Making shoes with minimum shoe making supplies in 2019

Making shoes with minimum shoe making supplies in 2019

minimum shoe making supplies

How you can make shoes with minimum shoe making supplies is one of the first questions you ask me. Working with minimum shoe making supplies for a beginner in shoemaking is so important.

In this post, I will teach a shoemaking technique you can use to make shoes, if you don’t have all the supplies for shoemaking.

It can be a difficult task to find all needed shoe making supplies at once, especially the sewing machine. I decided to show you how you can make shoes like a pro WITHOUT the sewing machine!

Here I am not talking about hand stitching that can be a good option for you as well. Many of my students that still don’t have a sewing machine do just that. They started sewing by hand and achieved great results!

See below, few works of  my students that also didn’t have all needed shoe making supplies and just started to overcome this problem using their creativity!

No shoemaking supplies = Use your creativity

ankle-boots made by hand

Learn Shoemaking & How To Work With Minimum tool and materials

This is one of the options you have, if you still don’t know what shoemaking tools and materials you need to use but you have another option that you will love for sure! 

I wrote very useful post ‘’What tools do you need to get started shoe making courses online?’’ where you can find a list of minimum supplies for shoe making you will need at the beginning of your learning!

You can start making shoes with minimum supplies for shoe making right now if you will make your shoes with raw edges!

Sandals-with-straps-by-sveta-kletina

Because if you can‘t find these important tools/supply for shoe making as sewing machine, you still can make a shoe/sandal without it! 

The fact is, that raw edges of the shoe/sandal upper are the edges that don’t have folding and stitches. [How to make a shoe with folding you can learn in this post ‘’How To Fold a Shoe Upper?![Making of Shoes]

In the cobbling shoes process with the raw edge, the lining and the upper connected with each other simply with the glue. This is how you assemble them to have a complete shoe. 

So, if you are a beginner in shoemaking and already have some shoe making supplies, you can already start to make a shoe using this approach that I am gonna teach you in this post. 

BTW, if you still need to find some supplies for your shoe making craft, you can check my online shoemaking store. Here you can find everything you need to start learning shoemaking craft.

For me personally is very important to explain to you that, if you are really serious about shoemaking and really want to make a shoes on your own, you can begin with minimum tools and materials. You can do it regardless of where you are, where you work!  

You can follow my weekly  blog posts because I have written a ton of shoemaking tutorials that explains many different shoe making techniques, different process of making of shoes, shoemaking tools we use and how to work with them.

Another very good blog that I recommend is  Bespoke Shoes Unlaced

If you just want to have some “design experimenting”, check out this option  nike gives you. 

Anyway, it doesn’t matter where you will find information about shoemaking, the main thing is, keep working and keep learning shoemaking craft! 

And the first thing that you can do, as a beginner, is to make sandals with raw edges.

Sandals with straps full

How you can make shoes with minimum shoe making supplies

The upper part of the sandals [That I’m making in the video tutorial- bellow] will be constructed from straps because it is a very easy pattern making process.  

It doesn’t require previous shoemaking skills, you just need to have these shoe making supplies :

  • Leather for upper and lining

Shoe upper is the top part of the shoe that covers the foot and keep the shape of the foot during wearing. The edge of this part of the shoe are attached to the insole and closed with the outsole. 

The lining is the inner part of a shoe that is attached to the upper part of a shoe and together they keep the shape of the foot. Lining repeats the upper shape and touches the feet.

You can work, actually, with leather for upper only, because for lining you can use the same leather. In the making of straps with raw edges, you really won’t consume a lot of leather and that’s why you can use for lining the upper leather to make your shoes.

If you want to know what type of leather you need to make your first-ever shoe, check this post ‘’Best Leather Types To Work With For Beginners In Shoemaking’’

To buy leather online for your shoes check these two leather suppliers:

A&A Crack and Sons 

Buy leather online

  • Leather for insoles, soles and heels
Vegetable tanned leather for shoemakinjg

The insole is the inner part of the shoe that holds all other shoe parts together: upper and lining, outsoles and heels. It gives the needed support to the feet and regarding its strength, it keeps the entire body weight.

The outsole is the bottom part of a shoe that touches the ground during wearing of the footwear.  It must be made from durable enough materials to protect your feet from any damage.

Use any utility knife. Important thing is to have a good blade. If you want to know which one I use and how to sharpen it, check it in this post ‘’Simple Knife For Shoemaking Craft’’

  •  Shoe last
pumps shoe last

There is a special shoe last to make sandals and it is a sandal last. If you have some shoe last and you really don’t know what type of shoe last is it, check this post ‘’Shoe last types’’. Here you can find out a full explanation about different shoe lasts types.

Shoe last is a form that repeats the shape of the human feet. We use shoe last in shoemaking to make shoes. Shoemer is molding the shoe upper on that shoe last. There are different shoe last types suitable to cobbling different shoe types and have a variety of different toe shapes and heel heights. 

If you are a beginner and don’t know which shoe last you need to have to start making shoes, here is very useful for you post ‘’Perfect Shoe Last To Learn Shoemaking’’ where I explain what is the best shoe last type you need to have. 

  • Cement / glue​​Use ordinary contact glue for leather.

Make shoes without a shoe last.

Regarding a shoe last, if you don’ t have any shoe last and have only listed above supplies for shoe making , you still can make sandals with raw edges. 

Many years ago I made shoemaking tutorial on “How to make a sandal without shoe last”, working only with your feet. This is actually my first ever shoe making tutorial I made and it is without any verbal explanations. 

That’s why I decided to upgrade it and to add my detailed explanation, so you will follow my instructions and will make sandals at your own pace at home without any special shoemaking tools.

I want you to understand that based on this knowledge you will gain now, you will be able to make different designs of your sandals. 

My goal here is to show you that it is possible to learn shoemaking online. If you are a total beginner and never tried yourself in this craft, after making these simple sandals you will know for sure, if shoemaking is for you. Then you can move on and learn it professionally online with me or in other places you can find in your town. 

I have 20 different shoemaking courses, and you can choose different programs with different shoe types. 

Now let’s learn what tools and materials you will need to make these desert sandals.

Shoemaking tools and materials for sandal making

1.Cutting mat

Use any cutting board, even cutting board for vegetables.

2. Paper A4

3. Cardboard

5. Leather for the sole

You can use vegetable-tanned leather (the belly part) with the thickness of 3-4mm

6. Leather for upper

You can use a piece of some old leather jacket you may have or buy some leather in the online store, I listed previously. 

7. Pencil

8. Ruler

9. Utility knife

In this post “Simple Knife For Shoemaking Craft” you can learn more about utility knives. 

10. Some hammer you have at home or spoon

11. Puncher. 

It is a professional shoemaking tool we need to make holes in the shoe upper but you can use some awl to make the holes as well. 

12. Masking tape

13. Few markers with different colors

14. Sandpaper

15. Dremel drill

It is a non-traditional shoemaking tool and you can buy it at your local hardware store. It has many uses in making shoes and if you want to learn more about it read this post ‘’8 best ways to use Dremel drill in shoemaking”.

16. Buckle for shoemaking

17. Contact glue.

Prepare all these simple tools and materials before you will start making sandals.

Making Handcrafted Sandals with NO Shoemaking Tools (updated 2020)

In the first few steps of this sandal making tutorial, we will make a pattern of the insole using one of your feet. As a rule, we have one foot bigger than another, so use a larger foot. 

Then we will make a basic pattern of the desert sandal working with paper straps. 

In professional pattern making, we work differently using the shoe last but here I show the approach on how to make sandals without shoe lasts working with your foot and paper pattern. 

Now, let’s start.

Step by step shoemaking tutorial where You will learn how to make sandals with no shoemaking tool (without shoe last)

  1. Place your foot on cardboard and draw the outline.

    Draw the outline of your foot.
    Drawing the outline of a foot in handcrafted sandals

  2. Reduce the outline of your foot on 2 mm from each side in the instep area.

    This is your pattern of the insole.
    making the sandal's insole

  3. Cut it out.

    You can it using simple utility knife.sandal's insole cutting

  4. If you have some bumps in the insole pattern, smooth it with sandpaper

    Use a gentle sandpaper with high number of the grit.pattern making of the sandal's insole

  5. Cut long enough 5 paper straps: 4 with a width of 2 cm and 1 with a width of 1 cm

    Write numbers on each paper strap
    paper sandals strap to make handcrafted sandals

  6. Attach together 3 and 4 strap with masking tape

    This is how you can get long enough paper strap to overlap your foot later in more advanced steps of this handcrafted sandals making.
    paper pattern making of the sandals strap

  7. Place your foot on the insole pattern and put all straps around your foot creating the desirable sandal design.

    Make sure that one of the front straps holds your pinky toe and it doesn’t pop outdesigning the sandals right away on the foot

  8. Take markers and mark the placement of each strap on the insole’s pattern using different colors for each strap.

    It will help you to know which strap belongs to which mark on the sandal insole.
    placement of each strap on the insole during sandals making

  9. On the straps that lay on the inner side of your foot make a mark in the shape of V

    It will help to attach all straps in the right place during sandals making
    marks of the inner side on the sandals straps

  10. Also mark on each strap the line of the insole pattern.

    Later in more advanced steps of sandal making,  you will use these marks to attach leather straps to the leather insole.
    marks of the insole edge on the sandals straps

  11. On the strap that passes the ankle, mark the line for the buckle behind the ankle bone

    Here you will attach a buckle in more advanced process of this handcrafted sandals making
    mark of the buckle on the sandals strap

  12. Take off all straps and make clear for you the placement of each strap on the insole pattern.

    Use markers.
    checking the marks on the sandals pattern

  13. Make marks on the insole pattern  where the heel strap will be

    Mark the center of the insole pattern in the heel area. Mark a center on the narrow back-strap (though which will pass the strap with the buckle), place it to the mark of the center in the heel area of the insole pattern, and mark the edges of this strap on the insole pattern.

    mark of the back strap on the sandal's insole

  14. Place all paper straps on the cardboard and transfer each mark they have.

    During making the cardboard pattern of the strap that will have holes to enter and close a buckle, add an extra 45 mm to the mark of the buckle and cut this edge with the rounded shape.
    pattern making of the sandal strap where we add 45 mm

  15. To the mark of the insole’s edge add extra 15 mm for the lasting allowance.

    We need to have this lasting allowance in order to attach it to the insole
    lasting allowance  in making sandals

  16. Make the V-shaped mark of the inner side and make a cut along the mark of the insole edge.

    Later, through this cut, you will mark a line to know where to put glue and how to attach the strap to the insole during the making of the sandals.
    mark for lasting allowance for the sandal's strap

  17. Make marks for the holes in the distance of 8 mm – 1 cm form the mark of the buckle.

    This is a basic pattern of the strap 4 in my tutorial
    holes for the sandal's strap with buckle

  18. In the making of the basic pattern for the strap 3 that will hold the buckle, add an extra 15 mm to one edge for the lasting allowance, and to the other edge (where we have a mark of the buckle) add 40 mm, make a mark.

    This extra material we need to attach the buckle to the strap. Make a cut along the mark of the insole edge.

    pattern making of the sandal's strap that holds the buckle

  19. In the making of the cardboard pattern of the back (narrow) strap, add an extra 2 cm (the width of the sandals strap) to the mark of the top line plus 8 mm for the underline.

    This is how you will create a loop through which will pass the strap with the buckle. Also, don’t forget about the lasting allowance you will need to add.

    pattern making of the back sandal's strap

  20. After you will make all these cardboard patterns of all sandal straps, use them to make another pattern of the straps, where you will need to enlarge the entire width of each strap on 6-8 mm.

    Later, in the process of sandal making, you will use these bigger patterns of the straps to cut leather. This is how we make sandals with a raw edge in the straps in professional sandal making
    another pattern making of the sandals straps

  21. Cut each strap twice.

    Once you cut it, placing the cardboard pattern in one direction, and second you cut when the pattern is turned over.
    At the end of this post check another tutorial where I teach how to cut leather straps very easy, especially for beginners in shoemaking.

    leather straps for the sandals making after cutting

  22. Put contact glue on the inner side of each half of each strap

    Wait 10-15 min and attach halves of each strap using a hammer or spoon.
    place contact glue on the sandal's leather straps

  23. Make a pattern for the sandal sole

    Transfer the outline of the insole pattern to the new piece of cardboard. In the toe area of the sole pattern, enlarge the pattern approx on 2 mm. In more advanced steps of your sandal making, when you will attach the leather insole to the sandal sole, you will create a lifted toe above the ground because of this enlargement. This is how it must be in real, professional sandal making

    pattern making of the sandal's sole

  24. Place the first cardboard patterns of the straps (Basic pattern )  on each wide strap and cut out extra.

    Transfer all marks with some pen or marker

    cutting of the extra in the leather straps of the sandals

  25. To make beautiful and accurate sandals’ straps burn the edges of each sandal strap with a lighter.

    Also, if you want, you can color the edges with the marker that suits the color of the leather upper.

    burning the edge of the sandal's leather  straps during sandals making

  26. Make a hole for the pin of the buckle

    Use puncher or awl.
    making the holes with puncher in the sandal's strap

  27. Skive the edge on the inner side of the strap

    We need to do it to reduce the thickness of the leather layers. This is how it is done in professional sandal making
    skiving the sandals straps

  28. Fold this strap in the middle of the hole and mark line on the inner side of the strap, where you will attach the edge of the strap with the buckle.

    Put glue, wait 10-15 min, place the buckle in the hole, and attach the edge. 
    making of the sandals strap with buckle

  29. Making a loop in the back strap of sandals.

    Take the back strap and mark a line on the inner side of the strap by folding the edge along the mark of the topline. Skive the edge with a utility knife. Place glue, wait 10-15 min, attach the edge to the mark you made previously, hammer it well.

  30. Make holes on the leather strap (it is strap 3 in my tutorial) to close the buckle while wearing your sandals

    Use a puncher or awl.
    making holes in the ankle strap to close the sandals

  31. Sandal’s insole and sole making

    Take leather for the insole and sandal sole. Place the patterns of the insole and sole on the inner side of the leather and cut them out. Make sure you place the pattern correctly. To transfer outlines of the insole and sole in the making of the second half of your sandals turn over these patterns. Cut them out.
    sandal's insole ans sole making from vegetable tanned leather

  32. Then make cuts in the marks of the insole pattern for the straps

    We need it to transfer these marks to the inner side of the leather insole.
    marks in the sandal's insole for the leather straps

  33. Place the insole pattern on the inner side of the leather insole and transfer all marks of the straps

    So you will know where to attach all straps during this sandal making. Use the same colors of the markers for each strap’s mark
    marks on the sandal's insole for the sandal making

  34. With a Dremel drill sand a little bit inside of the front marks

    So when you attach the front straps, you will have a place to attach them between the insole and sole and you will not feel them while wearing these sandals.  This is how we usually do in the professional making of the sandals and you can do the same things in this handcrafted sandals making
    sanding the sandal leather insole in the making of the handcrafted sandals

  35. Take two front sandal straps and put glue on the inner side until the mark.

    Place glue also on the insole. Wait 10-15 min until the glue will dry
    preparation for the lasting of the straps in handcrafted sandals making

  36. Put glue also in the lasting allowance of all other straps.

    Wait 10-15 min before you will move on to the next strap of this handcrafted sandals making
    placing glue on all leather straps

  37. Attach front straps to the insole

    Make sure you attach them correctly. Straps that have marks of the inner side must be attached to the inner side of the insole. Hammer it well.
    attaching the front sandals straps during handcrafted sandals making

  38. Skive the edges of the attached front straps

    We need it for the better quality of the sandals sole that you will attach in more advanced steps of your sandal making process
    skiving of the front leather straps of the sandals

  39. Put glue in the inner side of the insole in the placements of all other straps

    Wait 10-15 min until the glue will dry
    place the glue on the insole during handcrafted sandals making

  40. Enter the ankle strap into the loop of the back narrow strap

    Remember that the buckle must be from the side of the ankle bone and not from the side of the instep
    enter the ankle strap with buckle ithrough the loop of the back strap

  41. Attach all straps to the insole.

    Hammer well. Skive all leather edges to have a flat sandal’s bottom
    skiving of the sandals straps attached to the insole in the sandal making process

  42. Place the contact glue on the entire surface of the insole and sandal sole

    Place 2 layers of the glue waiting 10-15 min before each layer will dry out
    placing the glue on entire surfaces of the sandal's insole and sole

  43. In the meantime make a heel tap

    Use the pattern of the insole to make a pattern for this heel tap. Copy the back part of the insole until the widest place in the heel area and add an extra 5 mm. This is how you will get the most common length of the heel tap. The shape of the heel tap can be different according to your sandal design. Cut this pattern out
    pattern making of the heel tap in the process of handcrafted sandals making

  44. Place this tap pattern on the inner side of the leather and cut it out.

    You can use also some rubber instead of the leather.
    cutting of the heel tap in sandals making process

  45. Attach the sole to the insole starting from the heel

    n the toe area fold a little bit the sole to attach it to the insole edge. This is how you can create the lifted toe edge in your sandals. Hammer well.
    attaching of the sandal's insole with sandal's sole during making of the handcrafted sandals

  46. Place the pattern of the tap on the sandal sole

    Make a mark of the tap’s end
    mark of the heel tap on the sandals sole

  47. Place the glue on the inner side of the heel tap and on the sandal sole

    Wait 10-15 min. Attach the heel tap following the mark and sole edge
    attaching the heel tap to the sandals sole in the process of handcrafted sandals making

  48. Sand with Dremel drill the edge of the insole, sole, and heel’s tap

    This is how you will create an even and smooth surface in the handcrafted sandals making
    sanding the sandal's sole edge with dremel  during this sandals making

  49. Then sand it with sandpaper.

    To create a shiny sandal’s edge use a little bit of water and sand in one direction. Work with different numbers of the sandpaper grit. The higher the number is, the more gentle sandpaper is. This is how you can make your sandals look professionally without any special waxes, creams, and shoemaking tools.
    finishing the edge of the sandal's sole in this step of handcrafted sandals making

This is it. 

 Now you have a new pair of desert sandals that you made without shoe lasts and without using any professional shoemaking tools.

But what you need to know is that during this sandal making you used many different professional approaches that we use in the making of the sandals working with all needed shoemaking tools. 

So after making these sandals you will have a clear idea if this craft is for you or not. 

Make your decision and move on to learn shoemaking professionally. 

Now, you have a chance to watch and learn my upgraded shoemaking tutorial where I explain all these steps on how to make handcrafted sandals at your own pace at your home.

Can I make shoes with Minimum shoe making supplies using the approach with the raw edges in the shoe upper?

Now, I made a special shoemaking tutorial where I explain very detailed on how to make straps with raw edges for your sandals.

Using this approach of pattern making and the process of making itself, you can make a shoe with the raw edge. For example, you can make simple flat ballet shoes where the top line has a raw edge.

shoe hand made by Sveta Kletina

There is one difference in the making of the flat ballet shoe upper with raw edges and in the making of the sandal upper with raw edge:

-You need to attach lining and upper part together  in the throat area only in order to make it possible to place stiffeners between upper and lining during lasting process.

Stiffeners are the inner parts of the shoe that keep the shape of the footwear and protect your feet. In the toe area, it is the toe puff and in the heel area, it is the counter. 

Stiffeners are made from different materials that must have one important quality- they are soft but during shoemaking process must become solid to keep the shape of the footwear.

There are a few materials you can use in making your shoes but I advise you to check these two materials the most:

In this post, ‘’Why You should Use Minimum Nails in Lasting of the Shoe Toe?’’ check how to use vegetable tanned leather to make your stiffeners from.

Anyways, if you want to know more about this process of creation of the flat ballet shoes with raw edges, comment bellow ‘’ Make a tutorial’’ and I will prepare it for you. 

What you already can learn is one of the super useful pattern making approaches that will help you to make pretty flat ballet shoes. Learn it in this post  ‘’Pretty Ballerinas Pattern Making’’. 

Now, let’s learn step by step how you can make shoes without all-important shoe making supplies

Watch it, learn it and use it in your shoemaking craft! 

General F.A.Q

What shoe making supplies I need to make shoes?

The list could be too long, but here are basic shoemaking tools and materials you need to make shoes: Shoe last Shoemaker’s hammer Shoemaker’s pincers Shoemaker’s rasp Shoemaker’s knife Leather for upper, lining, sole, insole Chemical non woven sheets for stiffiners Shank board Texon Steel shank Nails

What is Shoe upper?

Shoe upper is the top part of the shoe that covers the foot and keep the shape of the foot during wearing. The edge of this part of the shoe are attached to the insole and closed with the outsole.

What is lining in shoes?

The lining is the inner part of a shoe that is attached to the upper part of a shoe and together they keep the shape of the foot. Lining repeats the upper shape and touches the feet.

What is an insole?

The insole is the inner part of the shoe that holds all other shoe parts together: upper and lining, outsoles and heels. It gives the needed support to the feet and regarding its strength, it keeps the entire body weight.

What is an outsole?

The outsole is the bottom part of a shoe that touches the ground during wearing of the footwear. It must be made from durable enough materials to protect your feet from any damage.

What is a shoe last?

Shoe last is a form that repeats the shape of the human feet. We use shoe last in shoemaking to make shoes. Shoemaker is molding the shoe upper on that shoe last. There are different shoe last types suitable to cobbling different shoe types and have a variety of different toe shapes and heel heights.

What are stiffeners in shoemaking & why do we need them?

Stiffeners are the inner parts of the shoe that keep the shape of the footwear and protect your feet. In the toe area, it is the toe puff and in the heel area, it is the counter. Stiffeners are made from different materials that must have one important quality- they are soft but during shoemaking process must become solid to keep the shape of the footwear.

Shoemaking Courses
  • July 2, 2020

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