Intro: Custom Cushions for Your Shoes
Why go to the store and buy gels for your shoes when they never fit right. With in a couple of hours you can have custom ones mad for your feet. Here's a quick picture of the final product.
Step 1: Decide How You Want to Make Your Patterns.
Get a piece of white paper and draw out both feet. Then decide and draw what area to want to make as the gels.
After you have come up with a pattern. There are many ways to make the mold. The easiest may cut out your pattern and go buy some clay and make impressions in the clay. Keep in mind that it is a mold so every thing needs to be in reverse. The more advanced is take a picture or scan your pattern that you drew on the white paper. Trace it out in Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. if you have access to a laser like I do, then life is good. To get access look up on the web this DIY Work Shop called TechShop. You get a membership and they will teach you how to operate there Epilog Laser. Then you can go buy a sheet of acrylic and bring in your traced file and let the laser do the work. The benefit is that you can add text, patterns, anything you want. Yes you can do that is clay but who wants to write backwards. Plus the laser looks very professional.
Step 2: Supplies
Now were ready for the fun part make your custom gels. The supplies that you need are the two part silicone. There this company called SmoothOn that you want to check out. They have some great products. The one that I've used for years is called DragonSkin it is very soft. There are many types for this project I suggest using the DragonSkin 10 medium. It gives you a pot life of 20 minutes and you can Demold in 5 hours Back to the supplies:
DragonSkin 10 medium
Two paper cups
Colored Dye (optional)
Step 3: Prep the Mold
Once you have all your materials. First cut the paper cups down to size. This is for the part A and part B of the DragonSkin. Pour equal parts of the silicone into separate cups. Then spray your mold release onto the mold. Be sure to shake the can and spray it in a well ventilated area.
Step 4: Mix Silicone
Once you have coated the mold. Get out your ceramic bowl and pour the equal parts of the silicone into the bowl. Use the mixing sticks to get everything out quickly. Remember you have 20 minutes to do this when there mixed together. Try to mix both parts and get it poured in 10 minutes other wise it's starts to set up. When mixing the two parts I like to add some colored dye. If you do you only need a very little. Mix it to a consistent color and your ready to pour into mold.
Step 5: Pouring Silicone
When pouring the silicone be sure to get as close as you can to the mold. Reason for this is you want as less air bubbles as possible. After silicone is poured wipe off around mold be careful not to get dust or particles in the gel. After that pick up your mold and lightly drop it a couple of times to get the air bubbles to come up. Wait a few minutes and do it again if it around 20 minutes you might have to take a toothpick and pop the bubbles. After that cover it so no dust particles settle on top.
Step 6: Demold
Time for clean up. I like to take the excess and put it in another cup. So you can test the silicone if you need your custom gels asap. If not wait until the next day. DragonSkin 10 medium dries in 5 hours. When de molding just take your fingertip or a toothpick and press on the side and slowly pull it out. Very easy. Now insert them in your shoes.