How to Make Wet Felted Pixie Slippers
Shoe Lasts Come in All Shapes and Sizes!
To make these slippers, you will have to create a template which should be made from floor underlayment. You can trace around the actual wearer's foot, but if you are making slippers regularly, you may find it easier and more convenient to buy a shoe last and trace around these.
Shoe lasts can be purchased in a variety of sizes as shown below. I encourage you to use them if you would like to achieve a professional finish for all of your wet felted slippers or boot projects.
Shoe lasts are more commonly made of wood but can also be made of resin, metal or even polystyrene. Small shoe lasts for children can be difficult to source or are expensive to buy so keep your eyes peeled for reasonably priced ones which occasionally come onto the market on e-Bay or local antique shops and Etsy.
are a cheap alternative to wood or resin lasts and have the advantage of being able to be used inside a washing machine or tumble dryer. If you intend to make slippers or shoes regularly, these can be a good investment as they can be used over and over again. Polystyrene shoe lasts
Look for substitute lasts such as the tiny pair of wooden shoes pictured in the image below. These were purchased as decorative ornaments! I saw their potential and now use them regularly for making tiny shoes or booties for children. They were bought at a fraction of the price of what a 'real' pair of shoe lasts might have cost.
Things You Will Need to Complete This Tutorial:-
- , resin or polystyrene lasts, or alternatively you may like to draw around the feet of the intended wearer of these slippers. Wooden shoe lasts
- A sheet of . Templates made using underlayment can be used over and over again. If you make an error while drawing on the underlayment it can easily be wiped off using a damp cloth. floor underlayment
- A sheet of bubble wrap for rubbing the wet roving with.
- A quantity Merino wool roving
- A marker pen
- A heavy duty bamboo blind
- A hand towel for soaking up any excess water
- Warm soapy water such as olive oil soap which can be grated and diluted in warm water.
- A tumble dryer (useful but not essential)
- A pair of sharp scissors
- Dental floss for attaching the curved point of the slippers to the body of the slippers once they are completed(optional)
Step 1—Draw the Template
- Put the shoe lasts down onto the sheet of underfloor layment or alternatively you can draw around the feet of the person who will be wearing the slippers
- Use a tape measure to create dots around the traced image. The dots should be made about 1/1/2 inches away from the traced foot. This increase in the size of the foot is to allow for about 40% shrinkage which is likely to take place during the felting process.
- Connect the dots and complete the 1st side of the template as shown.
- Fold the template at the center line and draw a mirror image of the other side as is shown in the image here.
- Add a curve above each toe which will be used to create the pixie toe for the slippers.
- Cut around the template.
Step 2—Cover the Template With a Layer of Wool
- Cover the template with fibers plucked from a length of wool roving.
- The layer of wool should overlap the edges and be perfectly even throughout.
- An uneven layer of wool will always result in the finished article being full of thin spots or even holes.
- Any thin spots should be filled before proceeding to the second layer.
- It is better to have 3 thin layers than 2 layers which will end up with holes in them.
Step 3—Create the Pixie Toes
- The pixie toe shape should be created by wrapping any excess wool around the pointed curve.
- This should be done when the fibers are wet as is shown in the images below.
Step 4—Wet the Fibers
- Use a squeeze bottle to wet the fibers with warm soapy water.
Step 5—Cover With Bubble Wrap
- Cover the surface of the wool with bubble wrap, bubble side facing down.
- Wet the smooth surface of the bubble wrap with warm soapy water.
- The soapy water makes it very easy for your fingers to glide over the surface of the bubble wrap as you rub.
Step 6—Remove the Bubble Wrap Gently
- Life the bubble wrap off the wool taking care not to displace the fibers below.
Step 7—Fold the Overlapping Edges Over the Edge
- Use a little of the soapy water to help smooth the overlap over the edges.
Step 8—Fold the Wool Over the Edge of the Template
- The neatened edges should be covered with bubble wrap and rubbed well.
- Pay particular attention to ensuring you neaten the edges.
Step 9—Cover the 2nd Side
- Cover the 2nd side with Merino Wool.
Step 10—Wet the Wool
- Sprinkle with warm soapy water and cover with bubble wrap.
Step 11—Cover With Bubble Wrap
- Cover the surface with bubble wrap, bubble side down.
Step 12—Rub Well
- Press down on the wet fibers and rub well.
- Pay special attention to the edges so as to create a neat edge.
Step 13—Remove the Bubble Wrap
- Carefully lift off the bubble wrap so as not to displace the fibers.
Step 14—Neaten the Edges
- Fold the excess wool over the edges of the template.
- Wrap any overlapping wool near the toe sections of the slippers around the point.
- Cover with bubblewrap and smooth down the wet wool.
Step 15—The Edges Neatened
- Pay particular attention to the turned over edges.
- Wet the wool and cover with bubble wrap.
Step 16—Add a Little Water
- Rub well to smooth down the fiber.
Step 17—Add a 2nd Layer of Wool
- The layer of wool put down should be thick enough to cover the whole of the previous layer.
- There should an even layer of wool with no thin spots.
Step 18—Wet the Wool
- Wet the 2nd layer as shown.
Step 19—Cover With Bubble Wrap
- Wet the surface of the bubble wrap as before.
Step 20—Rub Well
- Rub well paying special attention to the edges on the template.
Step 21—Remove the Bubble Wrap.
- Lift the bubble wrap gently from the wet wool.
Step 22—Turn Over
- Fold the wool over the edges and neaten the toe area of the slipper.
- Use a little warm water to help smooth down the wool.
- This image shows that no shrinkage has as yet taken place.
- The little shoe lasts can be seen still only cover a small portion of the project.
Step 24—Cover the Project With Bubble Wrap
- With the Bubble Wrap still covering the project put it on the bamboo mat and roll it up inside the mat.
- Roll carefully at first, the project is still delicate at this stage.
Step 25—Roll 100 Times
- Roll the project about 100 times.
- Rotate the project and roll another 100 times
- Keep on rotating the project and roll until the fibers no longer move when pinched between the fingers.
Step 26—Change the Direction of Each Roll
- Change the direction in which you roll.
- This allows for even shrinkage throughout the project.
- The project starts to buckle as shrinkage takes place.
- The edge of the project shifts as shrinkage takes place leaving a neat edge.
- The bamboo blind is extremely effective at helping to create a very good edge with no folds visible anywhere.
- In this image, shrinkage can clearly be seen to have taken place.
- The template has begun to buckle and bend.
Step 29—The Pinch Test
- Test to see if the fibers still move by pinching them between 2 fingers.
- If they no longer move, you are now ready to move onto the next step.
Step 30—Extract the Template
- The project is still quite fragile at this stage.
- Extract the template carefully as shown.
Step 31—Put the 2 Boots Into a Plastic Bag
- Loosely tie the 2 sections loosely into a plastic bag.
- Tumble in a tumble dryer for about 5 minutes.
- The plastic bag helps prevent the slippers from moving around too much before they are sufficiently felted to withstand the tumble action within the dryer.
- Remove the plastic bag and allow the slippers to tumble without the plastic bag for about 5 minutes.
- Keep on checking every few minutes to make sure that the slippers don't shrink too much.
- The idea is to shrink the slippers enough for the shoe lasts to fit neatly into the space left behind and save you time.
- If you don't have a tumble dryer, put the slippers first into hot and then cold running water and massage with your palms and fingers.
- Drop them onto the surface of the kitchen sink to encourage the fibers to shrink.
- They will soon start to shrink.
- Shrink until the last can be accommodated inside the boot shape.
- Shrink until the lasts fit well.
- Give the slippers a final rinse under hot and then cold water.
- Roll the toe area between your palms and shape like a sausage so that it looks like the image below.
- Allow the slippers to dry on a rack placed in a well-ventilated space.
- Thread a needle with flat dental floss and secure the curve to the slipper.
- Tie a knot inside and cut off the excess.
- Dental floss is strong and softer and neater than cotton thread.
Step 32—Shaping the Slippers
- Wet the slippers and shape them on the lasts.
- Rub with bubble wrap or a cloth.
- The toe area once hardened by the rubbing can easily be shaped into a curled toe shap.e
Step 33—Creating Different Size Slippers!
- Different shapes and sizes can be created by using different size shoe lasts.
- Use the same l l/2 inch shrinkage allowance for all sizes. This allowance is generous. You may wish to experiment a little and reduce it a little depending on the wool and method of felting that you are using.
- Some wool shrinks more and some less.
- You will always achieve a firmer result if the wool is felted in a tumble rather than by hand.
- 3 layers of wool should be used for slippers larger than the ones shown here.
- 2 layers can be used for smaller sizes when you might be making them for a child who is not yet walking or crawling.
- For active children and adults experiment with 3 to 4 layers.
How to Wet Felt Booties
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© 2017 Sally Gulbrandsen