Make Easy to Fit Beach Sandals or Flip Flops for Dolls

  • 01 of 07

    Make Two Easy Styles of Beach Sandals / Flip Flops for Any Size of Doll

    Beach sandals and flip flops in 1:12 dollhouse scale.
    Photo © Lesley Shepherd

    The beach sandals and flip flops shown here are sized to fit a 1:12 scale dollhouse doll, but you can adapt the materials to make smaller (or larger) sandals to fit almost any size of doll. We used craft foam for the sandal soles, along with fine hair elastics for the sandal and flip flop bands, but you can also use paper, card, ribbon and other materials, including flexible polymer clay mixes for smaller dolls, depending on how you want to pose your doll. The sandals also make cute additions to shop and beach scenes.

    In addition to the materials you choose for your sandal soles and the sandal bands, you will also need a thick craft glue (we used The Ultimate craft glue and bits of thread, narrow ribbon or other trim to finish the sandal soles. For smaller doll scales (including 1:12 scale) you may also need an iron (to reduce the thickness of the craft foam) and a teflon pressing sheet or baking parchment, as well as sharp scissors or a craft knife.

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  • 02 of 07

    Prepare Craft Foam for the Doll Sandal/Flip Flop Soles

    A section of craft foam which has been ironed, showing how it has shrunk in all dimensions.
    Photo © Lesley Shepherd

    We chose to use craft foam to make our doll sandals so they will stand up to 'wear' a bit better. If you are making smaller scale sandals, or you prefer, you can make the soles from paper, or layers of lightweight card / photo paper. To prepare the craft foam, we pressed the foam with an iron at a cotton no steam setting in between layers of a teflon pressing sheet. You will need to press down gently on the foam, flipping the teflon sheet sandwich of over and pressing on the opposite side to prevent the foam from curling at the edges. As you press, the foam will reduce in all dimensions, but will become firmer, with a harder surface.

    The craft foam we used was 2mm thick. Pressing it reduced it to roughly 1mm thick, which makes it much more suitable for smaller scale doll sandals (mine are for a 1:12 scale doll). For larger dolls work with a foam thickness, which, when doubled, will make a reasonably scaled sole thickness.

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  • 03 of 07

    Measure and Cut Out Soles for the Doll Sized Beach Sandals or Flip Flops

    Cutting sandal soles for a doll from craft foam.
    Photo © Lesley Shepherd

    To fit soles to a doll, draw carefully around the doll's foot with a pencil on your foam or card. You will need two sets of soles, an upper and a lower, for each doll foot. To vary the designs of your sandals, you can cut one sole layer from fabric, ribbon, or decorative card or scrapbooking paper for the top of the sole if you wish.

    Use a craft knife or scalpel blade on a craft knife handle, to cut out the shape of the sole. It is usually best to move the foam or card as much as possible, rather than moving the knife blade alone to manoeuvre around the shape. You want the edges of the sandal soles to be as straight up and down as possible.

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  • 04 of 07

    Fit the Sandal Bands Onto the Upper Sole of the Beach Sandals

    Hair elastics fitted as straps on a beach sandal or flip flop for a doll.
    Photo © Lesley Shepherd

    For our dollhouse scale doll, we are using fine elastic bands on the sandal. This will allow me to fit the beach sandals and flip flops onto the doll's feet holding the shoes in place. For very small dolls, you can use elastic cord or elastic thread. The thread can be covered with small beads if you wish For larger dolls you can use wider strips of patterned sewing elastic, preferably swimsuit elastic, covered with fabric if you wish. If your sandals will be for display, or your doll will be in a static pose, you can use fine ribbon or other trims.

    To Make Flip Flops - mark where the big toe is on the upper sole of the flip flop and make a small hole through the upper sole in that position. Insert a loop of elastic through the hole as shown in the photo.

    To Make Slip On Sandals - take a small elastic or section of elastic and fit it under the sole so there are two loops across the top of the sandal sole, one towards the front of the foot and one closer to the back. For our scale of doll, the elastic hair bands can be crossed in an X under the sole leaving two looped ends on the top of the sandal.

    Adjust your materials and methods to work for your size of doll.

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  • 05 of 07

    Blocking the Elastic Loop on a Doll Sized Flip Flop

    Blocking the loop of elastic on the sole of a dollhouse scale flip flop.
    Photo © Lesley Shepherd

    As the elastic we are using does not knot easily we need to block the loop of elastic beneath the upper sole of the doll flip flop to stop the elastic from pulling free when it is fitted to the doll's foot. (In the case of this flip flop, it won't fit our doll but is designed to look like a regular flip flop for a shop scene. For it to fit the doll, the loop would need to be secured closer to the front of the sandal as our doll does not have a free 'big' toe to hold the elastic.)

    To prevent the elastic from running back through the hole in the sole, we have glued a thin scrap of foam through the elastic loop and against the base of the upper sole. If you are using thin elastic thread or have dolls which suit thicker soles, it may be possible to knot your elastic to hold it beneath the hole on the flip flop sole.

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  • 06 of 07

    Glue the Beach Sandal Soles and Straps Together

    Clamping the parts of a doll's beach sandal or flip flop until the glue dries.
    Photo © Lesley Shepherd

    To finish the assembly of the doll sandals, make sure your straps are the correct length, trim them if necessary (see photo of final sandals on next page to view how the straps fit). Coat the top of the base sole with glue, and fit it neatly against the upper sole and the sections of the sandal straps which pass under it. Use tweezers or your fingers to make sure the sandal straps are correctly positioned in between the sandal upper and lower soles.

    If possible, clamp the sandal layers together until the glue dries thoroughly. Make sure your sandal layers stay lined up as you clamp them.

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  • 07 of 07

    Add Finish Trims to the Beach Sandal Soles

    Dollhouse Scale beach sandals and flip flops made with hair elastics.
    Photo © Lesley Shepherd

    Once the glue has dried and your sandal soles are neatly fitted together, you can apply a layer of trim to the outside of the soles to cover the join line and hold the sandal bands in place. You can use ribbon trims, embroidery floss, braided thread, fine cord or yarn or thin strips of craft foam or faux leather to trim the soles of your sandals. we used two different sections of a wired ribbon to cover our sandals. One gives a polka dot effect, the other a satin ribbon finish.

    Cut your trim to the correct thickness to cover the seam on your sandal sole. Cut the trim to a length slightly longer than you need to go around the entire sole. Apply glue to the edge of the sole using a toothpick or glue applicator beginning at either the heel, or the inside instep of the sandal sole. Press your trim gently against the sole of the sandal, holding it place over the sandal straps or on any inside curves until the glue 'grabs'. Set the sandals aside to dry thoroughly. When dry, you can use tweezers or hemostats to stretch the bands so the sandals will fit on the feet of your doll. Or you can make a range of sandals in different sizes and colors for a miniature shoe display.

    You can decorate the straps of your sandals with a number of trims. Use a small daisy or heart punch to make tiny daisies or hearts to decorate the sandals, or make tiny buttons to sew to the straps.