Saturday, April 20, 2013

If the shoe fits....

One of the most difficult things to add to the 11.5" dolls' wardrobe is shoes and especially boots. Yes, you can order generic shoes from Ebay or Amazon, and yes, you can even find a few WONDERFUL shoes scaled down for the foot-tall diva from, but, for the most part, the lack of a proper assortment of shoes and boots are the weak point of my dolls wardrobe.

I will tell you straight away, making teeny-weeny doll shoes is NOT one of my strengths. (I will recommend, however, fellow blogger: FashionDollShoes here at Blogspot.) Nonetheless, the point of this posting is to show you how to modify existing Barbie shoes with paint and air-dried modeling clay.

I cannot understand how Barbie, this so-called fashion icon, could be happy with so many pairs of pink footwear. But I can tell you this. The dolls who come to my house wearing pink shoes, immediately remove them, look up at me, and plead for ANYTHING else!

The easiest thing is simply to give the shoes a new coat of paint, as recommended mentioned in my Tipster post. However, there are times when you either have more than one of the same pair of shoes or you simply don't have shoes that adapt to your fashion sense. This calls for more drastic measures.

You can change the shape of the toe or completely cover them using air-dried clay. (You cannot use oven bake polymer clay because the shoes will melt.) If you are filling in open areas including the toe, roll a bit of coated paper (like the paper backing from adhesive labels, for example) and place it inside of the shoe. I would not build the shoe directly on the doll because you could harm the finish of her vinyl feet or worse, the shoe could stick to the doll's foot! Take your time while you are modeling the clay and try to get as close as you can to the desired new shape. Keep the two shoes together as you work so that they end up the same size. Cut away the excess using a small knife. Remember, too, after the clay has dried, you can sand it further down. Once dry, you can paint your shoe. Try it on the doll. If it's too thick, sand it further down and repaint. To paraphrase a friend of mine, "It's not furniture, but it's not bad."

I had an extra pair of pink, open-toed boots. Again, I stuffed the toe with coated paper so that I could change the toe. What is important to remember when modifying boots is to respect the back slit (which enables the doll's foot to get in and out). You can add air dried clay to redesign the toe or foot or even change the texture of the boot, but keep the clay away from of the back vent. In the case of the beige boot, I modified the toe then gave the whole thing a coat of paint and added a chain. You can add beads, tiny charms or, like my second variation,  I wrapped then glued rows of sequins around the shaft of the boot.

For my silver boot, I covered the toe with a triangle of silver leather and folded the excess under the sole, which I covered with tape. The shaft of the boot consists of a rectangle of leather which I wrapped around the boot and glued down, again leaving the back slit in tact. I used ties to keep everything in place while the glue was drying, but decided I liked the way it looked as a design detail and left them in place.

Dip your shoes or boots in glitter. Cover with lace. Wrap with ribbon, The possibilities are limitless!

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  1. Carefully peel the clay away from the doll's foot once you have shaped the shoe as desired. Try to maintain the shape as much as possible. Some reshaping my be required after removal.

  2. I spray painted the shoes gold, but after a full week, they are still tacky. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi there. I used acrylic paint. So my guess is that the paint you used is oil based which is why it's taking so long. I don't know if this will work, but try putting a coat of quick drying top coat (for fingernails) on your doll shoes.

    2. Great idea! I will try that. Thanks,

      PS I really love your site. It has made all my projects so much easier.

    3. Hope it works! Thank you for your kind words, Nancy.

  3. Thank you for these great ideas.

    1. And thank you for vising my blog! There's lots of content here. So Enjoy!


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