Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental, and always interesting.
A Little About This Project
This tutorial has been designed to be used by those who are new to wet felting and also the more advanced felt maker.
Merino wool is a great choice for these booties, as the wool felts very easily and is soft enough to be worn close to the skin. You may choose to use a single color for these booties, in which case you should cover the template three times on both sides with three evenly thin layers of wool. Wet and neaten the edges and roll inside a bamboo blind until the fibers no longer move.
Things You Will Need for This Tutorial
- Merino wool roving in colors of your choice. (Merino wool felts quickly and is well suited for a small project like this.
- Bootie template or pattern a shown below.
- Plastic squeeze bottle or spray
- Dishwashing liquid
- Boiling hot water
- A heavy-duty Bamboo blind
- Small piece curtain netting
- Towel for soaking up excess water
- A tumble dryer or a palm sander can be utilized should you want to speed up the felting process.
Step 1: Draw the Template
- Draw and cut out the template onto a sheet of cardboard or paper.
- Trace onto plastic or underfloor layment.
- Cut out.
- I used an old plastic folder for the purpose of this tutorial. However, it was slightly more difficult to remove from the booties. It did nevertheless give me a very nice crisp, clean edge.
Step 2: Start Layer 1
- Cover the template with a thin layer of fiber.
Step 3: Fill in With More Fiber
- Complete the first layer, side one, by filling in the gaps with more fiber.
- If you are using only one color, cover the template with a thin, even layer of fiber.
Step 4: Cover With Curtain Netting
- Cover with curtain netting.
- Wet the fibers with warm soapy water.
- Press down on the fibers and rub until smooth and flat.
Step 5: Flip the Template Over and Neaten the Edges
- Fold over the fibres which extend beyond the template.
- Keep them crisp and tight against the edges of the template.
- This will give the whole project a nice clean edge.
Step 6: Repeat on the 2nd Side
- Cover the second side of the template with another layer of fiber.
- Neaten the edges and repeat this process.
- There should be three layers on each side when you are finished.
Step 7: Cover With Bubble Wrap
- Cover with bubble wrap and roll inside a bamboo mat.
Step 8: Roll Inside a Bamboo Mat
- Roll from all sides in order to achieve even shrinkage throughout the project.
- The bamboo mat or blind makes filling very easy.
- Keep changing the direction in which you roll the project.
- You will start to notice that the fibres shrink back very quickly.
- Results are far quicker using a bamboo mat than if you are using a piece of bubble wrap.
Step 9: Perform a Pinch Test
- Perform a pinch test to see if the project is ready for cutting.
- If individual fibres still drift and can be pulled away from each other, continue massaging for a further few minutes on both sides.
- Keep applying small quantities of hot soapy water to further encourage the fiber to shrink.
Step 10: Cut and Remove the Template
- Cut across the centre of the two boots as shown below.
- Extract the template.
Step 11: Shock With Hot and Cold Water
- Dunk the booties into a bowl of boiling hot water.
- Leave for a few seconds and then shock with cold water.
- Repeat this twice to shrink the fibers.
Step 12: Rinse With Cold Water
- Rinse under cold water.
- Add a tsp of white vinegar to the final rinse water.
Step 13: Create a Cuff
- Using sharp scissors, cut along the crease of each bootie, as shown below.
- Each cut should be approximately 3.5 cm.
- Turn both of the booties inside out.
- Sprinkle with some hot soapy water.
- If there are any wrinkles, massage them gently between your fingers.
- You can now decide which side you would like to use for the right side of your booties.
Step 14: Finish the Booties
- The cut edges can be rolled between your thumb and forefinger to achieve firm edges.
- Stuff some bubble wrap into the booties and allow them to dry.
- Use a punch and eyelets to finish off the booties if laces are required.
- Little pompoms and small beads can be attached to the laces.
© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 16, 2018:
I would say that these were for a baby of around 3 months old. I would suggest that you draw around the feet of the intended wearer and scale it up to around a 1/4 or 1/3 of the actual foot size. I find that it is always best to go bigger than smaller. It is so easy to shrink something down especially if you use a tumble dryer but almost impossible to stretch the wool.
MONIQUE LEVESQUE on November 16, 2018:
How do you scal up the patern for older children and what size is the original patter for?
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 16, 2018:
Glad you enjoyed reading this wet felting tutorial. No need to wait for winter as little booties like these make lovely gifts for newborn infants.
Cathy Fidelibus - Creative Touch Art from New Jersey on May 15, 2018:
Adorable enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing, maybe a project for me this winter :)
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 04, 2014:
This is a lovely project for anyone first starting out with wet felting. It is enough of a challenge without feeling that any materials you use may go to waste. Give it a go - I would love to hear how you get on.
Thank you for your lovely comment.
Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on May 04, 2014:
This is awesome ! I never think that something like that was possible .. I really want to make these for the newborn of my cousin... I will try my best !
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 09, 2013:
I usually purchase 100gram of mixed colors (20) from e-Bay heidifeathers (seller) or select a colors from Wingham Wool.
I would estimate that you will probably only use a fraction of that, maybe 10 grams for the slippers! Hard to tell exactly, as it depends on how thick or thin you lay down your fibers. Thin layers are better for these slippers. They use very little wool.
I should perhaps have weighed them when they were dry – will do that next time.
It is however nice to have a range of colors in your stash. You won’t want to stop felting once you begin! It can be quite addictive.
The roving is usually sold in grams.
Have fun felting and please let me know how you get on.
Tabitha on December 08, 2013:
Do you have any idea how much wool this would take (pref in ounces)? I have knit and crocheted for many years and have felted already knit projects and second hand sweaters, but have never done wet felting. I'd love to try to make these for my daughter but have no idea how much wool to buy. Thanks!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 17, 2013:
teaches12345 - yes and so easy to make , a hand crafted pair of booties which come from the heart. I agree, they would make a great gift. Thank you for the comment and also the vote up. I very much appreciate your visit. Thank you.
Dianna Mendez on November 16, 2013:
These booties are adorable and I imagine just the right thing for children this chilly winter. They would make great gifts this Christmas season. Voted up and more.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 14, 2013:
Hello Megan, Yes it would work out for a much older child or adult. You could draw around the foot of the person and then add extra around the edges for shrinkage in the way the pattern pattern is shown above. I would estimate that shrinkage is around thirty to forty percent but this really does depend on the wool you use, also, the more you rub, the more the item will shrink. You can pretty much control the shrinkage though. The good thing is that you stretch them into shape by using heat and moisture if you make them too small.
They are decorative but they can also be practical. It is possible to add a leather sole or place silicone or rubber blobs on the feet to prevent a person slipping on hard floors. (available in tubes) There are some examples of this product on the internet.
It is even possible to felt a pair of slippers around your own foot or purchase forms made of polystyrene to make your slipper or shoe onto.
Have fun experimenting, this is where it all begins. Once you have mastered the basics of felting, you will be moving onto making hats, scarves, finger-less gloves and many more practical and/or simply decorative items.
Have fun experimenting and check out my other Hubs on HubPages for some more interesting ways of working with wool.
megan on October 13, 2013:
would it work to make these larger for an older child? Would they hold up to being walked in, or are they mostly just decorative?
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 12, 2013:
Amy - I would say that they would probably fit an infant of about 3 to 6 months but this may be a little flexible, really depends on how much you shrink them - the more rubbing, the more shrinkage. Thanks for your visit and your comments.
Amy on October 12, 2013:
Sally, looking forward to trying this. What age baby do these fit? I guess I'm asking how much the booties will shrink after taking the template out? Thanks
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 16, 2013:
Thanks Vicki, small is cute and yes, they were fun to make. Thanks for stopping by.
Vickiw on April 16, 2013:
Those are really cute! It looks as though they would be fun to make too!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 16, 2013:
So glad that you could enjoyed the Tutorial Vacation Trip. Thank you so much for stopping by.
Susan from India on April 16, 2013:
Interesting hub. Great idea and very creative. Thanks for sharing.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 15, 2013:
Thank you ComfortB I am so glad you like them. It sure is an amazing thing that just a little bit of wool fiber, some hot water soapy water and a bit of friction help to create a fabric which is both wearable and beautiful. Thank you so much for the vote up, I appreciate your stopping by.
Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on April 15, 2013:
This is beautiful! Very cute. It's just amazing how you can go from these scattered little wool bits and get something whole out of it.
Voted up and beautiful.