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How to Wet Felt an Iconic French Beret

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

Wet Felted Beret with a Decorative Felt Pin

Wet Felted Beret

Wet Felted Beret

Side View of the Wet Felted Beret

Side View of the Wet Felted Beret

Side View of the Wet Felted Beret

Detachable, Decorative Pin for Beret

Detail of Decorative Beret Pin

Detail of Decorative Beret Pin

Things You Will Need to Make This Wet Felted Beret

  • A quantity of Merino Wool Roving
  • Hot or Warm Soapy Water
  • A 40 cm Diameter Circular Template which can be made from Plastic Packaging or Floor Underlay. Remember that shrinkage is usually about 30 - 50 percent.
  • A Bamboo Window Blind
  • A Tumble Dryer
  • A pair of scissors.
  • A Sew on Brooch Pin
  • A Metal Leather Punch for making small holes in the decorative Pin.

Method

To make this traditionally shaped Beret, cut out a circular shaped Template from Laminate Flooring Underlayment which can be purchased very reasonably from Amazon or your local Do-It-Yourself Shop. It comes in rolls and is generally used for putting underneath the Laminate Flooring. It is extremely useful and can be used in a variety of Felting Projects which range from Hats, Gloves and Clothing.

The resist should measure around 40cm in diameter. For a child make the resist slightly smaller. A reasonable size would be around 30-35cm in diameter.

Remember that shrinkage is usually around 30 - 50%

The beret should be made with 3 fine layers of wool placed on each side of the resist as is shown below.

Laminate Flooring Underlayment

Beret Template

Template for the Beret

Template for the Beret

Layer 1 / Cover the Template with Slivers of Wool Roving

Sliver of Wool Roving

Sliver of Wool Roving

The Resist Covered with Slivers of Wool Roving

Cover the resist with wool roving.

Cover the resist with wool roving.

Cover the Fibres with Curtain Netting and Wet with Hot Soapy Water

Cover the project with curtain netting and wet with soapy water.

Cover the project with curtain netting and wet with soapy water.

Smooth the Wet Fibers down and out Towards the Edges of the Template

Smoothing down the wet fibers underneath the curtain netting.

Smoothing down the wet fibers underneath the curtain netting.

Remove the Curtain Netting from the Wet Fibers

Removing the curtain netting from the wet fibers below.

Removing the curtain netting from the wet fibers below.

Turn the Wool Covered Template Over

Turn the template over

Turn the template over

Fold the Fibers over the Edges of the Template

Fold the overlapping fibers in and over the template

Fold the overlapping fibers in and over the template

Cover the 2nd Side of Layer 1 with a Layer of Wool Fibers

The second side of layer 1 covered in a layer of wool fibers

The second side of layer 1 covered in a layer of wool fibers

Wet the Layer with Hot Soapy Water

Cover the fibers with soapy water.

Cover the fibers with soapy water.

Smooth the Wet Fibers. Press the Water Down and Push the Water Out Towards the Edges of the Template

Smoothing down the fibers

Smoothing down the fibers

Carefully Remove the Curtain Netting

Carefully remove the curtain netting

Carefully remove the curtain netting

The Wet Flattened Fibers

Wool fibers have been flattened right up until the edge of the template

Wool fibers have been flattened right up until the edge of the template

Turn the Resist Over Again and Tuck in the Loose Fibers

Turn over and tuck in the loose fibers

Turn over and tuck in the loose fibers

Smooth Down the Layers with Warm Soapy Water

Both sides of Layer 1 are now complete.  Repeat the process 2 more times.

Both sides of Layer 1 are now complete. Repeat the process 2 more times.

Repeat the above Steps!

Repeat the above steps until you have 3 even layers covering each side of the template.

Roll the Project Inside a Bamboo Curtain Blind

Roll the Project which has been placed inside a bamboo blind.

Roll the Project which has been placed inside a bamboo blind.

Keep on Turning the Project Inside the Blind!

Keep on changing the direction in which you roll the project. Keep on opening up the bamboo curtain and turn the project to face a different direction.

Roll until the fibres inside the bamboo blind are felted together.

Perform a pinch test to make sure they are properly felted and then cut out a hole as shown below.

Keep the circle so that it can be used later to make a decorative pin if desired for the beret.

Cut the Hole for the Opening Which Should Be Approximately 5 Inches in Diameter

Cut a hole into one of the layers.   This will become the opening for the beret.

Cut a hole into one of the layers. This will become the opening for the beret.

Put into A Tumble Dryer

Put the project into a tumble dryer for approximately 5 minutes at a time. Keep on checking the progress of the felting. As the project begins to shrink away from the template, remove it and continue felting until the beret has shrunk to the required size.

You can miss out this part and felt the beret by massaging the fibres by hand using hot and cold water if you don't have a tumble dryer.

Finally, shape the entrance to the beret. Cut the hole larger to get it to fit properly if necessary! Do this very carefully. Only cut a thin strip of felt around the hole at a time, being careful not to make it too big.

These strips which you have cut off can be rolled on the bamboo mat using hot and cold soapy water to form cords to make a decorative pin for the hat.

The circle of felt which was removed to form the opening to the beret should also be retained for this purpose.

Making the Cords for the Pin

These can be made using strips of wool roving if you did not cut any excess off.Take a long strip, wet it in a bowl of hot soapy water and roll on the bamboo mat until it becomes a felted.

Take a long strip of roving, wet it in a bowl of hot soapy water and roll on the bamboo mat until it becomes a felted.

Alternatively take the strips of excess felt which were cut from around the hat opening and use them to make the cord. Wet and roll on the bamboo mat until they are completely felted. Rinse well under hot and cold water.

Use the Metal Leather punch to make a few holes in the centre of the circle of felt and push the cords through to the other side. Knot each end as shown and then stitch down the loose pieces of cord which will be sticking out slightly.

Attach a metal brooch pin over the top of the neatened knots with matching thread.

The pin can be moved around the Beret to the desired spot.

Circle of Felt, Cords & Metal Punch for Making the Holes

Tools and Materials for Making the Decorative Detachable Pin.

Tools and Materials for Making the Decorative Detachable Pin.

Wet Felted Beret

Wet Felted Beret

Wet Felted Beret

Felting with a Resist!

Wet Felted Beret

© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 22, 2016:

Faith Reaper

You are too kind. I am glad you liked the beret, hopefully as much as I enjoyed making it. My aim has always been to write a felting book. I hope to hope to achieve this by the end of next year. I really do appreciate your taking the time to stop by to comment.

Faith Reaper on October 22, 2016:

Sally, this is so adorable! I love berets. Perfect for this time of year here and with Christmas coming up soon. I'm always impressed with the many idea you come up with using welt felting. You should have an online business site to sell these gems. However, you may have to enlist the help of others, as I'm sure with the World Wide Web, you may have millions of orders!

Blessings

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 22, 2016:

teaches12345

This really is a very simple project. The beret would make a great gift for men, women or children. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by to comment on this Tutorial.

teaches12345 on October 22, 2016:

Oh how I would enjoy making this craft idea as gifts, if only I had the talent! You made this really unique and so interesting. Beautiful finished product!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 17, 2016:

I appreciate the feedback, Martie. I love felting. There seems no limit to what one can do with just a few fibres, hot soapy water and friction. It is certainly something which could be taught to the less privileged in South Africa as well as anywhere else in the world. Even unprocessed wool can be used so people who own only a few sheep could make things to buy or to sell.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on October 17, 2016:

Sallybea, this looks like a fabulous hobby, or even a business. Thanks for sharing these DIY's with us.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 17, 2016:

FlourishAnyway

Not quite, but just trying to turn a few heads with the Iconic Beret:) Thanks for stopping by to comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 16, 2016:

You are on a mission to wet felt the world! Go girl!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 16, 2016:

vocalcoach

It is a great project if anyone is thinking about making handmade Christmas gifts. I appreciate the share and you for taking the time to stop by to comment.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on October 16, 2016:

An excellent tutorial for this cute and timeless beret. Sharing.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 16, 2016:

MsDora,

I so enjoyed making this project. Sometimes the simple things give one so much pleasure as do your very kind remarks. Thank you MsDora!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 16, 2016:

I love berets and I think that this one would certainly be a hot sale item in Fall as well as Christmas colors. Go Sally!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 16, 2016:

Larry Rankin,

Thank you, I appreciate your taking the time to stop by to comment.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on October 16, 2016:

Very cool project!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 16, 2016:

Hi Billy,

Definitely, one which is not beyond the capabilities of a non-crafting person such as yourself but then I have always said 'each one to their own'. Thank you, Billy, for nearly always being the first one here:)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 16, 2016:

About all I can say with regards to crafty articles, and this one in particular, is it seems detailed and easy to understand, and the pictures are very helpful for those crafty people out there with infinitely more talent than I have. :)