Bulling boots-All future discussions and questions here.

with my possible entarnce to Army I know I'll have to do this.

I've had 2 "helpful friends" in the Army show me their methods bur when I try it no success!

So what is the secret to bulling the issue boots?

Any-one got a definitive guide?



War Hero
I guarantee that everyone has their own method, and will tell you their way is best.

Sorry mate. The only way is by lots and lots of practice. Honestly, get someone who does know how to do it sit with you and watch you doing it. It's a knack, and you need to know exactly how much pressure to put on, when you have too much water on your cloth and when it is too dry, when to use a bit more polish etc.

The only thing I think everyone would agree on is to get yourself a really good cloth. Most would agree that Sylvette's are the best (I think that's how you spell it - I've lost mine).
many thin layers of finger bull (left to go off for as long as possible) a tin of kiwi used ONLY for bulling, not with brushes, a lint free duster thats been through the washer and tumble drier a good few times, and patience......dont rush it. small circles......... a few drops of tap water in the kiwi lid for moisture, and FER FECKS SAKE never, ever use spit!

dont put a time on it, just use the force..........

when happy, run under a gently flowing cold tap and take the bloom off with cotton wool. gently pat dry so not to leave water marks......

its not rocket science!


It helps to think about what you are trying to do, which is polishing a layer of polish, not polishing leather.

This means that:

a. You need to apply polish in such a way that it is thick enough to be clear of the leather whilst still adhering to the boot.

b. When polishing, you are only applying enough pressure to work the surface of the polish, not scouring it away.

So, bearing those two facts in mind, apply them to what you've been taught about bulling and have another go.
1. 1 x tin of Kiwi (parade gloss) black
2. 1 x tin of kiwi (parade gloss) brown
3. 1 x yellow duster
4. Some cotton balls

Melt black polish by setting light to it, preferabaly outside, put polish on boot with finger(it ain't that hot), start with a small area and little circular movements with your finger, when polish is sticky/tacky start with a new area, keep on doing this until you have layered each area about 3 or 4 times.

Soak you duster and squeeze out the excess water, wrap duster around your hand tightly with your index and/or middle finger in the duster. Have a saucer of water to hand, dip duster in water and gently stroke the surface of the polish with the duster, and lightly again with either 1 or 2 fingers start the circular movement on the area you want to shine. Every 2 or 3 times you do this change to the brown polish and do the same (adds deeper shine).

To finish off, use a tap of running water, very slow unbreaking run of water. Use cotton balls and adapt the same as duster bulling, but no polish needed here, keep the area of bull under the tap, this is called water bulling, and creates a crisp shine to the boot. Do this about 2 or 3 times on each area to be bulled. Do not let the excess water dry on the boot when you are finished, use the running water to clear up any little puddles, it does work.

For parade boots, ammo/dms, bees wax first.
hey ducati if you keep talking like that you will have more than a few people getting hot under the collar. I need to go take a cold shower now :p
As said.... everyone has their own methods.. but dont use spit or a lighter to assist.. the amount of times I have seen this.. dear god..they do more harm than good.... I find breathing on them and then bulling with clean part of the cloth offers a great finish!
Parade gloss (brown and blank)
Silvet cloth
spit and elbow grease

I always used spit and breathing on them, i though it added a persoanl touch and never affected the quality (as long as you wern't eating at the time.

Lots on thin layers and rubbed in broad circles with a damp but well rung out sylvet cloth worked a treat. For extra depth i used a layer of the colour oxblood! Always start by making sure you have cleaned the welts etc and etting off all dirt etc.
Or of course, pop down to b and q and purchase some Japlac in the old spray can and have a shine that will never luster.........!

It is the considered opioninon of maninblack that you are on a trollM

Congratulations. we hope you enjoy the black shower on your next parade.
This method works on ammo boots as well - previous methods quoted only work on toe caps.

1. Cover entire surface of new boots with Kiwi Parade Gloss (and to all the old sweats, mine have NEVER gone blue when it rains!)

2. Heat the smooth rounded end of a spoon to red hot and use it to "iron" down any stipples and lumps. Move quickly and ensure there's plenty of polish between the spoon and the leather or you'll ruin the boots. This action also pushes the polish into the leather to keep them watertight. Get it just right and you'll have black socks forever!

3. Apply a generous coat of polish with a "putting-on" brush and keep brushing until you get a dull shine.

4. Use your "taking off" brush (the softer one) until you get a civvie shine.

5. Wrap a yellow duster around a finger (just one thickness of duster) and dip it into warm polish (a new tin - not the one you used for brushing). Make circular motions in the polish until it has warmed up further and soaked into the duster. You will end up with a black finger, but that's part of the game.

6. Transfer the polish onto one boot using circular motions until the entire boot is covered.

7. Do the same with the other boot. From here on, whatever you do to one boot, you do to the other to the same degree before going on to the next instruction or repeating an action. If you don't, you'll end up with odd boots!

8. Spit on a small area of the polished boot and, without moving your finger from it's position in the duster, polish the boot with wide circular motions. The spit reacts with the polish to bond the layers together. (Old sweats - wait until I've finished before you criticise). Keep spitting on different parts of the boot until all areas have been covered. Work quickly during the spit phase.

9. Repeat from 6 to 8 many times until a lustre starts to develop.

10. Now move your finger to a different part of the duster, pick up a small amount of polish and work it over as large an area as possible, the aim being to apply a very thin coat. Keep doing this until the whole boot is covered.

11. Using very cold water, buff the polish using light circular movements. Keep buffing until the polish starts to shine. On a hot day, do this bit with the boot in a fridge or freezer or you'll be there all day. Otherwise do it under cold running water, but then you'll have a sink to clean and polish isn't easy to remove from porcelain!

12. Repeat 10 and 11 until you're quite impressed with the shine that develops.

13. Repeat 10 but with a linen handkerchief, making sure that there are no creases in the cloth under your finger.

14. Repeat 11 but with a linen handkerchief and NO water. Be very gentle.

15. Get the wife's best newest tights, or the girlfriend's stockings or your best mate's wife's tights and twist them into a tight ball, finishing with a smooth layer, no wrinkles. Very, very gently, use circular movements to finish the boots to a high gloss.

16. Try to get polish off finger. Vim, swarfega and fairy liquid help but there's no substitute for a new white towel.

It seems like a lot of effort (and it is) but you can trog across the moors, soak them, scrape them to buggery and once they're dry, they will polish back up within a few minutes. (Okay - it may take up to half an hour).

On the other hand, for a quick bodge you can pile tons of polish on the boots, pour petrol lighter fluid on them and ignite. Extinguish quickly by blowing, allow to cool, then do action 15. Walk very stiffly to parade as the polish will crack easily.
As a prelude to Bulling your boots, it may be worth trying the following. This is a Guards trick to help the polish adhere to the boot, to stiffen the leather of the boot and to gain a deeper shine. I will warn you though, if you dont pack the boots correctly (see 3) then the boots will shrink and will be ruined.

1 Go out for a small run in your boots (if they are new) to find where the boots are going to crease

2 If the boots are Parade boots (ammo boots), take them to a shoe/boot repair shop (ask a Guardsman for the best local one) and get the boots "double tapped" (extra layer of leather put on sole and heel). If they are not Parade boots dont worry about this stage.

3 Remove the laces from the boot and force damp/wet newspaper into the boot, ensuring that the whole of the toe cap is filled, and then fill up the remainder of the boot up to ankle level. It is VERY important that you force the paper in, until the boot goes hard (oooh Er!!!).

4 Replace the laces, and tie them up tightly (We were always told that the leather containing the lace holes should meet in the middle). Now shape the boots by pressing in any bulges that shouldnt be there, and try to push the toe caps of ammo boots upward slightly (bannana shape). This prevents the boots cracking as you march, as they 'rock' (literally).

5 You will now need a plumbers brazing torch (from B+Q) and some sticks of Bees wax (from Ironmongers). From personal experience the paler the wax, the better results it produces.

6 GENTLY heat the part of the boot that you will be bulling later. As you heat the leather, rub the bees wax in to the leather. The wax should melt. As the leather cools, the wax will be drawn in to the leather. Carry on doing this to the rest of the boot that you will be bulling. BE VERY CAREFUL THOUGH. As you apply the heat, the leather will shrink very slightly. IF you leave the heat on the leather for too long, the leather will shrink too much, and you wont get your foot in to the boot. Also, if you overheat the stitching, it will snap. This is why it is imperative that you have packed the boot out with damp paper first.

7 After a couple of coats with the bees wax, whilst the leather is still warm (not hot), take your "on brush" and polish away any excess bees wax. Before the leather has cooled completely, get some KIWI polish on to your finger and rub the polish in to the leather. Dont forget, the leather is now warm, therefore you could burn said pinkie!!!

8 Now is the time to bull the boot as described in earlier posts. I find the best way is either with a Sylvit, a piece of cotton t shirt or a yellow duster with the excess dye washed out of it. Wet the cloth and then wrap it round one or two fingers (I prefer one), get a bit of polish on the cloth then bull as described. I use clean water rather than spit, as depending on the what you have eaten/drunk previous to the bulling sesh, sometimes prevents a shine. I always finish the bull with a "top shine" using a BRAND NEW tin of polish (Mid Tan, Dark Tan or Black will do (all KIWI of course)). By just dabbing the new polish and then bulling in circles, you can get a very deep shine with it. I think that a new tin of brown/black polish has more solvent than an old one therefore, it is the solvent that is doing the work.

I was a Guardsman, and am now an A.C.F instructor. I have "burned down" 40 to 50 pairs of boots, shoes etc for friends, ruperts and Cadets, therfore I know it works. I have tried or seen every cheat method in the book, and this is still the best one.

Please be careful with the brazing torch as I am also a Firefighter, and I've seen a fair few fires and burns.

All the very best, and happy Bulling.

p.s. Bulling should always be done whilst listening and learning bugle and pipe calls and reading regimental history :D :D :D
I'm starting basic in three weeks and i've been breaking in some new issue boots one of which now sports a pretty deep nasty scuff right on the toe cap, and i cant get rid of it.

how can i get rid, preferably without using a blowtorch? and will i be able to wear them when i arrive at the atr or shall i look forward to more lovely blisters?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

ps all i have at the mo' is boot brushs, black kiwi pg and a duster
You will be issued new boots once you strat basic training. Unless the ones you have gone out and bought are exactly the same as issue boots you very likely won't be allowed to wear them.

As for covering up the scuff plenty of polish and elbow grease is all that should be needed.
or a basic there a platoon of mongs who sit about all day doin feck all, give um to them and let them crack on

Would you like to try that again when you haven't been in the bar all afternoon after the rugby match?....MiB
theres always petrol resistant laquar however it does crack and turn grey so dont put on the creases


Very descriptive and should produce average results, though not as good as my daughter's. The only let-down was at the end when he spoke of polish absorbing excess water. Must be using the special Kiwi water-soluble polish...

Not sure about licking the polish-laden duster, though. I've only tried it once...

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