have been drilled through. In the master, I also made a depression for drilling a hole for the heel. In the rightmost sole, you can see a hole drilled there.

The next step was painting. I used enamel paints as they work best with resin. First I painted the inside with a light color as it will touch the doll's foot and I wanted to prevent any staining. I guess I could have left the inside unpainted as the resin is so light colored, but I thought painted inside looked neater. Then I painted the outside edges. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't smudge them, so I painted the outside in two parts to be able to let this first stage dry so that there was no risk of anything touching the paint.

Then I painted the undersides. I don't remember how many coats this needed, but I think it was at least three. With resin, the first coat is always a primer, because there is no way to get it to be even. Once you have one coat of paint, the next coats will stick much better and spread more evenly.

After all sides of the resin had been painted, I attached round wooden sticks as stiletto heels and painted them.

The strap going over the toe part is made of silver-colored plastic, and I used silver-colored thread to attach it in place. 

Here is one finished shoe. I have that plastic also in black and silver (I used that for Sybarite's shoes earlier), but that didn't look good with red. I think I might make another pair with that and soles painted with black and silver.

Finally, here are the shoes on Monster High Gooliope Jellington. They aren't a great fit, but they still look nice.