How to Make a Wet Felted Top Hat on a Cheap Black Plastic Party Supplies Hat

Updated on December 13, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Boys Top Hat

Boys Tophat
Boys Tophat | Source

Girls Top Hat

Keeping the Cost Down!

Creativity does come at a price! Sometimes we have to think outside the box in order to keep these costs to a minimum. This tutorial has been designed to do just that.

Waste wool was purchased in bulk from World of World. The same product can however, be purchased from a third party seller on Amazon in much smaller amounts but at a slightly higher price!

World of wool ship worldwide so this should not be a problem if you live elsewhere in the world.

Materials Needed

  • 1 Black Plastic HatTopper
  • Assorted Ends/Waste from Wool Top/Roving (Alternatively use Wool Batts which can be purchased ready-made from several places including Etsy or Amazon.
  • Decorative fibers for creating texture on the surface of the hat
  • A hat template cut from a sheet of thick plastic
  • A heavy duty bamboo blind
  • A tumble dryer
  • Bubblewrap
  • A sharp pair of scissors
  • Hot soapy water, dishwashing liquid or olive oil soap grated and diluted in hot water
  • Hand carders to blend the waste wool to make a thick batt (Alternatively use a drum carder to make thick wool batts for this project.

Assorted Ends/Waste from Wool Tops/Roving

54 Cm Party Hat Circumference

Black Plastic Party Supplies Hat and the Plastic Template

Black plastic supplies hat and template cut from a thick sheet of plastic
Black plastic supplies hat and template cut from a thick sheet of plastic | Source

The Interior of the Cheap Party Supplies Hat

The interior of the cheap black plastic party hat.
The interior of the cheap black plastic party hat. | Source

Instructions

Step 1—Cut out the Template

Cut out a template using underfloor laminate or bubblewrap.

If using the template above, cut it 4 inches shorter than the measurement shown as this was originally designed to fit an adult.

Any excess felt left over at the bottom of the hat can be used to create a matching hat band if desired.

Hat Template Cut from Plastic Sheeting

Cut the template about 4 inches shorter if you don't want a matching hat band.
Cut the template about 4 inches shorter if you don't want a matching hat band. | Source

Step 2—Cover the Template with a Thick Layer of Wool Roving

  • Add a top layer of embellishment merino wool or decorative fibers to the surface of the hat.

Wet the Layers with Hot Soapy Water

Wet the fibers with hot soapy water
Wet the fibers with hot soapy water | Source

Step 3—Cover the Roving with a Sheet of Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface of the wool roving with hot soapy water/
  • Cover with bubblewrap.
  • Add a little soapy water to the surface of bubblewrap to facilitate easy rubbing.
  • Press downwards, push the water out towards the edges and then rub well.

Remove the Bubblewrap

Cover the wet fibers with bubblewrap, wet the surface and rub well.
Cover the wet fibers with bubblewrap, wet the surface and rub well. | Source

Step 4—Turn the Project Over

  • Fold the excess fibers around the edge of the template.
  • Use a little hot soapy water to smooth out the fibers.

The Roving Folded Over the Edge of the Template

Fold over the edges with a little hot soapy water
Fold over the edges with a little hot soapy water | Source

Step 5— Cover the 2nd Side of the Hat in a Layer of Wool Fibers

The second side almost covered in a thick layer of merino fibers
The second side almost covered in a thick layer of merino fibers | Source

Step 6—Wet the Fibers

  • Add a layer of embellishment fibers to the surface.
  • Wet the fibers with hot soapy water.
  • Cover with bubblewrap and wet the surface.
  • Rub well.

Wetting the Surface of the Project

After applying the surface embellishment fibers, wet the wool.
After applying the surface embellishment fibers, wet the wool. | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

Wet the surface of the bubblewrap and rub well
Wet the surface of the bubblewrap and rub well | Source

The Wet Fibers

The wet fibers after having been rubbed underneath the bubblewrap.
The wet fibers after having been rubbed underneath the bubblewrap. | Source

Step 7—Fold Over the Loose Edges

  • Fold in the loose fibers at the edges.
  • Wet them with hot soapy water and press down.
  • Rub well.

Both Sides of theTemplate Completely Covered in Wool Roving

2 Sides of the template completely covered in a thick layer of wool roving.
2 Sides of the template completely covered in a thick layer of wool roving. | Source

Step 8—Roll in a Heavy Duty Bamboo Blind

  • Place the template down on top of the surface of a bamboo blind.
  • A towel should be placed between the bamboo and the table to catch any excess water.
  • Roll the project inside the bamboo blind
  • Start rolling gently until the fibers begin to firm up inside the blind.
  • Keep on alternating the direction in which you roll the project.

The Project on the Bamboo Blind

The Project laying sideways on the bamboo blind.
The Project laying sideways on the bamboo blind. | Source

Roll up the Project

Roll the project gently at first.
Roll the project gently at first. | Source

Alternate the Direction in Which you Roll the Project

Keep on turning the direction in which you roll the project.
Keep on turning the direction in which you roll the project. | Source

Step 9— Perform a Pinch Test!

  • Pinch the fibers between your fingers.
  • If they no longer move the project is ready for the next step.

Pinching the Fibers

Step 10—Tumble Dry the Project for 5 Minutes

  • Put the project with the template still inside into a hot tumble dryer.
  • Tumble for 5 minutes at a time.
  • Keep on checking the shrinkage of the template.
  • The more shrinkage that takes place at this stage, the less rubbing that will be required when moulding the hat.

Shrinkage!

The template after ten minutes in the tumble dryer.
The template after ten minutes in the tumble dryer. | Source

Step 11—Remove the Template

  • Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut open the hat and remove the template.

The Templage Being Removed

Removing the template from the hat
Removing the template from the hat | Source

Cut the Hat Open

Remove the template and cut the opening with a  sharp pair of scissors.
Remove the template and cut the opening with a sharp pair of scissors. | Source

Step 12—Shrink the Hat Down

  • Insert the Black Plastic Party Hat into the opening and take the project to the kitchen sink.

Insert the Plastic Hat

Insert the party hat into the cavity left by the template.
Insert the party hat into the cavity left by the template. | Source

The Project Inside the Kitchen Sink

The party hat inside the project and placed in the kitchen sink.
The party hat inside the project and placed in the kitchen sink. | Source

Shrink the Hat Down

  • Rub with hot soapy water using a folded piece of folded bubblewrap.
  • As the hat starts to shrink to the size of the party hat use hot and cold running water to speed up the process.
  • You can even take the hat off and pummel and squeeze hard.
  • Put the hat back on the plastic hat and shape it.
  • Finally, cut off any excess felt and rinse the hat well.
  • Give the hat a final rinse in diluted vinegar and water.

Squeeze and Pummel the Hat in the Kitchen Sink

Shrinking the hat.
Shrinking the hat. | Source

The Brim Trimmed

The rinsed, shaped and trimmed top hat ready to dry in a warm spot.
The rinsed, shaped and trimmed top hat ready to dry in a warm spot. | Source

Hat with Matching Brim Trim

The hat with the excess felt made into a hat band.
The hat with the excess felt made into a hat band. | Source

An Alternative Brim Trim

Twisted dreadlocks made into an alternative brim trim for a much younger child.
Twisted dreadlocks made into an alternative brim trim for a much younger child. | Source

Add Felt Flowers for a More Girly Look

A red felt hat awaiting a hat band with the addition of a felt flower.
A red felt hat awaiting a hat band with the addition of a felt flower. | Source

Future Felting Projects!

Which of the suggested felting projects are of more interest to you?

See results

How to Make a Hat on a Ball

© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 11 months ago from Norfolk

      Martie Coetser

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by to comment in such a favourable way:)

      It is much appreciated.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 11 months ago from South Africa

      Absolutely amazing and motivating! I agree wholeheartedly with billybuc.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 11 months ago from Norfolk

      Dianna Mendez 

      Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this Hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 11 months ago

      What a beautiful idea! Your hat designs are lovely. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 11 months ago from Norfolk

      Shannon Wet felting is a wonderful medium to work with. I hope that you will try it sometime. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 12 months ago

      Looks interesting. I've never tried to make anything with wet felt before.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 12 months ago from Kuwait

      You are most welcome Sally! I just admire creative people. I can just draw and make cardboard gift boxes. I wish I can learn the beautiful crafts you make. They look beautiful! ☺

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 months ago from Norfolk

      Glad you like it Sakina. I appreciate your taking the time to comment, thank you.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 12 months ago from Kuwait

      Such an amazing hub! You are so talented Sally! I love the detailed tutorial. God bless you dear! ☺

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 months ago from Norfolk

      The red one is an intended Xmas present so hope the little one likes it. I still want to add a hat band and a few more flowers.

      I hope that your Christmas and New Year will be good ones:)

      Thank you so much for your continued support, it is valued and very much appreciated.

      Sally.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Pretty and cost effective too? This is sure to be a winner. Love, love the girl's hat.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 months ago from Norfolk

      I would start with something like a simple wet felted flower, felted soap or make a hat on a ball. The little booties are also really easy. Check out some of my earlier tutorials and I am sure you will find something you would both enjoy doing.

    • Tinsky profile image

      Tina Dubinsky 12 months ago from Brisbane, Australia

      You make this look so easy, Sally. I only wish I could trust myself to pull it off, as I would love a new hat. What wet felted activity would you suggest for a beginner, perhaps I could try something with my daughter during her school holidays?

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Donna,

      You are welcome! So happy that you enjoyed this tutorial. Thanks for stopping by to comment. You continued support means a great deal to me.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 12 months ago from USA

      Wow, Sally, I love both of these projects! Using a plastic hat seems much more doable for me. Thanks so much for the easy to follow tutorial. Perfect for the upcoming cold weather. Thanks for posting these wonderful projects!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 months ago from Norfolk

      Thank you, Billy that means a lot coming from such a published author such as yourself. You are too kind:)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do not say this because we are friends. I say it because I am an admirer and because it is true: your crafting articles are among the finest I have ever seen.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 months ago from Norfolk

      Dolores Monet

      Glad you like this project and yes, these projects do take some time but one learns a few short cuts and tricks along the way. It is all fun and part of the creative process. Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. I have not seen you in a while:)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 12 months ago from East Coast, United States

      This hat is beautiful as well as whimsical! What a great project. I've done a little felting but this looks like it may take a lot of time. Worth it for such an original hat!

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