Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to MakeThe Coolest Wool Boots Ever, Easily




I never ever can get shoes that fit me right, 
that feel good..
and look cool.
 Fact is I don't think they make cool shoes for guys.

 We know some folks who make felt shoes,
 but they are just way beyond our budget,
 and who knows how well they'll fit
 and how comfortable they will be. 

 So I decided I'd figure out how to make my own pair of shoes.
  So one night I was laying
 there in the middle of the Night
 and an inspiration dawned upon me...
Hallelujah!!

It's really easy,
 so I wanted to share it with folks here.



First I got an old wool sweater
 from the Thrift store..
Cut off the sleves,
 and checked to see how it fit on my foot.

Nice and snug.

Then I had some foam I got for free at a garage sale and I cut it into two pieces with my band saw.. (scissors would work.)

One piece for the foot,

and one for my calf.   

 Here you see a Pic of the foam alongside one of the sleeves

 Then I cut a piece out of the top so I could fold it up without a bunch of excess..
 Here it is folded up

See it already kinda looks like a boot.
 Then I needle felted it up and in place...
Made em nice and thick,

Then put em in a pillow case and in the washing machine with some Dr. Bronners soap.

I set the timer for 5 minutes so they wouldn't shrink into baby booties.

I almost left em in too long,
 but I put em on my feet while still wet
With three thick pairs of socks, just to make sure they'd shrink to fit...
 
 and they formed perfectly to my feet.
I had to wear em wet for a long time, I wanted to be sure they'd mold to my feet.

They did, like a snug glove.
  Then it was just a matter of a bunch of needle felting to thicken it up and put a design on it.
I worked a lot on the soles to make them fit my arches and feel good when walking with em.
 You can see em here with my sandals made by our friend Jolaine strapped on for outside wear.
 Here they are without the sandals.
 I painted the bottoms with Latex rubber. I had some laying around... I put on three thick coats and kind of pulled it up to make knobby treads.  This way I can wear them around the house without the bottoms wearing out


 They are so comfortable and totally warm out in the snow...


Now you can make your own.... See how easy?





72 comments:

  1. just a note, yea, sometimes you have an idea that you wonder why it hasnt been tried, then you think ,just do it yourself. you thought of the idea so why not do it. i had an idea to get a larger amount of chocolate in a milk like beverage. the ancient peoples drank a hundred cups of chocolate in celebrations. different than coffe that theobromine meaning god to them. then i thought ,well make your own version of a high cocoa drink, though not as high as hundred cups of cocoa. but just a little bit more without having to consume so much sugar in a chocolate drink or candy bar. havent tried this yet but the recipe would be like part soy milk and part clean spring water . add a fair amount of unsweeteneed cocoa some organic maple syrup and organic vanilla. get the right proportions. not too sweet shake it up. a way to get the chocolate theobromine ,god's plant thing without ordering some sweet drink at a coffe shop. not much for coffee so i thought chocolate would be interesting. just thought up that recipe. soy milk, some pure water so it wont be too milky or dense -- maple syrup is amazing , and of course vanilla is just right. a high chocolate drink without using dairy or sugar. the main thing is the large amount of chocolate which at one time was used a lot. this unsweetened chocolate is becoming so popular these days , so ithought, why not just make a high cocoa content drink yourself instead of expensive boutique chocolate bars. never really tried a large amount of chocolate. in this culture ,chocolate is mostly a high sugar thing. shoes are really cruddy today. ''new'' shoes are cracking after only a month. cheapy merchandise. wasteful . shoes should be made to a standard. or do it yourself like u did.

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    1. And pretty expensive too for crap shoes that crack after only a month, multiplied by the number of people in your family..... *cringe* It's good to figure out how to make and mend. :)

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  2. holy crap Jeff, these are outrageous! I am in awe. I don't totally get how you fixed the foam into place? So awesome. You guys are so resourceful.

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    1. These are absolutely beautiful. I'm definitely going to give this a try. I have a terrible time trying to find anything to put on my size 12 feet (I'm female). Most female shoes and boots only go up to a size 10. Thank you for the ingenious idea!

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    2. And the beauty is you can make them fit like a glove....Still wearing mine

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  3. The foam was just used for making the shape and for a backing for the needle felting, then I took it out. Fun Fun Fun

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    1. The tree motif is awesome and goes so perfectly with your whole design theme in your art. Great idea and executed to the nth degree. I am really impressed! Did they get very wet in the snow and does that take a long time to dry? Whoever made those sandals has a pretty good design idea, too!

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  4. No, stayed dry in the snow... I warmed up some lanolin and painted it on, then needle felted it into the fibers. They are pretty waterproof. The sandals were made by our friend at Market Jolaine, she's the moccasin maker there. We've each traded her for a couple pairs of Mocs and a pair of sandals. She does great work.

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    1. These boots are absolutely fantastic! Im inspired bow to get creative before next winter (in Australia). Can you explain what you mean by needle felting the lanolin in for this novice tho please 😊😊

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  5. Infusion Fibers: Yeah, sorry, I didn't explain that very well. We plan on making some more and trying a totally different and possibly easier technique. Actually wet felting the boot from scratch directly on our feet by putting on a few pairs of socks, wrapping that with plastic, then covering with fiber, getting it all wet and soapy then putting in a big trash bag on our feet, then massaging each others feet till it felts. Will do a blog on that, could work really well, plus you get a free foot massage.

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    1. Wish you would give more detailed instructions. This doesn't make sense to me.

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    2. I do understand, that is complicated for you. The explanation is made for people who already knows the topic. For you is most important to understand, how felt is made. My advise is , go to YouTube and put the question very clearly. You will have video and will learn how to. It is simple. After, you will com back and learn, what to from felt.
      Is going to be like material.

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  6. Oh yeah, that sounds great!! I am in love with these ones - now I can't wait to see your next version! With winter coming on here these boots are just whats needed for the cold - I'll get the kids to massage my feet!! Thanks for sharing your great idea.

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  7. Kim (Watermelon Kidz)March 27, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    These are awesome!!! They look like $400 boots! Obviously made with lots of love. I want a pair. teehee

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  8. the rain is here but it will be clear soon. not really a harsh winter this year. but some have much heavier ,like the snows you have. weather can be dealt with.

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  9. These are the greatest boots. Thank you for sharing. You made is sound easy, but you have a lot of know how and resources most of us don't have. So jealous!

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  10. Thanks Diane, it was a lot of fun

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  11. I can't wait to try this!! Really amazing. I don't understand the foam part, was the foam cut round for shaping the boot? How long did you use the foam? During sewing/washing?

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    1. Hi, I just cut 2 pieces in the general size of my foot and lower leg. Then used these while I did the needle felting. You have to take em out every once and a while and move em around so they don't get attached...

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  12. Beautiful! I'm agoing to try this. I wonder if its faster felting with a dog hair brush?

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  13. I absolutely love these and am so grateful you would share the how-to!

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  14. And how do we find Jolaine and those sandals?

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  15. At Saturday Market in Eugene Oregon

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  16. would you mind posting a picture of the latex rubber soles? What an awesome idea! Does it adhere well to the felt? I just had the idea the other day to use the latex rubber for the outer coating on my kids mittens, but wasn't sure how well it would adhere, and how flexible it would be... ??
    Thanks!
    Mrs H
    Fairbanks, Alaska

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    1. Hi, I'm not sure where those boots are right now. It adheres really well if the wool is clean. Probably be great for mittens..I'd work it in a bit, get it bonded...totally flexible, sorry it took so long to reply, I don't get notified about comments.

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  17. Fantastic boots! Very impressed!!!! I'm an Artist from the UK

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  18. Even though it has been said a lot here.........Holy Crap, these are absolutely amazing!!

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  19. These are OUTSTANDONG. Gotta find a sweater tgat really knocks my sox off!!!!!!!

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  20. a wonderful piece of wearable art...awesome job....going to attempt a pair...

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  21. These are fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

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  22. On knees, genuflecting!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

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  23. These are amazing. I would love to try to make a pair for my grandchildren. How thick did you make the soles, sides, toe, etc? Where did you add the felting for the insole for the arch? Did you use other felting wool or the same from the sweater that you cut to make the base?

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    1. It's all pretty thick, it was a thick sweater to begin with and I had lots of wool Roving think it's called...Needle felted that on pretty thick. Had some Latex rubber paintable that I painted a bunch layers on the sole with.

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  24. thank you so much for sharing!
    they are on my facebook page because i shared the picture.
    i love your blog and from now on you are on my blogrole!

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    1. Thank you, sorry it took so long to reply, I wasn't being notified of comments.

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  25. This is such a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing and telling how you form fit these fun looking boots. I will be trying my hand at these just after the holidays... I get to perform my first wedding this year!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/cobprojectcampus/

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  26. Wow! love your site and the Boots. I'm a crafter and recycle everything so these are on the table for me...nothing ever fits my feet...

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  27. These are really great! To answer the question about the dog brush, it wouldn't work. The needles used for felting have barbs on them that push the fibers into the wool and locks them in. They are used commercially to make the felt mats in the trunk of your vehicles. The wire dog brush doesn't have these barbs, so there is no way for the fibers to get locked in.

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  28. How about a how to video. That would be great. The boots are absolutely beautiful.

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    1. Right now all my time goes to just surviving...... love the video idea, hopefully will have time in the future

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  29. I have a jumper thats 30% wool. Would that work for this project. I love your boots!

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  30. I love your boots! I have a sweater that is 30% wool. Would that work for this project?

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  31. I have an endless supply of wool coming. As crafty and creative as I am, this is up my alley! You are brilliant! I love the leather effect also, I can do that too! And the latex rubber I may have somewhere in my house waiting for me to use, origianlly bought to use on bottom of knitted slippers Grandma did. I was wondering, why didn't you make a cast out of plaster (so cheap to buy), and the plaster would have the space for the sock you'd wear in the boot done, then you'd have this shape forever and save on foam and time pulling that all around to make sure the felting doesn't stick to your "soft" frame? There are all kinds of things we can do with this technology ;-) We also can make every day shoes, even shape and paint them to look just like tennis shoes! Or cowboy boots! LOL! "My best friends are minds who pity the closed." (Marie Griffin Skonecki - quote)

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    1. Plaster mightwork with other types of felting, but not needle felting. The needle wouldn't last very long, he he

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  32. Need to make some for NEXT winter

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  33. I like the idea of making plaster moulds, much more pleasant than wearing the wet wool while it felts, could make the boots using the plaster mould then remove from mould and use the foam for the needle felting or am I missing something? I am keen to try these as I had half of one of my feet amputated after an injury so impossible to buy shoes, I knit slippers to fit but would be great to be able to make boots or shoes to fit

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  34. What is "needle felting" ? I have never heard the term before .

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    1. Check you tube, sure it's there. It's using a barbed needle to felt with...very cool. here's one link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU6tihDWHhQ

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  35. Check you tube, sure it's there. It's using a barbed needle to felt with...very cool. here's one link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU6tihDWHhQ

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  36. Thank you for sharing your lovely boot idea, I love functional things that are artistic, as well. Did you ever try making them with the massage technique you mentioned? I am making myself a pair of these for the winter here in Minnesota. It will be my first attempt at needle felting, although I have made felt, I have never embellished in that way. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. You are welcome. No I haven't found the time to try the other way yet, it would probably be easier... Have fun

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  37. does the sandal maker sell them anywhere ?

    adore the shoes and your awesome incentive :D

    and HI from Tasmania :)

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    1. Hi, I'm afraid she has ni website, but sells at Saturday Market in Eugene OR.

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  38. I stumbled on these amazing boots on Pinterest while trying to figure out how to make socks for my grandson. I think this is the best idea I've come across...not exactly sure how I will keep him in wet boots all day this time of year. But wanted to thank you for sharing... also excited that Saturday Mkt. is still going in Eugene... I used to sell there 40 years ago!

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    1. Either wax the wool....apply a thin coat of wax and soak it in with a hair dryer...or use scotch guard spray.

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  39. Hi, I don’t understand how to praise of your site. It’s truly amazing! http://winterworkboots.com/

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  40. Looks like you glued on a leather heel guard and a pair of flip flop bottoms....and added a long leather string to the heel guard to lace them. E-6000 and shoe goo are good for glueing this kind of thing.

    Flip flop bottoms are not good for snow but if you have worn out or ugly snow boots you can cut off the soles and glue them on....

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    1. No, I had a pair of nice Sandals that I actually put on over the boots for the snow...Otherwise I painted the bottoms with Latex Rubber.

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  41. This is the most beautiful thing I've seen today. Thank you for sharing this idea with the rest of us!
    Now, I just can't wait for winter to come again >:D

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  42. They are beautiful! I would definitely try it thank you!
    I've never tried felting what is pinning? To give it that fluffy look. And you painted on it to, did you just use fabric paint?

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    1. Hi, no I didn't paint them...that is different colored wool I needle felted the design on. I don't know what "pinning "is...... They still are my favorite shoes years later.

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  43. ONE OF THE MOST ORIGINAL AND STUNNING PIECES OF ARTWEAR I HAVE EVER SEEN!!

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    1. Thank you so much, wish I had time to make more

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  44. Really nice idea and great work, thanks for the inspiration!!!
    A great "Danke" from Germany :)

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