Shoe Week: How to Make a Custom Doll Shoe

There's a large percentage of air-dry clay fans who like to create dolls...human figures and fantasy figures.  Some of these are fixed in position and some are poseable.   Some are simple sculpts, some are cloth dolls with clay limbs and some are sophisticated BJDs.  There's many ways you can model a figure but what they all have in common is the need for shoes!   You can always sculpt any kind of shoe with your favorite clay, but sometimes we like to have a fabric or leather shoe!    All tutorials featured this week will be devoted to crafting shoes for dolls of all sizes and shapes, removable and non-removable!   Let's start with some Mary Jane's and basic shoe-making skills.

A finished pair of Mary Jane style tiny doll shoes.

How to Make Doll Shoes With Custom Fitted Shoe Patterns for Any Size or Shape of Doll

In this tutorial from, construction of miniature scale Mary Jane shoes demonstrate the basic steps in creating a pattern for a doll shoe.  Size of pattern can be adjusted to fit the size of any dolls foot.  Construction of all doll shoes utilize the same basic steps to create pattern for a sole and an upper.  We'll have more tutorials that show you how to create other shoe styles by changing the shape of the upper and adding heels of different heights.   But, first we must start with the basics.   In this demo you learn how to:
  • Draw The Sole Pattern For Your Doll's Shoes 
  • Make the Basic Toe Pattern 
  • Trim the Toe Cap Pattern to Fit Your Particular Doll 
  • Lay Out a Sole Allowance For the Toe Cap Pattern
  • Make a Heel Pattern 
  • Test Your Doll Shoe Pattern (by making a pair of slip-on shoes) 
  • Glue Shoe Upper of Doll Shoe to Insole 
  • Glue Soles and Trim & Straps to Custom Doll Shoes
Materials for Doll Shoes

One of the important things needed to create a convincing doll shoe is the right choice of materials that will fit the scale of the doll.   There's many ways to create faux leathers for the smallest scales and there's also some very thin leathers that can be purchased.

Rough grained faux leather made with acrylic paint and medium over interfacing fabric.
Leathers and faux leathers that are useful for some doll clothing, footwear, handbags, luggage, and upholstery for dollhouse miniature furniture include:

Nappa or Napa leather 
Napa is a full grain, soft and pliable leather usually made from kid, lamb or sheepskin in lighter weights. 

Skiver is a paper thin sheepskin or goatskin leather that has been traditionally used for fine bookbinding and leather desk tops. It is often sold in small pieces from dolls house haberdashery or from specialist suppliers of model horse tack.

Chamois leather is very water absorbent. When wet it will stretch and as it stiffens when dry, it can be stretched, dried, and colored to create a number of miniatures. It is readily available from car accessory shops and can be used to mimic suede and sometimes deerskin in miniature and model scenes.

Ultrasuede fabric
Ultrasuede is one of a group of microsuedes, non woven, leather effect fabrics made from polyester microfibres. With a surface that resembles suede it is available in several thicknesses and a range of colors.

Make your own leather-look fabric with these tutorials:

How to make your own faux leather from lightweight interfacing fabric
How to Make Thin Flexible Faux Leather Fabric in Your Choice of Colors and Finishes   

How to make very thin, smooth-finish faux leather from silk fabric (shown below)

Another idea for small scale leather:   Some leather-look vinyls are made with a thin layer of "leather" on good side.  Try splitting the layers and just use the top ply.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Thank you very much for taking the time to comment! ;-)