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