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Making doll shoe soles the easy way

I recently had a little chat about making doll shoes with a blogger friend. We agreed that making the top is usually not the problem. Shoe soles on the other hand are either taking a lot of time (if you go for the glued cardboard-in-layers option). Or they take a lot of effort and require special tools, if you go for the punching-holes-in-leather option. I am talking about simple flat shoes now, high heels are a completely different story of course.

I don’t like glue for some reason, at least not the wet kind of glue. If I can sew I’d prefer that over glue. Maybe I just have no talent for it, who knows, but I regularly get glue on parts where I don’t want glue. But I found an alternative to the wet or hot glue. It’s not only a very quick way to make soles but it’s also a very clean and easy way.

All you need is self-adhesive felt pads, the kind you stick under furniture to prevent scratches on floors. You can usually get them in white, grey, brown or black, as felt pads or little squares and circles. I already had two packs of assorted felt stickers in the house, else I would have bought just pads without the rest.

I use the white felt for the inner soles. As you can see I just pinked the edges of my upper leather part. I like to start by peeling off just a bit of the cover paper to attach the center of the back to the sticky surface and then pull the rest of the top part of the shoe into the right position, before I peel off the front and attach the middle to the sole. The sides come last. It’s usually easy to peel the fabric or leather off again if it doesn’t look right yet.

Doll shoe soles made of felt pads

As you might have guessed already, the outer soles are just the same stuff in black or brown. I use to make them a bit longer, but not significantly wider than the inner sole. I start from the back again. If the shoes are very small it’s important that the outer sole is a bit longer at the back to support the heel, else the doll will have the tendency to fall over. Maybe it’s just the stuff I use, but I found that cutting the outer sole with a cutter (or at least cutting the paper with cutter) prevents the cover paper from pressing down into the adhesive in a way that makes it hard to remove tiny bits of paper at the edges. You don’t want white micro-pieces of paper on the visible part of the outer sole.


Quick mini shoes

I find this a very convenient an easy way to make shoes, especially really tiny ones.

Here is an older post with a pattern for Iplehouse girl flats.


10 thoughts on “Making doll shoe soles the easy way”

  1. What a fabulous idea Mia, you sooo clever! I never in a million years would have thought of using that for soles. It’s amazing what one can achieve when they think outside the box eh? And what’s more, they look so professional.

    I can also relate to the glue thing, I used to get quite annoyed with people who used glue instead of sewing and often thought they were just being lazy, but I’ve also learnt that some people simply just can’t sew . . . sewing is something I have always taken for granted.

    However in saying all that, in the case of shoemaking, I would have used glue to attach the soles of shoes myself. Is that being hypocritical?

    Big hugs,

    1. Thank you :). Thinking outside the box is something you learn if you grow up poor. Using what you have and try to make it work is something that leads to lots of boxes with stuff you keep in case you might need it at some point, though ;). Not hypocritical, just practical. If sewing doesn’t really work you have to resort to glue, right? 🙂

  2. Mia, you’re brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing! I haven’t made doll shoes yet, but I would love to try it, starting with a very simple model. This sole idea of yours is so good!!

    1. Thank you, I am glad you found it useful :-). I look forward to see what you make for your girls. Most of yours probably have a foot size you can find lots of patterns for.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, it’s amazing! I haven’t made any doll shoes yet. I bought some of the craft foam stuff but don’t like it. I shall try your idea, it’s wonderful!

  4. Ok, now I know what you meant. It’s absolutely brilliant! Thank you for sharing. I will have to try this.

    Again, I was reading and laughing – we have a lot in common, you know. I hate glue too. I use it when I must, but I hate working with it. It’s a terrible combination, the glue and me. I always cover everything around with it, I glue my fingers, I get furious about it and so on, and so on… xD

    1. :D. I wrote this with our conversation in mind. I like that we have a lot in common. There are exceptions to the glue thing, I don’t mind working with wood glue. But even with wood, I prefer screws. I usually just glue wood in addition to screws to close gaps.

  5. Hi my question is do you have to make adjustments to the fabric over the foot if insole is thicker than normal insole?

    1. I am not sure what you mean, but I guess you are talking about a random doll shoe pattern. So the answer is: probably yes. In my experience shoe patterns have a certain tolerance anyway, but if you cut your allowance a bit longer you should be fine. you can always test it on the dolls foot.

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