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How to Wet Felt a Hat on a Ball

Updated on August 12, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Hat on a Ball - Learning to make a Hat on a Ball

Learning from your Peers.

The attention span of children can be very short. This does sometimes require us to think of new ways to hold their attention so when one of my young friends asked me to teach her how to make a felt hat I tried to think out of the box

First, I decided to sit her down in front of my laptop where I could show her the YouTuve video below. In it, a young child teaches the public that felting is fun and not that difficult either.

Meg was utterly entranced by the video as was I when I first saw it. She was captivated right from the start. I knew then that I was more than halfway to teaching her how to make a hat on a ball.

Before I played the video, I explained to her, that it was very important for her to try to remember the steps the little girl would use to make her hat. I asked to memorize the items that we would need to re-create her own hat and I told her I would need her help to remind me of how to do it.

How to make a Hat on a Ball

Time to watch the video now.

Make a Hat on a Ball - Oliart Episode 8

Materials

  • 1 Child
  • 1 sheet of plastic
  • 1 Old Towel
  • 1 9 Inch (Gertie Ball) The Gertie Ball is perfect for this project. Not only is it soft and squishy when it is blown up but it can easily be inserted into a Tumble Dryer for quick felting should the child grow weary of the actual felting process.
  • 1 Small Bowl
  • 1 Squeeze Bottle filled with hot Soapy Water
  • A quantity of Wool Roving - in Bright Colors
  • 1 or two pairs of Ladies Tights
  • A Sheet of Bubble wrap

A Gertie Ball and a bowl

A 9 inch Gertie Ball inflated and set into a small bowl.
A 9 inch Gertie Ball inflated and set into a small bowl. | Source

Wool Roving

Roving placed in even rows.
Roving placed in even rows. | Source

Hot and cold water

Dunking the ball in hot and cold water.
Dunking the ball in hot and cold water. | Source

Handy Hint

A tumble dryer is invaluable when wet felting, especially when working with small children. If a child is unable to supply the necessary friction required to felt the wool, a tumble dryer will really certainly speed up the process.

It will also give them and their Instructor a well-deserved break, away from the Project.

Method

Cover the table with plastic sheeting or Bubble wrap.

Place two bowls of water side by side on the table. One should be half filled with very hot water This should be hot enough to handle without burning your hands.

Alternatively, you could do this in a double kitchen sink..

The second bowl should be half filled with cold water.

Inflate the Ball

Inflate the Ball and Insert the inflation plug into it

Place the Ball into the Bowl with the vent facing downwards

Spread a small amount of dish-washing liquid all over the ball.

Add Liquid Soap

It takes a lot of concentration to spread the Liquid Soap.
It takes a lot of concentration to spread the Liquid Soap. | Source

Handy Hint

By adding the Wool Roving in a spiral around the ball you can ensure that the fibers are more easily able to attach themselves to one another and also help to keep the downwards placed roving in place.

Draping the Wool Roving

Measure lengths of Wool Roving and ensure that those which are placed over the ball touch the table on all sides.

Begin by draping the fibers over the ball one at a time. (See Images) If you can still see the ball, add more fiber until you can no longer see the surface below. Smaller strips will fill any gaps.

Starting at the top of the ball, place some long strips around the width of the ball. Lay them in a spiral around the ball. This will help the wool to knit together and will also keep the layers together.

How to place the Wool Roving

Putting the wool onto the ball
Putting the wool onto the ball | Source

Spray with hot soapy water

Spraying with hot soapy water.  This is the fun bit.
Spraying with hot soapy water. This is the fun bit. | Source

Spray the Project

Spray the project with some hot soapy water and then insert it into the Tights.

Handy Hint

You may need some help getting the ball into the tights. I use the back of a metal dining chair. I stand the the Ball in the bowl on the Chair. I pull the tights out towards me with one hand and then I push the ball up into the tights with the other hand. I then take take the project off the chair and turn the ball over. Remove the bowl and tie the ends into a knot.

You may need some help with this!

Put the whole project into a pair of tights. You may need some help or use a chair!

Use the back of a chair to assist you!

Wool Covered Ball should be sprayed with water and then inserted into the tights.
Wool Covered Ball should be sprayed with water and then inserted into the tights. | Source
Pull the tights out towards yourself.
Pull the tights out towards yourself. | Source
Pus the ball in the bowl upwards into the tights.
Pus the ball in the bowl upwards into the tights. | Source
Now firmly pull down on the tights.
Now firmly pull down on the tights. | Source

Cut off the legs of the tights.

Cut off the legs of the stockings and knot the ends of the body. They will form a little bag in which you can insert your ball into.

Cut off the tights

You won't need the legs
You won't need the legs | Source

Tuck in the extra bits

Tuck in the extra bits and then knot the end of the tights.
Tuck in the extra bits and then knot the end of the tights. | Source

Leave the vent exposed

Turn the project over and tuck in the extra wool. The vent should be left exposed so that you can easily extract the ball later.

1 or 2 Pairs!

Add one or two pairs of stockings to ensure the fibers are securely held.

Handy Hint

The hotter the water, the quicker the felting process will go.

Hot then cold

Put the ball into the bowl of hot water. It should be as hot as your hands can handle.

Once completely wet, take the ball out and dunk it in cold water.

Repeat the hot and cold water process three times. Finish off with hot water and then place the project an old towel. Dab to remove any excess water.

Bouncing the ball

This is one of the fun parts - bounce the ball.
This is one of the fun parts - bounce the ball. | Source

Bounce the ball!

Cover the work surface with Bubble Wrap.... Remember to place the Bubble-Wrap with the bubbles facing up.

Bounce on the Bubble Wrap for three minutes. This is even more fun with more than one child present!

After three minutes of bouncing, check to see if the fibers below have begun to felt together. If not, retie the knots and keep on bouncing the ball on the Bubble Wrap until they do. You could put it into a Tumble Drier for three minutes.

The fibers will become bonded to one another.

Carefully extract the tights from the ball.


Remove the tights

Gently pull the tights from the wool fibers
Gently pull the tights from the wool fibers

Remove the inflation needle

Carefully extract the ball from the tights and then remove the inflation needle from the ball.

Remove the inflation plug

Remove the Inflation Plug.
Remove the Inflation Plug. | Source

Remove the Gertie ball

Remove the Gertie ball.

Dunk the ball in warm water and gradually stretch the opening so that you can get the ball out.

Rinse in hot and then cold water until the water runs clear. Finish off with hot water.

Source

Slap It around a bit!

Once you have stretched the bottom edge, squeeze out most of the water. Slap the project down hard against the surface of the sink or a table. Get rough with it. You will soon feel the fibers harden and shrink back.

Shape it!.

Once the wool has hardened, you will be able to shape it. You can either mold it over the child’s head or stretch it over a hat block.

Pace it on a cake rack where the air can circulate around it. I sometimes use a radiator or leave it on a polystyrene head to dry or on a wooden hat block.

The completed Project

The hat could be shaped to have a brim by turning over the ends.  Add a flower, see top video or check my other tutorials.
The hat could be shaped to have a brim by turning over the ends. Add a flower, see top video or check my other tutorials.

Hat Blocks and other Useful Items!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beautiful Pear Wood Hat BlockA Polystyrene Head
Beautiful Pear Wood Hat Block
Beautiful Pear Wood Hat Block | Source
A Polystyrene Head
A Polystyrene Head | Source

Felting for Children

How important is creativity to you and your Children?

See results

Try and Try Again!

Your first hat may not be perfect the first time around. If the bottom edge is not quite straight or you have uneven edges, cut them off and roll the cut edges between your fingers.

If you have holes in your work, use a needle felt tool to add more fibers.

Work with what you have, practice makes perfect!

© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      The Stages of ME

      You will need some wool roving or merino wool suitable for wet felting. Alpaca Wool is also suitable but not as easy to work with for a first project. I am based in the UK but I checked out sources of wool in the USA which can supply you with what you need. They are called Living Felt.

      I am so delighted to hear that you are excited at the idea of working with felt. I would probably start out with a simple flower when working with children - just so they you and they can with a very simple project. You may finding making a small pair of booties or even slippers with a group of children is also a good idea. Please check our some of my felting Hubs. YouTube is also a great place to watch some of the projects being made.

      Enjoy! Thank you for your comment, I look forward to hearing how you get on.

      PS Check out my Edible Bread Frog Hub - here you will learn to cook bread frogs from a bread mix.

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 3 years ago

      Oh my word now I know what wet felt is. That is awesome I can't wait to share. I work with young girls 7-12 grades as a Sunday school teacher. I see wet felt in our future. I am super excited. I also have a super crafty 19 year old daughter and this is going to be a new thing for us to try. Question where do we get the felt? Can I find at like an ACmoore...

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you Eddy, I appreciate your visits very much. I am always delighted to read your Hubs as I am to share my own with you. You have a great day.

      Sally

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub sallybea and here's to so many more for us both to share on here.

      Eddy.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      CrafytotheCore - thank you so much. I am so glad you enjoyed the tutorial. Yes it is wonderful to end them home with their very own hat. They may not get it perfect first time around but with a little practice and diligent care I think anyone can learn to do make one.

      The hat looks great with a brim too - check out my other hat making tutorials for more ideas. Thank you so much for your visit and also your very kind comments.

      Sally

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      WOW! Now that's amazing! I've never seen anything like that before. I'm just sitting here in awe. So creative. Thank you for writing about this. It's truly a piece of art. How awesome it would be for a child to tell their friends they made their own hat like this. Neat!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      artsandlearning, I hope you will explore many more of my Hubs on Felting and more from my Profile Pages. I am always delighted to meet people interested in arts and learning on these Pages. I thank you for your visit and your very kind comments.

      Sally

    • artsandlearning profile image

      Debora Wondercheck 3 years ago from 1518 Brookhollow Drive, Suite 15, Santa Ana, CA, 92705

      Hello,

      Wow! It is so creative and wonderful hub. Your hard work in creating this hub can be seen clearly. Nice description and very helpful pictures and videos.Hat on a Ball - A Wet Felting Tutorial for Children and great hub and you have great talent in such creative ideas to growth of children creativity as well.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      MsDora - It is so nice of you to stop by. Your visits are always much appreciated. I do hope that everyone trying this will have fun - this is exactly what I would wish for all the children and their care who attempt the Hat on a Ball technique.

      I hope you have a lovely day.

      Sally

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sally, I admire creativity in people like you, who use your talent to add positively to the lives of children especially. Hat on a Ball is great and I'm sure everyone attempting it will have fun. Thank you for sharing.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Ocfireflies - Kim I am so glad I was able to provide you with the inspiration for your next activity with your nieces. I hope you have loads of fun together.

      Your invitation to have lunch will sadly have to be declined as I live way over the pond in Norfolk in the UK. Nevertheless, it will be remembered as one of the nicest invitations I have ever received, thank you. Thanks too the V+++ the share here and on FB and I do hope your day is filled with blessings.

      Have a wonderful day.

      Sally

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      sallybea,

      You continue to amaze me. You must be one of the most talented people around, for your writing is flawless as are your pictures. I have two little nieces, and you have just provided the activity we will do the next time we are hanging out. Plus, let me take a moment to tell you how much your support means to me. If you were closer, and interested, I would love to take you out for lunch. Thank You for being YOU! This hub like all of your others is V+++ all the way and shared here and FB.

      Blessings to you and Wishing you a Wonderful day,

      Kim

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      DDE - so glad I was able to explain it correctly. You will have to try it and see how u go! Thank you for the compliment and the share, also the vote, I appreciate them very much. Hope you have a great day.

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hat on a Ball - A Wet Felting Tutorial for Children great hub and you have great talent in such creative ideas. The step by step procedure is easily explained and all sounds very interesting. You have shared a useful hub voted up!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      ExpectGreatThings - Ginger, I am so glad I was able to get across the instructions for making a Hat on a Ball. I am also very grateful for your comments and compliments. Thank you for your continued support, it is much appreciated.

      Sally

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 3 years ago from Illinois

      It is so impressive to me that you can do things like this! Really really nice job on this hub. You gave enough instruction that even I could follow it :) - Ginger

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you so much for your very welcome comments. It was a real pleasure to share this hub. I had a lot of fun doing it.

      I do feel that we can use technology to help us with crafting and other subjects too. Children seem to learn so very easily from following their peers. As long as it is a good example, I think we should take full advantage of it.

      Thanks so much for the vote up and pin - I very much appreciate your visit. Thank you

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Faith Reaper - I hope you get an opportunity to teach your grandchildren. The best part for me was seeing how my charge was able to keep her mind on the task at hand. The little girl in the video sure kept her attention. It is amazing how children love to be taught by children. I feel I have been rewarded ten times over just for having the experience.

      Thank you for the visit, the up and sharing - I so appreciate your continual support.

      Blessing to you too.

      Sally

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is so creative and wonderful hub! Your hard work in creating this hub can be seen clearly. Nice description and very helpful pictures and videos.

      I agree with your comments above that children are losing their creative mind and time with too much dependence on technology. Parents also do not have enough time for kids.

      But we need to create awareness to change the scenario, as you are doing.

      Voted up and pinned!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, how lovely. Wow, I must give this a try one weekend when my grands are up! I cannot believe how it all turns out in the end! What adorable photos you have there and that one at the end is priceless.

      Up and more and sharing.

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      tobusiness - everyone should have a go.. Wool is a beautiful medium to work with and the possibilities are endless. Glad you feel that children should be involved in craft activities as do I. Children are spending far more time watching TV than they used to and parents are so busy working to provide! Seems a shame but glad to hear that you might have a go. Thanks for your comment.s, they are much appreciated as always.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      And very fetching she looked!! My first thought were, oh no I couldn't do that, but Since a child managed it so well, I guess I should have a go. I have to agree with Mr Bill, children should be involved in more craft activities. It gives them a sense of achievement, ownership and appreciation. Nice work!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy, no, neither of them is my daughter, but I am too entranced by the young ladies concerned. I am so glad you feel that crafts are important in the scheme of things. Thank you for your continued support Billy, it really does mean a lot to me.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know who the young lady in the video is, but she is adorable and a natural in front of a camera.

      The other young lady, and I'm assuming it is your daughter? is so cute. I was entranced throughout the article and video.

      I think craft activities are incredibly important for kids. One of the hardest things to endure when I was teaching was watching the arts program fazed out because of lack of funding. Kids need crafts and the arts.

      Well done Sally!