Shoes make an important fashion statement. After all, you’re walking around in them all day, so why shouldn’t you be wearing shoes with some pizzazz? Although it can be a pretty complicated procedure in untrained hands, it’s quite possible to make your own pair of shoes from home. To make shoes, you need to gather the right materials, make a cast of your feet, cut the parts of the shoe to size, assemble those parts, and finalize the design. Once you get the basics down, you won’t have to depend on store brands for your look. Few things can look so interesting as a unique set of shoes, and making them can actually be a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.
Part1Making A Foot Cast
- 1Make a custom last. A last is a block in the shape of a human foot shoemakers use to guide their work. To do this, you’ll want to make a cast mould of your foot; that way, the shoes you’ll be making will be custom-fitted for you personally. Get a box filled with an alginate jelly and place your foot in, ideally up to the ankle. Let your foot rest for 20 minutes while the jelly solidifies, then slowly remove your foot. 
- Make sure to remove your foot slowly; you don’t want to damage anything once it solidifies.
- It’s highly recommended you do this for both feet at the same time. The idle time is best to get over with early on in the process.
- One positive thing to mention about this step in the process is that you can ideally reuse these lasts fir each subsequent pair of shoes you try to make. Make a point of keeping them somewhere safe, where they don’t run the risk of being broken.
- 2Pour casting material into your casting box. Now that there’s a proper mould of your foot, you can pour casting material into it. Depending on the type and quality of casting material, the solidifying time could take anywhere from half an hour to overnight. Be patient– it may be a good time at this point to work on other parts of the process if your plans are settled enough.
- 3Remove and tape your last. Once the last has solidified, it’s time to take it out and get it ready. Cover your last with a colourless masking tape. That will keep it from being damaged as easily, and you’ll be able to draw your designs directly on the last.
- Outline your design on the last itself. Before you get to putting the pieces together, you’ll probably find it helpful to give the last an outline of what you want the shoe to look like around it. While you shouldn’t rely on it for concrete measurements, having an idea of what it will look like in three dimensions will help as you’re figuring out where each stitch should go.
I had my shoes, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to draw, or how they should look. Decided on a Totoro theme, because I really do like Totoro too much XD
Planning out the composition is a really important step, because Sharpies are permanent. I sketched a bunch of shapes and ideas onto a piece of standard copy paper with a basic mechanical pencil. While working out the shapes, I decided that I wanted shoes that were dark at the front and would gradate lighter at the back using leafy shapes to transition it.
With the plan done, I sketched straight onto the shoes, very lightly in pencil, marking out the dark areas so when I started using the Sharpies, I would know which areas to darken and which to leave light.
One of the key things I’ve found with drawing areas needing white outlines is to shade in pencil around the lines. It just makes it a bit easier when it comes to inking and you won’t accidentally connect all the black areas together where you shouldn’t.
- FIRST SHOE!Drew the pencil sketch and began inking around it with a Sharpie.
- FIRST SHOEFurther inking, with some of the transitional leaf shapes on the top left left.
- FIRST SHOEFinished the first shoe! It looks hilarious next to the other completely white one.
- OTHER SHOE!I only have this one photo, but it followed the same process, sketch, then ink.
So with both shoes completed for inking, the only thing left to do was to spray them both with fixative so they’d be at least a bit more waterproof. I found that a couple of the details ran a little bit on the front of the shoe, but it’s not noticeable, honestly.