Sunday, September 13, 2015

Shoes for high heeled dolls

Funny how things work out. I made my first pair of doll shoes when I was 10, from cardboard bent to fit Little Miss Revlon's  high heel feet. I was less than thrilled because the heels didn't work that well. Had I just kept painting them with white glue, they'd have hardened. In the time-honored tradition of kids everywhere, I abandoned the enterprise and tossed the visible results.

In the intervening decades, I've tried bending and folding and cutting a cardstock template for Gene with surprising success, and attaching cut-down golf tees to cardboard for a 22 inch Revlon clone, also surprisingly successful. The white plastic generic shoes from doll catalogs looked fine, and within months fell into brittle pieces. I saved the pieces. Who knows, glue and fabric and elastic may revive them.

Today I am bending cardboard to LMR's feet, attaching a heel support made with a bead roller, and building it up with bits of toilet paper and glue. I saw similar shoes built on MyFroggy.

The first outline of the doll's foot is inevitably too wide and too long. It enlarges when I trace my template. Cutting inside the lines helped. I use 4 layers of thin cardboard from a Coca-Cola box per shoe. Glued layers make a nice sturdy shoe base, but 4 is too many. Next attempt, use one layer, wet it, bend it.

I carefully measured the height of real LMR heels, cut a paper strip that wide by 5 inches long, and wound it in a paper bead roller from a kit by Creativity for Kids. I paid about $5 for this at Joann Fabric. Bead rollers from eBay can be pricey, and take time to get to you.

It is tempting to glue the heels to the sole early in the process. I really shouldn't have. I will be gluing the top of the shoe to something. It's not a disaster.

My Froggy advises us to cut the heel at a slant. Good luck with this. I do better with a single layer of cardboard at the back of the heel. After the heel is glued to the sole, I check to make sure the doll can stand. Sometimes my measuring is off, sometimes the doll's legs no longer are even.


Shaped soles and paper bead heels will work. It would have been better to have cut a fabric insole. It would have been better to have cut bits of cardboard and shaped them over the doll's foot, gluing them to the bottom of the sole. Was shaping the sole really necessary? Full of  shoulda-couldas, I abandoned the project until a barefoot doll looked at me accusingly. What would it take to turn them into wearable shoes? 

 A bit of white elastic sewn into a ring, a bit of white nail polish to finish the edges, and the barefoot doll had shoes with definite right and left feet.The doll can sometimes stand on her own.