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How to Make Wet Felted Slippers Using Aqua Shoes

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

Felting Slippers over Aqua Shoes!

Aqua shoes - shoe lasts of the future!

Aqua shoes - shoe lasts of the future!

Cressi Beach Shoes

Aqua Shoe Beach Shoes!

When I found a pair of transparent Cressi Water Swimming Beach Shoes in a charity shop I knew immediately that they would make a great substitute for expensive shoe lasts.


I had been contemplating buying a pair of Polystyrene Shoe Lasts for a while but was unable to commit to buying them because they can be expensive, more so if you need to make slippers in several sizes.


Using a template for making slippers works well but does not always result in perfect results if you don't have a pair of shoe lasts to shape them on!


The Aqua shoes were made of transparent flexible plastic which when I put my feet into them, I could see that they were too big, especially in the toe area but that extra space was just the amount of shrinkage I was going to need to make the slippers the right size!

After completion of the project, the Aqua shoes still look like new. I believe I could be making shoes on these 'lasts' for years to come.


The size I bought was a 46 (or 10 1/2). I usually wear a 40(7). I really don't think I could have found anything more perfect than the Cressi Aqua Shoes for this project.


I hope you will enjoy this Tutorial. I very much look forward to receiving any feedback or comments you might have.


Please remember that no part of this tutorial should be copied or transmitted without my express permission.

Aqua Shoes

Aqua shoes

Aqua shoes

Things you will need

  • Hot soapy Water
  • Squeeze Spray Bottle
  • Wool Roving - sufficient to cover the Aqua Shoe with 4 Layers of Wool
  • Aqua Shoes - Available from Amazon
  • Piece of Curtain Netting
  • Waterproof surface or Bubble wrap
  • Plastic Bags surplus to requirements.

Felting Wool and Aqua Shoes

Wool Roving, Aqua Shoes

Wool Roving, Aqua Shoes

Stuff the Aqua Shoes with Plastic Bags

The Aqua shoe padded out with a few polystyrene balls

The Aqua shoe padded out with a few polystyrene balls

Add Stuffing!

  • Pad the shoes out initially with a little stuffing. You make like to use a few plastic bags! I used a few small plastic bags which I filled lightly with polystyrene foam balls. It is not absolutely necessary but it does help to pad the shoe out a little so that you can achieve a better shape. You can remove these later in order to put your hands into the shoe which to give the wool a good massage later on.

Make the Logo!

Small logo for the side of each slipper

Small logo for the side of each slipper

Make the Logo And/Or Decoration

  • Start by preparing any decoration you would like to add to your shoe. Here I made a simple triangle from a few fibres and added a few wet strands of wool for decoration.
  • You may wish to leave this out entirely and just simply add different colour wool fibres to create your masterpiece.

Add the Decoration

Here one layer has been completed and one has not.  The logo is seen face down on the Aqua shoe.  When the shoe is removed and the slipper has been turned  inside out, itt will be facing right side up.  Decoration is done on the reverse side.

Here one layer has been completed and one has not. The logo is seen face down on the Aqua shoe. When the shoe is removed and the slipper has been turned inside out, itt will be facing right side up. Decoration is done on the reverse side.

Add Surface Design to the Slippers

  • In this tutorial, we began by putting the decoration face down on the surface of the Aqua shoes. We will be working in reverse order so that when the slipper is turned inside out, the surface design will appear on top of the slipper. Doing it this way will ensure that you get a much nicer finish to the slippers.
  • I based some of the decorative ideas on the already moulded design on the shoe by putting a logo of my own design over the one already on the shoe.
  • Place the logo on the outer right and left sides of each Aqua Shoe.
  • Add any stripes by first splitting a long piece of wool fibre from a length of merino wool roving. Wet it with warm soapy water first and use this to make stripes around the edge of each shoe as shown. Follow the lines indicated on the pre-formed shoe. The wet wool will easily stick to the shoes.
  • You may wish to add small flowers, spots, stripes or any other decoration at this time, or none at all! In which case, you should just proceed by adding four layers of fibres, one layer at a time to the surface of each Aqua shoe.


Cover the Shoe with Surface Fibres

Placing merino wool on the aqua shoe

Placing merino wool on the aqua shoe

More Fibres!

Adding fibers to the shoe, alternating layers to help with the felting process

Adding fibers to the shoe, alternating layers to help with the felting process

Putting Fibres to the Sides of the Aqua Shoes

Adding fibers to the Aqua shoe

Adding fibers to the Aqua shoe

Wet the Wool

Adding warm soapy water to the fibers

Adding warm soapy water to the fibers

Cover with Curtain Netting and Rub the Fibers Gently

Use a piece of curtain netting to cover the wet fibers and rub gently to flatten down to smooth out the fibers.

Use a piece of curtain netting to cover the wet fibers and rub gently to flatten down to smooth out the fibers.

Add fibers

  • Add one layer of fibres to the surface of the Aqua shoe and then cover the sole of the shoe with wool as shown below.
  • Once covered, rub gently for a few minutes and then add the next layer.
  • Repeat the first layer, three more times.

Making the Sole of the Slippers

Adding soapy water to the sole of the Aqua shoe

Adding soapy water to the sole of the Aqua shoe

Four Layers!

  • Cover the Aqua shoe with four fairly thick layers of wool fibres. Alternative the direction in which you place the wool down in as much as is possible. This will help the wool fibres bond to one another once you start adding friction in the form of rubbing.
  • Use colours of your own choice. Choose a different colour for each layer. It makes it easier to see which area of the shoe has already been covered before.
  • Once the four layers have been completed, you may wish to extract the stuffing and put your hand right into the shoe so that you can really get down to business! Rub all the layers of wool until they have felted together. This is the most important stage of the felt making process. Insufficient rubbing at this stage can cause your slipper to disintegrate if you try too early to remove the Lasts. Better to be safe rather than sorry later!

The final Layer

Four layers have now been completed.  The slipper is inside out.  The stuffing has been removed and the Aqua shoes are almost ready to be extracted.

Four layers have now been completed. The slipper is inside out. The stuffing has been removed and the Aqua shoes are almost ready to be extracted.

What to do when things go wrong:-

If you find your slipper was removed from the last before it was sufficiently Fulled, don't panic - wet it well and put into a microwave oven on the glass dish for two minutes. Don't leave it too long, remove from the oven and dunk it again in cold water. Do this several times. When the fibers start shrinking, fill the shoes with plastic bags and pull a stocking over them. Knot firmly and put into a Tumble Dryer. Keep checking every few minutes. Once felted,

Hot and Cold Water!


  • Take the shoes to the kitchen sink and pour some very hot water into each shoe for a minute. Ensure that the whole shoe becomes hot and wet. Pour the hot water out and plunge the slipper into cold water. Do this several times and then rinse both slippers carefully under warm water. Be gentle with them.
  • Carefully extract the Aqua shoes from each slipper. The flexible Aqua shoes make it very easy for you to do this. Rinse and squeeze the wool gently until the water runs clear of the soap/
  • Squeeze any excess water out and begin gently at first, dropping the slippers down onto the surface of the draining board. After a few throws, take them outside and flick them against an outside wall. You will start to feel the fibres tighten up. Once this happens you can hit the wall or draining board a bit harder. The slippers will shrink considerably.
  • Rinse the slipper again. Squeeze out any excess water and then start shaping each slipper with your hands. Try shaping the slipper on your own feet or you can put a smaller size Aqua Shoe back into the slipper. Rub the fibres around the shoe and you will have a perfect slipper.
  • Use a towel to remove any excess water whilst it is still on your foot.


Remove and then leave it to dry on a rack or radiator.

The Completed Slippers

Right side out

Right side out

For More Free Tutorials in This Series Please Follow the Links Below:-

Making Slippers on Duct Tape Shoe Lasts

Baby booties

© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 25, 2019:

Thank you, Paula. Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

Paula on October 24, 2019:

What a great idea. Look forward to trying it.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 03, 2016:

Liza,

Good for you!

Please check our my little Boho boot Tutorial as well. You will see that I used a template and plastic shoes similar to these to get a nice shape.

I have several, boot and slipper Tutorials. Each one is different but you should be able to use your aqua shoes for all of them, even if you just use them as Shapers.

There are so many ways to create boots or slippers. You don't always need expensive shoe lasts to create them with.

Remember that you don't have to finish you project in one day. Better to put your fibers down carefully and evenly and avoid any thin spots. Don't rush it. You can always return to the project the following day, wet it with more soapy water and continue rubbing. Better to rub until you are satisfied that the fibers will not move.

You should have no problems making a pair of slippers. Shrinkage of about 30% will take place so try to ensure that your aqua shoes are bigger than the actual shoe size you need if you are making them for yourself.

Good luck with you project.

Sally.

liza on September 02, 2016:

Going to try this soon. Have all my things ready - really hoping it works out. its my 1st felting project.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 15, 2014:

rosedove

I think I would go for something which ia thirty percent larger, probably a size 10.5. You can probably work on most wool shrinking around thirty percent. The more you tumble dry it, the more the wool will shrink. If you shrink it too much, try wetting the project again to pull the fibers out a bit more. Keep on checking your slipper in the dryer. Don't leave it there too long. Unfortunately felting is not an exact science and every kind of wool will shrink differently. I hope it goes well.

Sally

rosedove on December 14, 2014:

Hello, I would love to try this but I got a tad confused about the sizing. If I wanted to end with a men's size 7.5, what size jelly should i get?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 04, 2014:

teaches12345

Good, I hope that you enjoy creating your own pair of slippers on Aqua Shoes. I would say that if you are going to wear them outdoors, you could attach a commercial sole or a sole made of leather.

Thanks for your comment.

Sally.

Dianna Mendez on April 04, 2014:

I do think these would be great with my jeans. Thanks for the idea and directions. Very well done.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 24, 2014:

Eiddwe

You are very welcome, thanks for your visit.

Have a lovely evening

Sally

Eiddwen from Wales on March 24, 2014:

Interesting and so useful sallybea.

Eddy.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 24, 2014:

FlourishAnyway

I amglad that you enjoyed the step by step felting Tutorial. Felting is not an exact science I am afraid - things can and do go wrong but it is surprising how you can get yourself out of a jam. The tumble drier and the microwave oven, also and electric palm sander can be useful tools to add to one's arsenal.

Thank you

Sally

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 24, 2014:

I especially like that you've offered a hint on how to correct it if things didn't go as planned. Great step-by-step instructions and photos.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 24, 2014:

Thank you Sallybea I had lovely Sunday and now another week ahead have a great one.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 24, 2014:

Billy

Thank you very much, that is much appreciated.

Sally

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 23, 2014:

Passing this on to the crafty people in my circle of friends. Wonderful craft, Sally! Well done!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 23, 2014:

DDE

Lovely to hear from you. Thanks for the vote up, the tweet and the Facebook share for my Slipper Tutorial. It is much appreciated.

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday.

Sally

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 23, 2014:

Incredible idea you always find such creative activities. Sally I learned how to make such simple kind of slippers from your informative hub. Voted up, tweeted, Facebook shared and pinned.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 23, 2014:

Faith Reaper

Thanks for the nice comment, Up, pin and the tweet. I very much appreciate all the support you give me.

You have a lovely Sunday too.

Sally

Faith Reaper from southern USA on March 23, 2014:

Another awesome hub here, Sally! As always, your instructions are perfect along with the photos are great to see exactly to what you are referring! Great job once again!

Up and more, tweeting and pinning

Enjoy your Sunday,

Faith Reaper

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