04 February 2012

Paper Mache Shoe Lasts

Today I spent some time making some paper mache shoe lasts. Lasts are basically a mold in the shape of a foot for the cobbler to use in shoe constriction. With a last, the shoe maker can pound nails and poke pins into the shoe no problem! Ouch! My feet feel for the poor last! Anyways, I think it is probably one of the most important objects for shoe making if you want to get a smooth looking professional looking shoe. I read online somewhere that this idea could maybe work. I am very excited to try it out! :)

Here is how I did it:

4 1/2 cups water

Paper ripped into strips

Old shoes (preferably thin like ballet flats) or your feet

Tin foil (or maybe plastic wrap would work if using shoe)
Towels (its messy!)

Paper Mache mixture:
Boil 4 Cups water on stove. While waiting for water to boil, mix ½ cup flour and ½ cup water in a bowl until smooth. Add to boiling water and allow to simmer for a couple minutes (less than 5). Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
Wrap foil around your foot or old shoe, making the foil as smooth as possible. I ripped mine down the middle to allow it to wrap around my ankle and stay one piece.
Soak strips of paper in flour mixture and use to cover the foot shape. Make sure to overlap paper and let it lay in different directions for maximum strength.

When fully covered, carefully clean the area right away. The flour is really sticky! If you used your foot, carefully cut open the heel and carefully slide foot out of mache shape. Use extra paper to carefully cover the cut line back up. Allow to dry fully.

I plan to fill them with scrap fabric to help them hold their shape. 

Note: After finishing these, I went online again and found THIS. The whole post is pretty sweet, because the guy makes  pair of shoes from start to finish, but the link should be to the part where he makes lasts. So maybe if I ever decide to buy Alginate and Permastone I can make some more durable lasts in the future. 

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