Anyone who has ever been a parent can tell you stories of trying to cobble together costumes for Halloween or class plays that meet their children's visions of imaginative grandeur. When the theme is Greek, accessorise the basic toga or tunic with ancient Greek sandals for the most discriminating would-be Grecian statue, god or goddess. Depending on your budget, available materials and time commitment, you can make ancient Greek sandals for children that range from simple one-time use footwear to replicas that have the durability and feel of authenticity.
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Ancient Greek sandals generally consist of a wooden or leather sole with leather straps attached between the first two toes on each foot, like modern day flip-flops. The straps wrap around the ankle and sometimes up the leg in a crisscross pattern and are tied to secure. The individual design of the wrappings created the distinctive style of the wearer's footwear, reflecting her social position and lifestyle.
To make a simple limited-use craft version, you can use craft foam or heavy cardboard soles. Alternatively, you can take a shortcut and use an inexpensive pair of flip-flops for the base. If you want a more durable sandal, try stiff leather, heavy vinyl or plywood. Either design will require ribbon, plastic or leather laces. Additionally, you will need scissors, an awl, hammer and a heavy duty, large-eye needle. Small nails, pins and chiselling tools for decoration are optional. If you are making wooden soles, you will need a scroll saw and drill.
Trace both feet on your chosen sole material and cut them out. If you are using plywood or prefabricated flip-flops, one set will suffice and the sewing step will not be necessary. For foam, heavy cardboard, leather or vinyl, make two to four copies of each foot. Punch a series of small holes along the edge of one sole pattern and use it to make the same pattern on the other soles so that the holes align. Stack all the layers of one foot together and sew the pieces together with an overhand stitch using the edge holes. Tie it off securely at the last stitch. Repeat for the other foot. Cut triangular heel piece and trim off the top of the rectangle. Nail or stitch the narrow end of this support to the back of the sole piece. Punch a hole in the right and left corner.
Set the foot on the sole and mark between the first and second toes; make two marks opposite one another on both sides of the foot around the horizontal centre line. Cut or drill a small opening all the way through the bottom at each mark. Cut two 36-inch lengths of the ribbon, plastic or leather lacing and thread one end of each through the toe hole. Knot these ends several times on the underside, notch the edges or tie to a flat button to keep the straps from pulling out. Insert the foot around the toe strap and pull the straps through the side holes until they fit securely on the feet. Secure the underside in the same manner as the toe strap. Tie another long piece of lacing through each corner of the heel piece or the front straps at the midpoint if you are using the flip-flop design. You may also tie a loop of lacing from the toe piece and up the centre of the top of the foot, running another lace through the loop. No matter which lacing design you choose, wrap the long laces in crisscross fashion up the leg and tie securely to complete your child's Greek fashion accessory.
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