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.

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