AlgaeAboard: Making Pt 1

The Boat Slippers is the first one that I make due to its simplicity in making. While the size is large enough, it is easier to handle the material – algae bioplastic. The challenge here is making sure I have got enough raw materials and having the right ratio. Once I got down a rough sketch of how the design looks like, I drew up the form to a size 10 sole. An offset of 2mm is added, taking into account the shrinkage of the material during drying. It is then printed it out and I started making cardboard models to get the sense of scale and proportion right. The final design aimed to be a gender-neutral design while fusing the angular edges and curve of a boat.

SlipperSketch vector

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The concept was to use a single continuous rope to go under the sole and wrap around the foot. The first test model used 2 ropes. Before I can resolve the design, I am simultaneously making 2-part plaster moulds, assuming that it will not affect the design at all. The reason is also because it is my first time on plaster molding, hence I am a bit anxious. Learning the tips from YouTube, I made my own dishwasher soap-mould-releasing agent, which is suppose to eliminate any chance for air bubbles. It however did not work out as expected and lead me to a series of failed moulds. After doing more research, Vaseline eventually became my savior as a cheap alternative for all mould-making afterwards.

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Castng Slippers

For the first prototype, I had the ropes sandwiched between the two plaster moulds. This process is not very efficient as any finishing touch to the material is inconvenient with the rope intacted. Meanwhile, experimentation has not stopped yet. I realized if I add slightly more water and glycerol, the slipper will shrink drastically and begin to get moldy after 2 days. As I was not using any measuring instrument to control, the outcomes were inconsistent. The design is then revised to facilitate changing of the rope overtime and streamlined to using only a continuous rope. Taking advantage of the material properties, I trimmed the uneven edges off when it is still soft; then sanded it to smooth once it turned hard after drying. Lastly, it is finished with matte acrylic coating.

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To view the final design, head over to daecantee.com

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