This file is a collection of various messages having the common theme of putting bottoms on felt slippers or boots, collected from the feltmaker's list. I have done a limited amount of editing. For instance, most of the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter. The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors. Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the orignator(s).  Pat Spark, Manager of the Feltmaker's List.

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 Slipper and Shoe Sole Companies

IRON ON SLIPPER BOTTOMS Leo F. MacIver Co., Inc.; 75 Ames Street; Brockton, MA 02403 (508) 583-2501 This company sells slipper-sock bottoms for the felt boots or slippers.
LEATHER BOTTOMS Simple Shoemaking; 145 Baker Road; Shutesbury, MA 01072 Telephone: 413.259.1748  Fax: 413.259.3773
Sharon Raymond makes soles specifically for felt boots and shoes.

In Answer to the question: How do you make soles for the bottom of slippers?
*Oct. 27, 1999, Rose Kincaid.
For the soles I use a latex product called Saf-T-Bak.  It can be found at your craft store with the latch hook rug supplies. I paint on several coats. It does wear off but can be recoated.
*Dec. 24, 1999, Denise Pilkington.
I have been painting a rubber latex on my felt soles with great success. I buy it from a Fibre Glass shop or you may find it in a craft shop but a little more expensive. It is white and I dye it with a water based dye and paint 4 to 5 layers on dry felt but drying in between layers. I don't know what you call rubber latex in the US but here in Australia, it is used on the back of certain carpet or rugs to stop them from slipping.
*Dec. 25, 1999, Karen Starno. Would the painted on latex be durable for outdoor wear? I want to make a pair of boots that would not get soggy in wet snow or barnyard conditions. I wear my indoor felted slippers outside in dry snow to get the papers, mail, etc., but want something more durable to wear for winter barnyard
chores. I hate even well insulated rubber boots. My feet have never been so warm and comfortable as in felted wool.
*Dec. 25, 1999, Denise Pilkington. Yes Karen, the rubber latex is durable as I made my husband a pair of big felted boots with the painted on rubber latex soles to wear out in the cow shed on a frosty morning to milk his cows and he has not had  any trouble with chill blains this winter and the shoes wear well.
*Jan. 7, 2000, Pat Spark. They sell the rubber latex in craft shops and in hooked rug supply places for the painted backing on hooked rugs.
*Jan. 18, Lesley Blythe-Lord. I have just noticed that some bathroom floor mats have a non slip finish consisting of spots of 'Dow Corning'. This is a DIY product for sealing baths to walls which comes in tubes. As well as being applied in spots and stripes it could also be spread over a surface to form a waterproof layer and comes in clear/transparent as well as colours.
*July 16, 2000, Sue Cote. In NZ there is a product that is used for mould making from Para Rubber company-a paint on latex . It works wonderfully for finishing the bottoms.
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QUESTION *Nov. 1, 2002, Chris White. I'm teaching a slipper/boot class this Sat. and I'd like to tell the students where they can buy the rubber stuff you can paint onto the bottom of felt slippers. I realize you can use puff (fabric) paint, suede and precut leather soles, but I'd like to know about the rubber cement types of products. Please share any information you have if you've tried to paint this stuff onto the sole bottoms of your felted slippers or boots. Which is the best type? Where do you buy it? I'm hoping to make them durable enough to withstand short walks down to the end of the road to pickup the mail.
*Nov. 1, 2002, Faith Hagenhofer. I have used the paint-on rubber that is available at the hardware store (Home Depot, here), for dipping tool handles.  It comes in black, safety yellow and red.  The can is shaped like one for tennis balls
*Nov. 1, 2002, Dana Sheppard. I have been using the rubber latex rug backing for my slipper bottoms. You paint it on with a paint brush, 1-2 coats depending on how thick you want it. I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics (a fabric/craft store here, not sure what you have in your area) and it was in the section with the latch-hook rug kits. It works great..
*Nov. 2, 2002, Sue Cote. Chris just to share some experience with rubber soles, I get something in NZ that is a molding plastic (latex) from a plastic company, you paint on. Can't help you with sources in the States. What I would like to share is the fact that rubber doesn't breath, your foot feels so much colder in a slipper with rubber soles.   And I found if for any reason the slipper gets wet, it is so hard to get thoroughly dry again and the wool tends to rot. That all said,  when painting on the rubber I would highly recommend painting it high enough up so there is less chance of the wool getting wet. Good to point out the pro's and con's of what type of material to use for the soles.
QUESTION: *Jan. 29, 2003, Karla. While visiting with my family over the holidays, my 5 yr old nephew & 3 yr old niece fell in love with hubby's felted slippers so I told them I'd make them a pair :) I've gotten outlines of their feet,  and followed Pat's instructions in her book (I think it's online too?) adding the 1" all the way around...  I'm hoping they're not =too= big - but I figure they can grow into them! grin! So the question is: Pro's & con's for adding a sueded sole to the bottom of their slippers. They do have hardwood flooring throughout the main floor and then stairs to the 2nd floor where their bedroom & playroom are.  Are the basic soles that I can find at my LYS washable at all?? and are they that helpful in giving "traction"?? or since they're in a "fast growing" age - should I just leave them with just the felt base? or possibly give them sewn on soles of either kids PJ gripper fabric or just paint on some rubbery 3D fabric paint on the bottom??
*Jan. 29, 2003. Sue Cote. My children wear felted slippers they are 3 /5/9/7. The nine year old hands them down to the 7 year old and the 5 year old hands them down to the 3 year old..  I sew cowhide or Kangaroo on the bottom of theirs so  no slipping. We live on wood floors too. I have tried the paint on Latex and they found them too cold on their feet. If left uncovered they will wear more quickly and become a danger on the wood floors. Mother's are forever telling there children not to run in the house, can you imagine how soon they discover how they can glide down a hall way on a felted slipper without a griping sole?<G>
*Jan. 29, 2003, Dana Sheppard. I've put suede leather soles on slippers (lot of work), and painted latex rubber rug backing on too (my favorite). I've also used the iron-on pants patches from the fabric store, which tend to come up at the edges, so you have to zigzag over them. I like the rug backing - easy to apply and good traction, not a lot of work, and relatively inexpensive.
QUESTION: *June 3, 2004, Shelley Eddleston. Barb, I would love to know how you made your boots?
*June 5, 2004, Barb Mewburn. .......Thin layers of latex foam can be added to the bottom when they are finished, to stop slipping and add resilience. As I wanted a sturdier sole, I had one attached at the shoe-repairers.
*June 6, 2004, Ann McElroy. Is this something you buy in a sheet and then cut and glue on? Or is it something you make up yourself and then mold. The make it yourself and then mold and mattresses seem to be all I find with Google.
*June 6, 2004, Barb Mewburn.The latex is like a thick paint, the stuff that you would make plaster moulds with. I presume that it would be easy to get up there from a craft store. I have an address here in Victoria, Australia for anyone who's interested. it is SHU-KEM at 315 Canterbury Rd, Canterbury , Vic 3126 Australia. tel 61 3 98360277 . Shamrock is another company that makes it. Just paint it on with a brush.
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QUESTION*August 16, 2004, Camille Ludlow. Does anyone know where you get the latex to paint on the bottoms of felt slippers so they don't slip on wood floors? What is it called and where do you get it?
*August 16, 2004, Gloria Galasso. We get ours at Hobby Lobby. It is called, of all things, "Rug Backing." Works just great.
*August 18, 2004, Brenda. I have crocheted slippers and wood floors, plus our group charity this quarter is the VA hospital (slippers, tile floors, unsteady walkers), and we use Tulip Puffy Dimensional Fabric Paint. Go to  and look on their product locater for a store near you. We got a bunch at the local Michaels. Dots all over the soles don't do well, straight lines make them feel funny on your feet, but zigzag on the soles (about half inch wide, length of the sole, four stripes) works well. Comes in a handy applicator bottle with directions on it. There must be other brands, but we use the Puffy and this works for us.
*August 22, 2004, Ann McElroy. Hi I have been away so am answering a bit late but hope it helps someone. I went to the tool department and got the coating for tool handles. It is called Plasti dip, by Performix. It comes in different colours but I use the clear. If you thin it down a bit, it paints on really nice. People have to touch it to know it is there. It comes in a larger container than fabric paint but I like that idea too. You can get it in tubs too but around me you have to special order it. I want to try making some winter boots and using it for soles. One more thing on the list of things to do.
*August 24, 2004, Theresa May-O’Brien. Try the material used to paint handles of tools-you can find it at the hardware store.
QUESTION*Dec. 20, 2004, Camille Ludlow. I was thinking of some type of rubber I could either dip them in or brush on. Just not sure what type of rubber or where to get it. I have used Plasti Dip to make slippers non slip with good success. My felt slippers are so warm that I have worn them outside and it is – 15 C here today. But the coating is not thick enough for outdoor use. You can feel every bump of the ice and it really isn’t tough enough. Some one told me about rubber on here but I have since lost the email. Other stuff I use for slippers is Mold Builder. It's latex you paint on in several coats, leaving each to dry. I got mine at AC Moore or it's available on-line at
*Dec. 30, 2004, Elizabeth Armstrong. I remember years ago doing the soles of some moccasins with liquid latex rubber which I got from a general craft shop. A number of coats were applied with a brush - leaving each to dry. Seemed to work fine.  You need to work outside or in a well ventilated area.
*Mar. 20, 2006, Camille Ludlow. I now use something called Mold Builder, which is latex that can be painted on the bottom of a felted slipper, and when dry forms a rubber non-slip sole. It washes well and doesn't peel off. It's available at A.C. Moore and other art or craft supply stores. It is also used to make latex molds for cast sculpture.
QUESTION*Mar. 21, 2006 Linda VanAlstyne. I have a question for all those felters who did paint a rubber, latex or non skid substance on the slipper soles. How did it or How does it wear?  Does it ever crack?  What about sweaty feet, does the slipper stay damp? Any tips on application pros or cons? Any feedback is appreciated.
*Mar. 21, 2006, Annie Hawkins. I paint latex on to the bottoms of my boots, find it works very well. I have the boots/slippers on the last and paint several thin layers, letting it get a bit tacky between painting. I have no trouble with sweaty feet and they are certainly not slippery. I wear them outside but only when dry (weather). No they don't crack and it dries well. I find it is slightly sticky, but once I have walked round my kitchen once they are fine, have picked up a little dust/grit. Then they are great. I have sewn on leather soles, but don't think they are so good, they're slippery and much more work sewing!
*Mar. 20, 2006, Sue. I used to use the Make a Mold latex  from Michaels Crafts and it worked wonderfully, but Joanns does not carry it. The Saf-t-Bak one I got at Joanns cracked after just a few weeks of use ( I had used 2 light coats ) and I had to use rubber cement to add sueded leather bottoms.
*Mar. 21, 2006. Sue. After I sent the above message,  I remembered when my oldest was little I used to crochet him slippers and I did not know about the Make a Mold . He used to wear his slippers out into the yard, so I used regular silicone caulk and spread it with a popsicle stick It stood up even to him running down the drive in his slippers till he out grew them. and it waterproofed the bottoms.  I think I will go back to that.  It really took a beating and was rather inexpensive at the big hardware store.

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QUESTION *Mar. 21, 2006. VanCampt. What does the application do to the slipper appearance? Is it noticeable? Does it come out fairly even when spread on?
*Mar. 21, 2006. Sue. I had used it on a frosted blue worsted weight yarn. It went on fairly thick looked translucent, ( I had used clear and leveled it with a wooden stick) till he wore it a few days then it looked like gray rubber.  Iit just looked like a sole on a shoe. It did smell vinegarish when uncured. The Saf-t-Bak I used this time did not have the same texture as what I used to be able to get, this dried more plastic-y and less rubbery, like they added fillers. I still have to find the Make a Mold. I make my own drum carder belts for my old Clems and Clems carder, and that is what I use and I am running out of stock on the belts I had made ahead.
QUESTION *Mar 21, 2006. Ann McElroy. Does anyone know the safety of any of these as far as children go? They put everything in there mouth, especially the under 3s, and you wouldn't want to poison them.
*Mar. 22, 2006. Sue.
The silicone should be safe if you get the one with no fungicide ( it is the same thing used to mend glass fish tanks and is safe for even the very sensitive types of fish.)
*Mar. 22, 2006. Linda VanAlstyne. This is a quote from the plastidip company: I would recommend testing the Plasti Dip in an inconspicuous area on the slippers before actually applying the product to the entire surface. The Plasti Dip is available in 14.5 ounce dip can that you would be able to brush on. The product does have toxic fumes in its wet state. Once cured, Plasti Dip is completely non-toxic.

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*May 3, 2002, Dana Sheppard.
I recently used iron-on jeans patches to cover the holes in the bottoms of my felt slippers - so far, they are working well, and add a bit of slip-resistance too. I couldn't remember if anyone had mentioned this before. 

QUESTION:*Dec. 23, 1999, Mary Stewart. I am interested in learning the technique that Zia G has used with her felted slippers using leather soles. And anyone else who has used leather. I can understand using soft moccasin leather is that the kind she uses? I would like to hear from anyone who has success combining  a leather sole with felted slippers.
*Dec. 25, 1999.  Laura Harrawood. I have used many kinds of leather for slippers some are harder to work with.  Split cow hide is hard to work with but is non skid in the house-----but if you go outside in the rain or snow it is extremely slick---extremely.  One type of hide that is very easy to work with and is very very strong is a leather that is used by shoe makers as well as those who make prosthesis... It's called cream cow.  I called it cream OF cow (like a soup) till someone corrected me.  Who knows if that person is right though. Still slick outside though.      I've thought about making soles in a different way but have not done it yet...maybe now that Christmas is over and all this talk has inspired me I'll do it.  Actually I want to start now if I can find my new supplies.  I'll let everyone know how they turn out.
*Dec. 27, 1999, Zia Gibson. There wasn't much technique to my leather sole business.  Since I didn't have a sewing machine at the time I just handstitched the leather sole (slightly smaller than felt sole) directly onto the felt using a leather stitch.  There are probably better ways.
QUESTION: *Dec. 13, 2002, Judith Brighton. I am helping a friend with some e-research - she is making felt slippers, but stymied as to how and with what she can treat the slipper bottoms to prevent slippage (pun not intended), and make them a little utility outside the house proper.
*Dec. 13, 2002, Pat Spark.  I have sewn leather (or Ultrasuede) to the bottom to prevent slipping on our hard wood floors.  For outdoor boots, I went to the cobbler (shoe repair person) and had crepe soles sewn to the bottom. 
*August 24, 2004, Bunny. With the talk about putting puff paint or latex rug stuff on slippers I thought I would share what I do to mine. I think "reclaimed" or Recycled leather and suede works and looks nice. I guess one could even cut up an old purse or travel bag made of leather or suede.

*Oct. 26, 2000, Janice.
I've just made some slippers and instead of stitching on my soling material, I would like to glue it on.  Has anyone got recommendations for a suitable glue?
*Oct. 26, 2000, Candy Hoeschen. I use a latex-based glue called Tear Mender - made for fabric, canvas, leather and the like.  It is waterproof and very flexible when dry.  Do some testing.  I apply a light coat to each surface with an acid brush, let it tack up and stick them together.  I'm careful to not let the glue show, as it dries a creamy color. Upholstery shops use it - maybe shoe repair stores too.
*Dec. 25, 2000, Virginia Morton. I think Candy told about Tear Mender glue.  I found it in the catalog of Gempler's.  It is 6-oz for $4.99 I have never ordered from them.  They are from Belleville, WI
*Dec. 26, 2000, Eve. We have freezing rain here in Branson and felt slippers without soles are wonderful for walking on the icy sidewalk.
QUESTION: *Feb. 3, 2002, Sue Cote. I wonder how hard it would be to get a leather sole put on felted slippers at the cobblers?  I know I saw a clog style of hard felted technique and they were stapled onto wood. 

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page updated: March 20, 2006