Sandals With A Punched Design – Sandalmaking

sandals with a punched design
Here are some of the tools I used to make these sandals, a mallet, revolving punch, chisels, sewing awl, shape punch and edge burnisher

Every spring I make my children new sandals, so this year I decided to make sandals with a punched design. Before I start making them, I look for inspiration on the Internet.

I love traditional leather decorating techniques from India or Africa, so that is where I often look first.

For these sandals, I decided to punch the leather inspired by Gujarati leather craftspeople. They make wonderful bags, phone covers, stationary and lampshades out of leather using just a few simple punching tools.

sandals with a punched design

I only needed one shape punch tool and my revolving punch pliers to make this design. I first cut out a paper pattern and drew the design on it, which I then transferred to the uppers.

Leather Dyes

I love the look of hand-dyed leather, therefore always buy natural veg tan leather. In my search for the perfect leather dye, I have tried quite a few different brands over the years.

My favourite dyes are still water-based dyes, but the choice of colours is so small and I sometimes long for new ones.

So here I used alcohol-based Teinture Francaise. They have a few base colours that you can blend to make quite a lot of other colours.

Each box comes with a sheet that explains the blending ratios to get the different colours, which I found helpful. The dyes worked fine, they are light fast and shiny, and I do like the green I got by blending the base colours blue and yellow.

Diamond Chisels

I also tried out a new leather craft tool: diamond chisels. I usually punch my stitching holes with revolving punch pliers but wanted to try out something different.

So, I bought a set that came with 4 chisels. I used the 4 teeth for the straighter bits and the 2 teeth to get around the curves.

My chisels have 6 mm spacing between each tooth. To me, the stitching line looks just perfect thanks to the very even diamond-shaped stitching holes.

I used scrap pieces of thick midsole leather underneath the soles when punching the holes. To make the pulling out a bit easier, I applied some beeswax to the chisels.

sandals with a punched design

If you are inspired to start making your own sandals, check out my Sandalmaking e-book that explains all the tools, materials and steps involved in more detail.

6 comments on “Sandals With A Punched Design – Sandalmaking

  1. Got your sandal making book and I love these punched sandals! I’d like to invest in the diamond chisel set; what brand did you settle on? How do you like it compared to punching holes?

    1. I didn’t spend much on the chisels, I bought them on eBay. Buying them on eBay is a gamble though, sometimes you get good tools sometimes not. I was lucky with this set and am still using it, they didn’t cost more than £15. I use them all the time now for punching the top sole holes, but still use a hole punch for the midsole because it is too thick for the chisels. What I like about the chiselling is the stitching is even, the holes are smaller and you don’t have to do any measuring, so I do recommend using them. Thank you for buying the book and I hope you enjoy making sandals!

  2. When you use the chisel for the top sole, do you then use those holes to line up the hole punch in the midsole so that they match up to sew? I’m trying to picture what to tools I need to get to start, so that I don’t get part way through and have to stop and order more tools!

    1. Yes, exactly, I use a stitching awl to mark the midsole through the chiselled holes of the top sole. I then punch the holes of the midsole with the smallest setting of the revolving punch pliers. So for this job, you would need the Diamond chisel stitching punch kit (with 6mm spacing between each tooth), a mallet to use with the chisels and revolving punch pliers (the best quality you can afford, because you are using them for thicker leather, cheap ones will put a lot of strain on your hands).

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