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

Updated on March 24, 2018
sallybea profile image

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. | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wetting the bubble wrap to facilitate easy movement on the surface.Neatening the edge using  the edge of the bubble wrap.
Wetting the bubble wrap to facilitate easy movement on the surface.
Wetting the bubble wrap to facilitate easy movement on the surface. | Source
Neatening the edge using  the edge of the bubble wrap.
Neatening the edge using the edge of the bubble wrap.

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.

Keep the Fibers of the Pre-Felt Thin and Even

The petals look better if they are not laid down too thick. Keep the layers thin, even, and delicate.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The measurement across the bottom is 10 inches.Height of the Hat 10 inches which includes 1 layer of petals.
The measurement across the bottom is 10 inches.
The measurement across the bottom is 10 inches. | Source
Height of the Hat 10 inches which includes 1 layer of petals.
Height of the Hat 10 inches which includes 1 layer of petals.

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 | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

7. Fold Over the Edges

Prepare to fold over loose fiber on the edges.

The folded over edges.
The folded over edges. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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

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

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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.

23. Put the Hat Upside Down on the Ball

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

24. Add an Elastic Band

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

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. | Source
How To Wet Felting Tutorial.
How To Wet Felting Tutorial. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Sally Gulbrandsen

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      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you, Dianna, glad you like it.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        8 months ago

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

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        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 profile image

        nwsinglespeed 

        8 months ago from Oregon

        Quite the process, but adorable results!

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you, Devika, appreciate the feedback:)

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        8 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        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 profile image

        Natalie Frank 

        8 months ago from Chicago, IL

        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!

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        8 months ago from Norfolk

        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.

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 

        9 months ago from Ohio

        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!

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        9 months ago from Norfolk

        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 profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        9 months ago from Oklahoma

        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.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        9 months ago from Norfolk

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

      • Ladymermaid profile image

        Lorelei Cohen 

        9 months ago from Canada

        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.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        9 months ago from Norfolk

        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 profile image

        shabushaj 

        9 months ago from india

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

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        9 months ago from Norfolk

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

      • TDQKaren profile image

        Karen 

        9 months ago from Columbia, Missouri, USA

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

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        9 months ago from Norfolk

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

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        9 months ago from Chicago Area

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

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        9 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you very much Billy, much appreciated.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        9 months ago from Olympia, WA

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

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        9 months ago from Norfolk

        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:)

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        9 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        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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