How to Make a Wet-Felted Pixie Hat

Updated on August 31, 2018
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

A wet-felted pixie hat with dyed Teesdale curls added to the surface for texture.
A wet-felted pixie hat with dyed Teesdale curls added to the surface for texture. | Source

About This Tutorial

Take time to prepare each element of this hippy festival pixie hat. Put aside a day where you will not have too many interruptions!

Expect the process to take you some time but keep in mind that there is no hurry. This wet-felting tutorial can be broken up into manageable chunks. It can even be spread out over a few days if necessary!

If you need to leave the project for any length of time, simply cover it with bubble wrap to prevent any loose fibers from being displaced or if it is wet but has dried out a little, simply wet it again with warm soapy water and continue from where you left off.

The decorative fold which can be seen in the image can be created by putting down the Teeswater curls before the 3 layers of Merino wool roving are added.

This is because it is necessary to work in reverse order to have the curls lay on top of the wool when you make the folds on the back and neck of the hat.

The Teeswater curls can be substituted with silk fibers or even pieces of silk which can be cut from pure silk scarves.

I suggest that you use cool or lukewarm soapy water for this project especially if you are using silk scarves for embellishment as the fibers will not migrate into the silk if the water is too hot.

What You'll Need

  • 250 grams Merino wool roving: In colors of your own choice
  • Dyed Teeswater curls which will add texture to the hat.
  • Used silk scarves or pure silk fiber
  • A heavy-duty bamboo blind
  • Warm soapy water
  • Bubble wrap
  • A sheet of foam underfloor layment from which the template can be created. Underfloor layment is the perfect choice for this template because it can be re-used many times over.
  • Scissors: Make sure you have a sharp pair!
  • Felt-tip pen: This is for drawing the template. Once the template has been drawn and cut out you should use a damp cloth to remove any traces of ink which were left behind so that they do not bleed into the wool.

Printable Pixie PDF Template

Wet Felted Pixie Hat Template Layout.
Wet Felted Pixie Hat Template Layout. | Source

1. Create the Template

  • Download the PDF pattern or create one of your own.
  • Print the pattern (borderless printing) so that the template prints at the correct size.
  • A 1-inch square is marked on each pattern piece.
  • When you print out your pattern pieces ensure that it does measure 1 inch or reprint to scale as perfect results cannot be guaranteed if the pattern is not the correct size.
  • Cut out the 7 pattern pieces
  • Assemble the pieces in their correct order as shown above and sellotape them together.
  • Place the paper template onto a piece of underfloor Layment foam and draw around the outer edge of the template with a felt tip pen.
  • Carefully cut out the template using a sharp pair of scissors.
  • Use a damp cloth to remove any traces of felt tip pen markings to avoid having them bleed into the wool.

 The prepared template cut from Underfloor Layment.
The prepared template cut from Underfloor Layment. | Source

2. Prepare Your Working Surface

  • Place an old towel down onto a waterproof surface.
  • Put a large heavy duty bamboo blind down onto the towel.
  • Put the prepared template down onto the heavy duty bamboo blind


Dyed Teeswater Curls
Dyed Teeswater Curls | Source

3. Make the Hat

  • Begin by adding dyed Teeswater curls to the template as shown below.
  • Only a thin layer of evenly spaced curls are required.

3/4 of the hat evenly spaced as shown using dyed Teeswater Curls
3/4 of the hat evenly spaced as shown using dyed Teeswater Curls | Source

4. Cover the Curls

  • Cover the template and the Teeswater curls with an even layer of Merino Wool roving.

Cover the Dyed Teeswater curls with Merino Wool fibers.
Cover the Dyed Teeswater curls with Merino Wool fibers. | Source

5. Wet the Wool

  • Sprinkle warm soapy water over the Project.

Wet the fibers with warm soapy water.
Wet the fibers with warm soapy water. | Source

6. Cover the Wet Fibers

  • Cover the project with a sheet of bubble wrap, bubble side facing down.
  • Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with warm soapy water.

Wetting the surface of the bubble wrap using warm soapy water which will help facilitate easy rubbing of the fingers on the surface.
Wetting the surface of the bubble wrap using warm soapy water which will help facilitate easy rubbing of the fingers on the surface. | Source

7. Flatten the Wet Merino Wool Fibers

  • Press down on the surface of the bubble wrap to force the water downwards and out towards the edges of the template.
  • Add a little soapy water to the surface of the bubble wrap.
  • Rub until the wool below becomes wet and flat.

Rubbing the wet surface of the bubble wrap.
Rubbing the wet surface of the bubble wrap. | Source

8. Remove the Bubble Wrap

  • Gently lift the bubble wrap from the project taking care not to displace the fibers.

Gently lifting the bubble wrap from the wet wool.
Gently lifting the bubble wrap from the wet wool. | Source

9. Turn the Project Over

  • Don't turn in the loose wool around the edges yet!

The Project flipped over - side 2
The Project flipped over - side 2 | Source

10. Repeat the Curls on the Second Side

  • Make a mirror image of the previous side before turning in the wool on the edges.

Teeswater Curls being added to side 2 of the template.
Teeswater Curls being added to side 2 of the template. | Source

11. Neaten the Edges!

  • Fold in the loose fibers left over from the previous side before smoothing them down with a little warm soapy water as shown below.

The edges of the template turned over and smoothed down using a little  warm soapy water.
The edges of the template turned over and smoothed down using a little warm soapy water. | Source

12. Cover the Curls

  • Complete the 2nd side by covering the curls and the template with Merino Wool Roving.

Side 2, the curls covered with a layer of Merino wool.
Side 2, the curls covered with a layer of Merino wool. | Source

13. Wet the Layer

  • Sprinkle the layer with warm soapy water.

Wetting the 2nd side using warm soapy water.
Wetting the 2nd side using warm soapy water. | Source

14. Cover with Bubble Wrap

  • Cover with the sheet of bubble wrap and sprinkle the surface with warm soapy water to facilitate easy movement of the fingers as you rub the surface.
  • Rub gently to flatten the fibers below.

Wetting the bubble wrap.
Wetting the bubble wrap. | Source

15. Remove the Bubble Wrap

  • Gently lift off bubble wrap after rubbing and smoothing the layers below.

Removing the Bubble Wrap to expose the flat wet fibers below.
Removing the Bubble Wrap to expose the flat wet fibers below. | Source

16. Neaten the Edges

  • Neaten the edges of the template by turning the wet fibers over the edge of the template.
  • Use a little warm soapy water and your fingers where necessary.

Creating a neat finish by turning in any loose fibers.
Creating a neat finish by turning in any loose fibers. | Source

17. Complete the Layer

  • Complete sides 1 and 2 by neatening the edges as shown.

Folding over the edges and smoothing with warm soapy water.
Folding over the edges and smoothing with warm soapy water. | Source

18. Layer 2

  • Cover the 1st Layer with another layer of Merino Wool Roving.

Layer 2 covering the 1st layer.
Layer 2 covering the 1st layer. | Source

19. Wet the Fibers

  • Wet with warm soapy water as before.

Wetting the wool
Wetting the wool | Source

20. Cover and Wet the Bubble Wrap.

  • Add a little soapy water to the surface of the bubble wrap and rub flat.

Rubbing the wet surface.
Rubbing the wet surface. | Source

21. Remove the Bubble Wrap

  • Gently lift off the bubble wrap so as not to displace the wool below.

Removing the Bubble Wrap.
Removing the Bubble Wrap. | Source

22. Avoid the Ear and Pixie Tail Areas!

  • Use a little warm soapy water on your fingers to help smooth out the edges but avoid the ear and Pixie tail areas at this stage.

Neatening the Edges
Neatening the Edges | Source

23. Neaten!

  • Neaten the whole of the hat but avoid the area of the hat where the pixie tail and hat ties will be added. Please see pictures.

Turning the edges over but avoiding the hat tie area and the pixie tail.
Turning the edges over but avoiding the hat tie area and the pixie tail.

24. The 2nd Layer!

  • The second layer is now complete except for the tail and tie which were left with loose fibers to all for easy joining of these sections once the final layer of fiber and embellishment have been added to the hat.

The neatened edges but leaving the fibers loose to allow for easy joining of the hat ties and adding the pixie hat tail.
The neatened edges but leaving the fibers loose to allow for easy joining of the hat ties and adding the pixie hat tail. | Source

25. The 3rd and Final Layer.

  • For the final layer add a layer of Merino Wool and decorative curls or embellishment according to your own preferences.
  • You may prefer to use just an even layer of Merino Wool Fibers with no curls!
  • Or you could include a layer of curls and include silk fibers or pieces of silk scarves.

The final layer. Adding layers of Merino wool and curls.
The final layer. Adding layers of Merino wool and curls. | Source

26. Wet the Surface

  • Wet the surface of Layer 3 as with all previous layers.

Wetting the Surface
Wetting the Surface | Source

27. Cover with Bubble Wrap

  • Wet the surface with warm soapy water and rub well.

Rubbing the surface of the bubble wrap.
Rubbing the surface of the bubble wrap. | Source

28. Remove the Bubble wrap

  • Gently lift off the bubble wrap.

Gently removing the bubble wrap from the 3rd layer.
Gently removing the bubble wrap from the 3rd layer. | Source

29. Neaten the Edges

  • Fold over the edges but keep the loose fibers of the tie and the pixie tail loose as shown.

Layer 3, finishing off the edges but leaving the tail and ties free and loose..
Layer 3, finishing off the edges but leaving the tail and ties free and loose.. | Source

30. Side 2 of Layer 3, the Final Layer

  • Add Merino wool fibers and a decorative layer to match the previous layer.

Wetting the final layer.
Wetting the final layer. | Source

31. Cover with Bubble Wrap

  • Wet the Surface with soapy water.
  • Rub flat but avoid the pixie tail and tie areas.

Rubbing the Wet Surface
Rubbing the Wet Surface | Source

32. Remove the Bubble Wrap

  • Lift off the bubble wrap and prepare to neaten the edges.

The bubble wrap being removed from the final layer.
The bubble wrap being removed from the final layer. | Source

33. Neaten the Edges

  • Avoid the tie and tail area and fold them over using a little soapy water.

Neatening the Edges
Neatening the Edges | Source

34. Cover with Bubble Wrap

  • Wet and neaten off the edges avoiding the loose fiber on the tail and ties.

Neatening the final layer.
Neatening the final layer. | Source

35. Prepare the Tail and the Ties

  • Split a length of wool roving to make 2 ties and use a thicker piece to create a curly tail.
  • I suggest a finished length of approximately12 inches (30cm) for the ties and 12 inches or (30cm) for the tail once shrinkage has taken place.
  • Shrinkage is calculated to be in the region of 40% so add it to your prepared lengths.

The pixie hat tail created from wool roving.
The pixie hat tail created from wool roving. | Source

36. Wet and Roll the Curly Tail

  • Roll on the bamboo blind but leave the fibers on one end dry so that they can be easily attached to the hat.

Wetting the curly tail
Wetting the curly tail | Source

37. Attach the Tail

  • Attach the rolled tail to the top of the hat as shown by rubbing and rolling with the blind and also between your fingers.

Attaching the tail to the top of the hat.  Roll the whole area until it fiber blend completely into the hat.
Attaching the tail to the top of the hat. Roll the whole area until it fiber blend completely into the hat. | Source

38. Use the Bubble Wrap

  • Use the bubble wrap to assist with the felting process.
  • Rub from the top but keep rubbing and shaping the sides until the fibers no longer move.
  • Remove the bubble wrap and then shape and roll the tail by running your fingers up and down the tail.

Shaping the curly tail under the bubble wrap.
Shaping the curly tail under the bubble wrap. | Source

39. The Hat Ties

  • Use the split wool roving to create 2 ties.
  • Add a little embellishment if desired.
  • Wet with warm soapy water but leave 2 ends dry.

The split roving with a little embellishment - making 2 ties and being made wet with soapy water.
The split roving with a little embellishment - making 2 ties and being made wet with soapy water. | Source

40. Roll the Ties

  • Roll the ties but keep one end dry.

1 rolled tie with 1 still waiting to be rolled.
1 rolled tie with 1 still waiting to be rolled. | Source
The rolled ties waiting to be attached to the pixie hat. Note the loose ends.
The rolled ties waiting to be attached to the pixie hat. Note the loose ends. | Source

41. Cut Open the Bottom of the Hat

  • Cut the bottom edge of the hat where indicated in the image below.
  • Don't remove the template yet, it will help keep the two not fully felted pieces of the hat separate.

Cut the bottom of the hat as shown using a pair of sharp scissors.
Cut the bottom of the hat as shown using a pair of sharp scissors. | Source

42. Attach the Ties

  • Align the ties one by one onto the areas as shown below.
  • Don't remove the template yet, it will help to keep the pieces from fusing with one another.
  • Do keep the ties separate from one another by inserting a piece of bubble wrap between them to keep them apart and stop them felting to one another.

Attaching the ties to the bottom of the hat.
Attaching the ties to the bottom of the hat. | Source
Keep the ties separate from one another by inserting a sheet of bubble wrap.  The template is still inside the hat.
Keep the ties separate from one another by inserting a sheet of bubble wrap. The template is still inside the hat. | Source

43. Cover with Bubble Wrap

  • Attach one tie at a time, rub, roll and shape using fingers, bamboo mat or bubble wrap.
  • When the is properly fused, roll between your fingers to achieve the desired roundness needed.

Wet the surface of the bubble wrap and rub and shape.
Wet the surface of the bubble wrap and rub and shape. | Source
The tie firmly attached to the hat.
The tie firmly attached to the hat. | Source

44. Attach the 2nd Tie

  • Attach the 2nd tie.
  • Keep the 2 ties separate from one another to prevent them from felting to one another.

The template still inside the hat with 1 tie now attached to the hat.
The template still inside the hat with 1 tie now attached to the hat. | Source
Attaching the 2nd Tie.  Using Bubble for rubbing and for separating the ties from one another.
Attaching the 2nd Tie. Using Bubble for rubbing and for separating the ties from one another. | Source

45. Rubbing and Rolling

  • Lots of rubbing and rolling will be required to firmly attach both ties whilst maintaining their separateness.
  • Put a sheet of bubble wrap between them and once they are firmly attached to the hat your fingers and/or a piece of folded bubblewrap to help with the shaping of the ties.

The template separating the two sides of the hat from one another.
The template separating the two sides of the hat from one another. | Source
Rubbing on the bubble wrap
Rubbing on the bubble wrap | Source

46. Shrinking and Shaping the hat

  • Roll those parts of the hat which can be easily rolled inside the heavy duty blind or rub covered with bubble wrap.
  • When all the parts of the hat have fused together but are not fully shrunk, put them loosely into a supermarket bag.
  • Tie the ends of the bag and pop the project into a tumble dryer for a few minutes.
  • Keep on checking the contents of the bag and put it back into the tumble dryer until it can be seen that some shrinkage has taken place.
  • Remove the template from the middle and put the project onto a hat block to shape.
  • This can be done using a polystyrene head, a glass head or a wooden hat block or at worst, even your own head!
  • If you don't have a tumble dryer put the hat onto a hat block covered with cling wrap to protect the wooden surface.
  • I like to use the glass dummy shown below. This can be put under hot and cold running water, shaped and shrunk with no harm coming to it.

Note the shrinkage which took place in the tumble dryer.
Note the shrinkage which took place in the tumble dryer. | Source

47. Rinse the Hat

  • Give the hat a final rinse in water with a little vinegar added.

Rinsing under hot and then cold water.
Rinsing under hot and then cold water. | Source

48. Shape the Hat

  • Fold the bottom and top sections of the hat as shown below.

Shaping the hat under hot and then cold water.
Shaping the hat under hot and then cold water. | Source

Shape the Tail

  • Roll the tail up and peg the end.
  • Shrink and rub any areas which need any further shaping using a piece of folded bubble wrap - bubble side down as shown below.

Curl and peg the tail into shape.
Curl and peg the tail into shape. | Source
The completed Pixie Hat.
The completed Pixie Hat. | Source

Another Example of the Pixie Hat Using the Same Template

Wet Felted Pixie Hat with Mohair Embellishment.
Wet Felted Pixie Hat with Mohair Embellishment. | Source

This work is copyright, Sally Gulbrandsen. Please do not sell or share the template without my express permission.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Sally Gulbrandsen

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      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Cedar that was quick! So glad it worked out even though you could not find a printer. Can't wait to see how your hat turns out. Please post a pic on my facebook if you can't here.

      • profile image

        Cedar 

        8 months ago

        Great instructions, hat almost finished...took about four hours and altho couldn't find a printer for the pdf, I was glad i had purchased it as i could make the pattern upfrom the scale on it....thi k that's why it took longer as i had to make the pattern...its a sweet design and will post a pic when i complete it...life is what happens when you are busy making other plans...thanks again

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        It is my pleasure Chitrangada Sharan and I am pleased that you feel that the instructions are 'excellent'. Thank you.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        8 months ago from New Delhi, India

        Beautiful and creative work!

        Your step by step instructions are excellent and it would be so easy for those who want to make it.

        Thanks for sharing another of your wonderful creations.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Doris, the hat is adult or teen size though it would be possible to reduce the size of the template slightly. One could print out the Pdf template at about 80% for instance for a smaller hat. Felting is not an exact science so you should always expect each project to shrink around 40% - 50%.from beginning to end.

        I think the instructions are pretty easy to follow but it does take time to understand how wool behaves under fingers and during the felting process. It can be long and hard work, rubbing and rolling, depending on how you approach things. I employ lots of tips and tricks to cut down on the hard work. I would probably attempt a few easy projects before tackling this one unless you are prepared to do it over a few days.

        As regards your granddaughter I know she would look very cute wearing this hat. I am planning to make a smaller one of my grandchildren. I hope to make one for Christmas so I will have a go at reducing the size of the template a little and see how it turns out. I can add an image here as an example later.

        I appreciate your visit and the feedback, thank you so much.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        8 months ago from Beautiful South

        That is so cute, Sally. Your instructions are so very easy to follow, but I still wonder if one would have to be experienced to accomplish this sweet little hat? What size is this hat, child, adult? I can just see in on my precious two-year-old great granddaughter.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you Dora, it is always such a pleasure to find you back on one of my pages. Your feedback means such a lot to me.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        8 months ago from The Caribbean

        It's difficult to go wrong with these instructions so well detailed and laid out. You're a good instructor and your products are beautiful.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you very much Claudia. Your feedback is always welcomed and much appreciated. I am glad you like the colors I chose.

        It has taken me a long time to perfect the template for this hat.

        Wet felting is not an exact science but I think I have come as close to perfection as I can with this one:)

        You definitely need to set aside a lot of time for this art form but I hope that one day you will find it.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

        Claudia Mitchell 

        8 months ago

        Another wonderful tutorial Sally. I love it and the colors you used. I'm still meaning to try felting, but just can't seem to find the time.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you Cedar, the feedback is welcomed.

      • profile image

        Cedar 

        8 months ago

        So generous of you..

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        You are very welcome Eman. Thank you for taking the time to stop by to comment.

      • Emmy ali profile image

        Eman Abdallah Kamel 

        8 months ago from Egypt

        So beautiful, thank you.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Thanks Devika for always being there:) It is lovely to hear from you.

        Sally.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        I am sorry I have been a little absent from HubPages lately, lots of things going on which have needed my attention including a cataract op two weeks ago. I have continued to wet felt and this project and one other due soon has been on the boil for a long time but I am so happy this one is finished now.

        I know you are right about the farmers market. I love how my items bring a smile to all that see them out there in the big wild world.

        You have a good week Billy, it is always such a pleasure to have you grace one of my pages. Thank you.

      • profile image

        DDE 

        8 months ago

        Fantastic! I admire your creative ideas.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        8 months ago from Olympia, WA

        It was nice to see you pop up in my feed this morning. It's good to see you are still hard at work on your creations. Your felt magic would do quite well at our farmers market, I'm sure.

        Wishing you a brilliant week ahead!

        bill

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