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How to Make Duct Tape Shoe Lasts for Wet-Felted Boots or Slippers

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

This is a custom-made duct tape shoe last to be used in wet-felting footwear projects.

This is a custom-made duct tape shoe last to be used in wet-felting footwear projects.

You Can Create Shoe Lasts That Are Custom-Made for the Wearer

Wet-felted boots or slippers can be handcrafted using a simple but very effective shoe last made from gaffer tape and recycled plastic bags. These are cost-effective, and they can be used over and over again. Each pair you make can be custom-made, sized or designed for the wearer.

One complete and one unfinished shoe last made from gaffer or duct tape.

One complete and one unfinished shoe last made from gaffer or duct tape.

Which Are Better: Polystyrene or Duct Tape Lasts?

Wooden or polystyrene shoe lasts can be purchased from Amazon. They will last for many years to come.

There is no doubt that these lasts are the ultimate when it comes to making wet-felted slippers and boots for men, women and children. The outlay, however, can be considerable, especially if you require a number of different size lasts.

Homemade gaffer or duct tape lasts can easily be customized to fit the wearer. These lasts helped me to create slippers which fitted perfectly for just a fraction of the cost.

Unconventional Felting Methods

I do like to use a few non-conventional methods for speeding up the felting process. For one, I like to make use of a tumble dryer, sometimes a washing machine or even an electric sander. A microwave oven comes in very handy for reheating cold wet wool if I want to shrink the wool a little more some areas.

Can You Tumble-Dry Duct Tape Lasts?

I found it really reassuring to discover how much of a beating my duct tape lasts were able to endure in the tumble dryer. The lasts were almost as good as new when they emerged from their newly made felted boots.