How to Make Wet Felted Slippers Using Aqua Shoes
Felting Slippers over Aqua Shoes!
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.
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
Stuff the Aqua Shoes with Plastic Bags
- 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!
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
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
Putting Fibres to the Sides of the Aqua Shoes
Wet the Wool
Cover with Curtain Netting and Rub the Fibers Gently
- 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
- 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
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
For More Free Tutorials in This Series Please Follow the Links Below:-
- How to make Duct Tape Shoe Lasts on which to create Wet Felted Slippers or Boots
Duct Tape or Gaffer Tape can be used very effectively to create Custom Made Shoe Lasts on which you can make felted Slippers or Boots This tutorial provides a step by step guide on how to make them.
Making Slippers on Duct Tape Shoe Lasts
- How to make Wet Felted Slippers or Boots using Duct Tape Shoe Lasts
This is the second part of a two-part Wet Felting Tutorial. It is specifically aimed at people who find it difficult to find footwear which fits them perfectly.
Questions & Answers
© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen