Hello my little reindeer! How are you today? I hope I won't take too much of your time in explaining my process in my Tim Allen "The Santa Clause" inspired boots I've just completed this week. Let's get right into it and begin in the best place to start: the beginning.
Inspiration and Research
As addressed in my previous blog post here, I absolutely love The Santa Clause films (but most importantly the first one) because of their attention to detail and how they revolutionized the image of Santa Claus with their wardrobe. From the suit and belt to the beard and hat, the Scott Calvin look is AMAZING. The pair of boots that Santa wears only gets so much screen time and they are different from the typical fur topped galoshes.
These Santa boots have miniature buckles (which look to be the same design as the belt buckle), laces, and fur that pours out of the top. Though my boots are NOT the same as the ones in the film, their style was in fact inspired by them (hence the title of this post).
Finding the Boots
When searching for my base boots, I didn't want to have a seam over the toe area that most combat boots have, I wanted these to be as close as I could get them without hiring a cobbler. I also didn't want to have zippers on the sides because not only is that a bit tacky in my opinion, but Tim Allen's boots didn't have zippers. I'm not one for convenience if it means disregarding authenticity. when it comes to looks. The boots I ended up going with I ordered from eBay and the original listing is here (if the link doesn't work in the future, I don't know what to tell you other than the seller has probably relisted the item elsewhere or doesn't sell them anymore. I do apologize if that's the case.)
These boots are more like combat boots and aren't meant for wide-footed counterparts (I'm a size 11 narrow, but had to do some math as I had to purchase in European sizing) and these fit just perfectly. The boots in The Santa Claus don't seem to have a tongue, but rather the laces pull them the sides together over the socks.
With the two options of purchasing the boot, I chose the "black" not the "black/lined" option as I planned to put on my own fur and didn't want to mess with previously attached fur or additional lining. The boots ran me about $60.
The Buckles & Placement
Before I ever bought the boots I snatched a pair of the ONLY BUCKLES (that I know of) that come even CLOSE to what was in The Santa Clause films (I wish someone would make exact replicas). These buckles were supplied by Santa Billy Brown, aka Hampton Roads Santa Claus, from his shop at SantaExperiences.com. I purchased the brass option.
Now it was time for a lot of eye-balling which included me taping the buckles in different places to get it just right to my tastes. This process also included me using some fur to find what would look right. Though not as tall and beefy as the Tim Allen boots, I still wanted it to come across that I had definitely been inspired by them.
Putting Everything Together
Knowing that the boots weren't as tall as I wanted them to be, and that the fur on the original boots was on the interior and "spilled out" over the top, I went to Walmart and bought some black faux black leather fabric that I would use to put under the fur as it drooped over the sides. I also picked up some Velcro so I could attach the fur trim and swap things out if needs be as I experimented with the shape and length of my fur trim.
For the straps I used a regular 1.75 inch belt I also picked up at Walmart (for $7) and cut to length. The angles of the straps attaching to the side of the shoe were estimated and adjusted beforehand using an older belt (top strap in below photo). This also helped me place my hole punches for the buckles as well.
Now, the buckles are built to be functional, so they have a tongue as well as to spikes on the opposite side where other side of the strap should go through. Then you would be able to buckle and unbuckle the buckles. BUT I don't need those to be functional. They're decorative. So I fed one long strap through the buckle, got it in place, and brought it to the other side of the boot. No mess no fuss. [Another way of explaining this is to think of a real belt where you wrap it around your waist and then have to tuck the belt through the buckle, pull it tight, and then tuck the extra away on top of the portion closest to the buckles. Instead of that, I just threaded the buckle onto one continuous strap.] This is different from Tim Allen's boots as well which look to have straps on either side of the boot that the buckle buckles.
I got the straps cut at the correct angles, sanded down the end of the straps so they'd glue really well, and used super glue in the crevice just long enough for the edge. It was helpful to use a pencil to mark where the straps needed to be so I knew where to glue. This also helped me get the straps symmetrical on both boots. When estimating the length of strap, I added a half an inch to the total strap length because the boots were bigger with my feet in them than they were when I was measuring for the strap without anything giving the boots volume on the inside (as a foot would do).
With the straps and buckles in place, I now worked with the fur, coming up with several different shapes and sizes to get the look I wanted. I started with a smaller look and then made a larger size, though true to the film just didn't look good. I ended up with a smaller rounded edge shape. I used some fur gifted to me by my aunt (also using this fur on my Cola Suit project), cut the black faux leather to shape, and put the Velcro underneath (scratchy side on the boot toppers so it would be facing away from my ankles and socks and wouldn't have a chance to scrape me).
I used a glue gun to adhere the black faux leather to the faux fur, stuck on the Velcro, and then cut it all out very carefully with small snips with the fabric scissors. when cutting fur it's important to try and only cut the backing. If you use wider and longer cuts you'll end up mauling the fur and it'll look horrid. By doing smaller and more careful cuts I was able to have fur sticking out from the edge which covers much of the area where the faux leather joins the faux fur. Notice the slant of the Velcro so it matches the top of the boots (see above photos). I accidently put this piece of Velcro on a boot and had to rip it off, hence the black you see under it is just a bit of the interior flaky leather. The glue gun helped get that piece in place as well as it was no longer sticky.
With everything in place, I got dressed and did a little test run to see how they'd look with the trousers. As these aren't aged like the Tim Allen boots, I will be curling these toppers up and under till they fall naturally like so, or perhaps I'll add some snaps underneath the cuffs to keep them curled as I much prefer the curled look than them just hanging there like some overly long ears, but I have a lot of work to get them looking EXACTLY how I would like them to. [Who knows? I'm always changing my mind and making things look differently. With the Velcro I can also use the faux leather to make some other boot toppers more appropriate for a Renaissance festival, and I can also make additional/different style of fur tops to suit my fancy.
This has been as much detail as I care to throw into this post, I hope you enjoyed it as well as the photos I took along the way to ensure those of you, no matter how long you've been representing Santa Claus could also enjoy the creative process. Perhaps, just maybe, this may in turn inspire you to make something of your own.
Yours as always,
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