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How to Make a Wet-Felted Sunflower Hat for a Newborn Baby

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

Bathing in a Wet Felted Sunflower Hat.

Bathing in a Wet Felted Sunflower Hat.

Making 3D Felt

As a feltmaker, I am driven by the desire to create seamless objects which look good and fit beautifully.

The seamstress in me balks at the idea!

I have always relied on commercial sewing patterns and sewn seams to help me create that perfect fit! I do however recognize that somewhere between these two art forms lays a conflict which I am still coming to terms with.

The purist feltmaker in me is driven by the challenge which this art form demands which is to create a shape using only fiber, water, and friction.

This newborn sunflower that was designed to be worn for a photo shoot. The result is a cut 3D hat without seams. I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

What You'll Need

  • Yellow Merino Wool Roving
  • Silk Embellishment Fibers: You only need a small quantity to give a little sheen to the hat.
  • Hot Soapy Water
  • Bubble Wrap
  • A Sheet of Foam Underfloor Layment: The rectangular pre-felt shape should measure about 22 x 8 inches. Once prepared the finished pre-felt should be cut into 2 long strips which go right around the bottom of the hat twice. These strips will become 2 of the 3 layers of petals.
  • Scissors: Make sure you have a sharp pair!
  • Felt-Tip Pen: This is for drawing the templates. It pays to wipe the color off afterward with a damp sponge once you have cut out the template. The ink can bleed into the wool if left on.
  • Cling Wrap: You'll use this to separate the petal layers.
  • Ruler
  • Ball or Balloon: Choose whichever one is the right size to form the hat.

1. Make the Pre-Felt for the Petals

  • On a 22"x8" piece of bubble wrap, put down two fine layers of yellow wool roving. Add a little embellishment to the top surface to give the finished Pre-felt a little shine.
  • Sprinkle the fibers with hot soapy water and cover with bubble wrap.
  • Wet the surface of the bubble wrap and rub carefully.
  • Neaten the edges using the bubblewrap as shown below.
  • Roll the flat sheet of Pre-felt inside a bamboo blind until the fibers have just fused together.
  • Cut into 2 strips and set aside until the hat template has been covered in wool.
  • The pre-felt can be used wet if handled with care.
  • The wet pre-felt can easily be incorporated into the woolen fibers of the hat when wet.

2. Draw and Cut Out the Hat Template

  • Draw the hat template according to the measurements shown.
  • Round the edges at the top to create the hat template.
Wetting the Merino Wool with hot soapy water, Layer 1

Wetting the Merino Wool with hot soapy water, Layer 1

3. Cover the Template With Yellow Merino Wool

  • Add a little embellishment to the surface to create interest and a little shine.
  • Cover the template with one layer of yellow wool roving.
  • Wet with hot soapy water using a squeeze bottle.
Wetting the surface of the bubble wrap.

Wetting the surface of the bubble wrap.

4. Cover and Wet the Surface of the Bubble Wrap

  • Wetting the surface of the bubble wrap helps you move your fingers easily over the surface.
Rub the surface of the bubble wrap using a little hot soapy water to facilitate easy movement.

Rub the surface of the bubble wrap using a little hot soapy water to facilitate easy movement.

5. Rub the Surface of the Bubble Wrap

  • Rub the surface just enough to fuse the fiber below without felting them.
  • If they are too felted together, the petals will not integrate into the hat.
Removing the bubble wrap.

Removing the bubble wrap.

6. Remove the Bubble Wrap

  • Gently remove the bubble wrap and turn the project over.
The edges ready to be folded over.

The edges ready to be folded over.

7. Fold Over the Edges

Prepare to fold over loose fiber on the edges.

The folded over edges.

The folded over edges.

8. Neaten the Edges

Fold over the edges using a little soapy water.

Cover the Template and Wet the Wool

Cover the Template and Wet the Wool

9. Begin the Second Layer

Repeat as above. Cover both sides of the template with another layer of yellow wool as shown.

2 Layers of Merino Wool on each side.

2 Layers of Merino Wool on each side.

10. Complete the Steps for the Second Layer

The two layers have now been completed.

The layer of cling film separating the hat from the petals.

The layer of cling film separating the hat from the petals.

11. Cut off About 3.5" of Cling Film

  • Place a section of cling film across the bottom of the wet wool covering the template.
  • The cling film forms a partition between the layers to create the 3d petals.
  • The pre-felt which is laid over the cling wrap should extend into the area. This allows the fibers to fuse together when it's made wet and rolled.
A piece of pre-felt covering the cling wrap, fibers extending above and onto the hat below.

A piece of pre-felt covering the cling wrap, fibers extending above and onto the hat below.

12. Cover the Cling Wrap With Pre-felt

  • The pre-felt should extend beyond the top of the cling wrap.
  • This is to allow the fibers to fuse to layer 1 and 2 on the hat.
  • Smooth down using a little hot soapy water.
Fold the Pre-felt around the the sides of the hat.  Add film to separate the layers and cover with he Pre-felt.

Fold the Pre-felt around the the sides of the hat. Add film to separate the layers and cover with he Pre-felt.

13.Turn the Template Over Carefully

  • Try not to displace the piece of pre-felt covering the cling wrap.
  • Make sure that you wrap the cling film wraps right around the hat template in a continuous circle so that the pre-felt forms a separate but continuous circle around the hat but extends beyond the top of the film.
  • The part of the pre-felt which extends above the cling wrap should also be rubbed down gently using water if necessary before adding a second layer of wrap and pre-felt to the hat.
The second layer of Pre-felt being added to the hat.

The second layer of Pre-felt being added to the hat.

14. Add a Layer of Cling Film and Pre-Felt

Repeat by covering with a second layer of cling film and pre-felt.

how-to-make-a-wet-felted-sunflower-hat-for-a-newborn-baby

15. Wet and Cover With Bubblewrap

Wet the surface of the bubble wrap and rub both sides of the project until the fibers below are fused but not felted.

Removing the bubble wrap.

Removing the bubble wrap.

16. Remove the Bubble Wrap

Gently lift the bubble wrap from the project and check it for stability.

Roll Inside a Bamboo Blind.

Roll Inside a Bamboo Blind.

17. Roll Inside a Bamboo Blind

Roll it gently inside a Bamboo Blind. Increase the pressure and keep changing the direction of the roll.

18. Put It in the Tumble Dryer for 10 Minutes

  • Place the project in the tumble dryer for 10 minutes or roll until the fibers no longer move.
  • Do a pinch test between your fingers to check for stability.
The cut edge of the hat.

The cut edge of the hat.

19. Cut the Bottom of the Hat

  • Cut the bottom of the hat and remove the cling wrap.
  • Massage the fibers under hot and cold running water.
  • Hold the top of the hat and gently hit the petals against a hard surface such as a kitchen counter.
  • The fibers will tighten and shrink.
Removing the cling wrap after a short stint in the tumble dryer.

Removing the cling wrap after a short stint in the tumble dryer.

20. Separate the Layers

  • Measure the distance around the hat and mark out the petals.
  • Make the cuts straight up and then shape the petals afterward by cutting inwards from the center of the piece as shown.
  • The petals shown here were cut at 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • Cut the first layer and then cut the second in-between the first cuts.
  • Repeat with the last layer which is actually the piece at the bottom of the hat.
Pinning an even distance between the layers.

Pinning an even distance between the layers.

21. Cut the Layers

  • Cut right up and until where the Pre-felt has attached itself to the body of the hat.
  • Finally cut the last layer which is the bottom section of the hat.
The hat pulled onto a ball with the petals been cut.

The hat pulled onto a ball with the petals been cut.

22. Shape the Petals

Cut the petals to shape as shown and then put the hat into the tumble dryer for a few minutes to seal the cut edges.

how-to-make-a-wet-felted-sunflower-hat-for-a-newborn-baby

23. Put the Hat Upside Down on the Ball

Shape the damp petals as desired, and leave it to dry on the ball.

how-to-make-a-wet-felted-sunflower-hat-for-a-newborn-baby

24. Add an Elastic Band

You might like to put an elastic band around the hat and leave to dry on the ball.

how-to-make-a-wet-felted-sunflower-hat-for-a-newborn-baby

25. The Completed Hat

The hat will dry in the shape which you curl the petals.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Your comments or suggestions for further tutorials are welcomed.

Little Miss Sunshine, bathing in a wet felted sunshine hat.

Little Miss Sunshine, bathing in a wet felted sunshine hat.

How To Wet Felting Tutorial.

How To Wet Felting Tutorial.

© 2018 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 28, 2018:

Hi Kim, how lovely to hear from you. I am my family are well thank you and hope that yours are too. I hope that the arrival of a few grandchildren is imminent. I know they will bring you much joy.

ocfireflies aka Kim on November 28, 2018:

Dear Sally,

I so love this hub! While I am still waiting on grand babies, I know this will be something I will want to try when that day arrives. Hoping you and yours are well.

Blessings Always,

Kim

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 25, 2018:

Thank you, Dianna, glad you like it.

Dianna Mendez on February 24, 2018:

This is so adorable! I love the bright sunny yellow and it would make for perfect baby pictures!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 22, 2018:

You are right about the process and I have already done it 3 times in 3 different ways to improve the time it takes to make the hat so you might need to watch this space:)

nwsinglespeed from Oregon on February 22, 2018:

Quite the process, but adorable results!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 21, 2018:

Thank you, Devika, appreciate the feedback:)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 21, 2018:

That looks so cute! A lovely color and you have great ideas.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 21, 2018:

Thank you MsDora, you are much too kind. Have a terrific week.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 21, 2018:

Queen of Wet Felts (among other things), your work is exceptional!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

I am not much of a knitter though I have tried knitting a pair of adult slippers which I felted. I don't find that method of felting as challenging as I do wet felting and the finished effect is completely different. I have to warn you though that it is addictive once you start:)

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on February 20, 2018:

So cute! I really have to try this technique one of these days! I'm still doing felting (fulling) where I knit wool into a shape then felt it but this seems more fun!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

I would try looking on Amazon or E-Bay if you find it difficult to buy supplies in your area. You could even try using raw wool which you can dye using Kool-Aid or use in its natural form from a local farmer.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on February 20, 2018:

The more of these projects I read about, the more I want to try it. It is difficult for me to get supplies at the moment, but I want to in the future!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

The good thing about wet felting is that a project does not have to be completed in one day. You can return to the project the next day or day after to complete it with no ill effect. Simply wet it and continue where you left off. Thanks for taking the time to comment Larry, much appreciated.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on February 20, 2018:

I always see your wet felt projects and other folks too. I need to give them a shot. Never can find the time.

Looks like a cool project.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

My thinking exactly and will definitely bring a smile to many faces. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on February 20, 2018:

That is so cute. A perfect little summer time treat to take baby out shopping in. It would definitely bring a few smiles to those you pass by.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

shabushaj, I suggest starting out with an easy project first before embarking on this one. Check out my profile for more wet felting tutorials.

shabushaj from india on February 20, 2018:

Wow...came to know about wet felting for the first time. Thanks for sharing..I will make a try

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

You are welcome Karen, I hope their projects turn out exactly as they should.

Karen from Columbia, Missouri, USA on February 20, 2018:

Thank you Sally! I have two friends having baby showers soon, and this is just perfect!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

Thank you Heidi you are welcome. I value your continued support and enthusiasm for my felting projects.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 20, 2018:

So cute! What more can I say? Thanks for sharing your talent with us, as always.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

Thank you very much Billy, much appreciated.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 20, 2018:

Congratulations on winning the contest,my friend. Well-deserved!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 20, 2018:

Thank you Mary, nice to have to grace yet another of my pages. I live in hope and look forward to you sharing a photo or two in the future:)

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 20, 2018:

Hi Sally. The more I look at these felt projects, the more I get confident that I can follow your instructions. They are clear with pictures. Thank you.

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