This instructable is all about how to create sandals for a fursuit. (Google it if you are confused, but chances are, if you're looking at this article, you're already aware of what they are, as you probably own one yourself!)
The process is easy, but it takes a good bit of time and a rudimentary knowledge of sewing. (You should know how to use a needle and thread.) And for method 2 you will need to know how to use a rivet gun, which is easy, and I learned how to do it myself. If you're really confused, ask an employee at the store you buy it from. Someone should know how to use it! (Rivet idea is adapted from this tutorial made by Luphinus and Diadexxus: http://dia.critter.net/tutorials/sandals/ . I recommend looking to that as another option as it is of a different design and is also time proven to work!)
Fursuit sandals will protect your suit's feet paws from damage and dirt on the ground, as they will take the beating and not your paws! They're pretty inexpensive to make yourself (about $30-40 for the main materials, a little more if you have no sewing supplies around at all, though generally you can find cheap needles and thread at the fabric store.)
For building the sandals you will need:
-Needle and thread
-Anti-Fatigue Flooring (you can get these at your local hardware store. I found mine in a really random place in flooring at Home Depot. Most places should have these.)
-Nylon Straps (one inch wide is good. I used about 120 inches of it, though I messed up, and ended up wasting another full 60 inch length of it. You can find this at a local fabric store.)
-4 parachute buckles (I found these right near the Nylon straps at the fabric store.)
-A lighter or some matches (some way to produce a small flame)
And additionally for method 2:
-Rivets (heavy duty are recommended. I used 3/16" / .5mm rivets)
-A rivet gun designed for the type of rivet you are using!
-washers that will fit the rivet snugly. (Ask for help at the hardware store if you are unsure. Again, the employees should easily be able to help you out! :D )
optional, but recommended:
-hot glue gun.
[be it noted that you should have fursuit feet-paws already made, this is just a tutorial for the sandals.]
See pictures here for your supplies
Step 1: Method 1
This is the first method. It is going to be a bit cheaper, and a bit easier. (also, you need to do some of the sewing from this method for method 2).
The downside is that the nylon is exposed on the bottom of the sandal, and there is potential for the mats to rip over time after wear. This is for people who want something that is slightly easier, and cheaper. I would not really recommend this step unless you're in a pinch, however, it is one way of doing things.
Steps for method 2 will be noted as such throughout this first method.
Step 2: Tracing the Foot
THIS STEP IS NECESSARY FOR BOTH METHODS
This is an easy one kids.
Get a pencil, take each footpaw, and trace the shape onto the anti-fatigue mat. Leave about 12-34 of an inch of space around the foot paw for work. You can ALWAYS trim it down, but you can't trim it back up!
Your feet will be different than mine in all likelihood! Take this into consideration!
Step 3: Marking the Strap Slits
Now, this may not be the most durable way to make these, but it is really really easy (and this is a time consuming project as it is, believe it or not.)
Cut slits where you want to place your nylon straps. You should do at least these two over the top of your foot, one behind the toes and one by the ankle. You may also want to add a strip on nylon that goes around the back of your ankle for more support, but for my foot, I don't really need it.
Make the cuts close to where the edge of your foot will be resting on the sandal. Each cut should be about one inch wide. I made them by jamming the scissors into the mat open, and then I closed them to create the cut.
Step 4: Add the Nylon Straps With Buckles
This part is a bit tough due to the time it will take you. Make sure you have a number of hours set aside for sewing.
This is sort of a two-parter rolled into one.
Get your feet-paws, and place them on the mat, which you should have now cut out completely if you haven't done that yet. When cutting, cut on the original line you traced, this can be before or after you cut the slits for the nylon straps.
After you put your feet-paws on the mats, you need to estimate how much nylon strapping you'll need before continuing. ( a simple way to do this is to wrap the strap around the foot and the mat below it.)
Again! Over-estimating is never really a bad thing! You can always use more nylon. Once you make the final cut, it is done and over, so, be generous!
End Both Methods
Once you have the nylon strips cut out, string them through one hole, under the main part of the pad, and then back out the other hole. From the "top" side (the side your foot will be on), you shouldn't see any strap between the two slits, and the straps should be coming up and out of them.
Another way to string these, which will take a lot longer due to sewing, is for you to cut the length you estimated out in half, and wrap each half around the opposite way (illustrated as the individual technique).
After this, find the half of each of your Parachute buckles that doesn't use friction to hold it in place (the end you clip into in most cases; the one which you don't adjust) and sew them on to the straps using the thread and needle. I did a square pattern with an X in the square to hold these in (illustrated), this is the same thing you can use to attach individual straps as well.
End Both Methods
Step 5: Preventing Fray / Nylon Security / Pyro Funtime
All info here is important for both methods!
Ok, I used fire, but it works (CAUTION WHEN USING FLAME, IT HURTS [duh])
You can melt the ends of the nylon you cut. if you don't, they will fray and your stuff will fall apart, and life will be very sad for a few moments. It doesn't take much fire or time to do this, and if working near thread, be careful.
You can try to use a needle and thread if you have no means of producing a flame. You can fold the nylon end over and then sew it down. I don't know how well that would work, but the point is...
You have to seal off the end of the straps, or they will fray, and your sandals wont work anymore, because they'll be broken!!! (<--run on sentence :D!)
DO NOT TOUCH THE HOT NYLON.
It's like sticky pain that doesn't come off, so, when you are done putting flame to the nylon strap ends, leave them be for a minute or so. When in doubt, wait, and don't touch them!!! Plastic type things like nylon will hurt, A LOT, if they have been on fire/melting, and they get on you.
Let's not go to the hospital, ok?
Step 6: Try Them On! [End Method 1]
Once everything is cooled and stuff, slip the remaining buckle halves on (if you've not already. It doesn't matter too much when you do it, so long as you do it, otherwise they wont work... at all... yeah.)
Get out your feetpaws, or even put them on! Try out your sandals. If it feels funny walking, check your edges. If they are too far out, trim them down. I know I had to on the front edge, just don't trim too far. You don't want your toes hitting the ground, right?
Congratulations! You have made FURSUIT SANDALS! YAAAY!
[End of Method 1, read on for Method 2]
Step 7: Method 2, Step 1
From Method one you should have straps with buckles sewn in on one end, each strap long enough to go over and around the sandal and foot.
Step one here is also tracing the feet and cutting them out. Mark with a pencil, similar to method 1, part 3, the places where you will put the holes for your rivets. Each one of these should be about 1/2-1" away from the edge of your sandal.
This method is more durable, and it will probably last a lot longer! It's a little more spendy, but it it's probably worth it in the long-run.
Step 8: Enter Rivets, Stage LEFT! (part 1)
This is an easy part.
Grab a rivet, slip it through the nylon about 1/2" from the end of the strap (which should have been melted to prevent fraying as in step 5 of method 1. These straps can be cut to your liking depending on where you want them to meet the other buckle.(see pictures)
Slip the sharp end of the rivet through the nylon strap, make a hole, and then use either a knife or scissors (I used scissors), and just widen the hole a little. There may not be a visible change, but you'll be able to see the hole fray a little and you'll feel/hear nylon being cut when you do this.
Step 9: Enter Rivets, Stage RIGHT! (rivets Part 2)
Now you need to punch a hole in the mat for your rivet. Use the Sharp end of the rivet to do this. DO NOT WIDEN IT MORE WITH ANY OTHER TOOL! You wont need to. The blunt end of the rivet will also go through here just fine. If you make it too big, you'll need to cut out another sole for your sandal, and that will not be fun! Do what this little instructable tells you to do!
Oh yeah, you punch this hole through the mark you made earlier, which is about 1/2-1" away from the edge of the mat!
Step 10: Enter Rivets, Stage... Uh... Center! (trap Door, Aka, Part 3)
Put the blunt end of the rivet through the nylon strap and then put the same blunt end through the top of the sandal (through the hole you made), it should be clearly visible on the other side so that the little bulb of the rivet is above the sandal's bottom surface.
After you've done this, place a washer over the rivet enough so that the little rivet bulb is entirely above the washer! If you are unsure of this step, practice driving a few rivets into some scrap mat!
Pardon the picture notes, Instructables kind or destroyed them when it re-sized my photos.
Step 11: The Final Act! (Rivets Part 4)
This step was hard to photograph in progress since I was alone and unable to grow a third hand.
This is where you drive the rivet.
Hold the washer tight (use pliers if you can, fingers work, but you could really pinch something bad if you aren't careful!) so the bulb remains above the washer.
Slip the rivet gun onto the sharp end of the rivet. Make sure it slides all the way down, and it may take some wiggling.
Make sure the washer and rivet are in place.
Sqeeze the rivet gun a few times. (it took me about 2-3 squeezes) Making sure to drop the gun down as far as you can for each squeeze (so it is touching the nylon/mat/flat top of the rivet).
You are done when the rivet snaps off! This can be a bit sudden, so watch your hands.
Also, by the time you've made one squeeze, the washer should be held well enough that you can then squeeze the rivet gun with both hands!
When it is done, the bottom should look something like the photo, and the long, sharp end of the rivet will have snapped off in the gun. (Open the gun all the way as you do in the beginning of this and shake it to let the broken end fall out.)
Step 12: Optional Step! (But Recommended)
You can also buy a hot glue gun for this optional, but recommended step.
Basically, this step's aim is to cover the rivets in a layer of hot glue so that they wont scratch things up, though, since sandals are mainly for outdoors use, this isn't always going to be a problem.
Also, I put some on top of the rivets as well to fill the little holes there so gunk wouldn't get in them.
Step 13: Repeat!
Do all the rivet steps 7 more times, then you will be done! :D Hot glue is something you can do after you have all the rivets in on one foot, which will give you time to work on the other, and the glue will dry on one by the time you finish the second sandal.
Your sandals will look something like this when complete
Step 14: Finito!
Now you're done, mostly.
Now is the time to trim the straps if they are too long!
Remember, once you clip the nylon, you have to melt it with fire or some heat source to keep it from fraying!
Once you've done this, the sandals should be complete!