A Sandal Making Extravaganza and Some Tips On Where To Purchase Supplies


About a month ago I found myself lucky worm my way into a slot in a Rachel Sees Snails sandal making class that was held in Seattle.  The class was a whirlwind hands-on experience in sandal making.  I loved the process and the fact that it doesn't require too many specialized tools to get started (having to make a huge up-front investment is always such a deterrent to diving into a new craft).  Having absolutely no experience in leather crafts, I spent the next week googling some of the basic supplies and trying to locate places to find some of the more specific ones.  Most basic leather working supplies can actually be bought on-line - either through Amazon or specialized leather stores like Tandy Leather Craft.  I headed up to MacPherson's Leather in Seattle to purchase the actual leather but in the end I ended up only buying leather for the soling there. I didn't buy any leather for the uppers because all the leather is sold in fairly large pieces - which come with a fairly large price tags - and I knew that I wouldn't want to make every pair of sandals out of the same leather.  Where's the fun in that?  I also found out that they don't sell rubber soling there unless you have a corporate account, so that required me to do some additional googling to find that product.

Etsy, of course, was a huge help and I ended up getting my rubbing soling from this store and the leather for my uppers from here.  The leather store is a bit of a pain because the leather is not organized by weight and the vast majority of the leather they sell is too thin for sandal making, so it was a slog to go through all the options to try to find the correct weight. In the end, though, it was worth the effort because I was able to buy several 12x12 pieces leather that allowed me to make a couple different pairs of sandals.
The first pair I made was for my littlest kiddo.  She had a some definite ideas in what she wanted - in particular, a diagonal strap across her foot.  Unfortunately, having such a little foot, there were some limitations as to how diagonal that diagonal strap could be but she seems to really like the way they turned out.  This is the kid that rejects about 99% of the things that I make for her, but in this case she put the sandals on right away and headed out of the house in them.  It warmed my little heart.
The second pair I made was for O and this one gave me a little more trouble.  I feel like the fit is not great and honestly, fitting sandals with kids is a bit of a pain in the butt because they are not the most patient of creatures.  She also seems a little less than enthusiastic about how these turned out but I'll give her a little more time because it's basically been raining non-stop since I finished the sandals.
And the third pair were for my most appreciative recipient - me!  I love this blue leather and knew that I wanted to make a strappy, slip-on pair of sandals with it.  Despite loving all sorts of cute sandals, I knew that they also had to be comfortable or they would just sit in my closet, unworn.  Fortunately, with all the straps, it allowed for lots of opportunity for fitting and the straps provide a lot of support around the foot (I can't wear basic flip flops because it hurts my toes too much).  To say that I love the process of sandal making would probably be a bit of an understatement but I'm beginning to realize - exactly how many sandals does someone who lives in the rainy capital of the United States need?

Now, as a disclaimer I should probably note that these sandals are not as "done" as they should be.  Technically they need a little sanding around the outside so that my imperfect cutting is not so noticeable.  Word on the street is that a Dremmel is a great tool for smoothing out the edges but with buying all the new supplies, I figured that I would be responsible with the budget and wait on purchasing yet another thing.  Being a responsible adult can be such a drag sometimes.


  1. So cool! You're amazing.

  2. These are all so great! This is next-level making! And yes, being a responsible adult can be sooo boring. But, well done.

  3. Amazing! All three pairs are great. I bet O will come around.


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