How to Use a Resist Shape to Make a Wet Felted Hat

Updated on December 11, 2017
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Felt hat made using a resist template

Wet felted hat with matching flowers.
Wet felted hat with matching flowers. | Source

Items required to make this Project

  • A quantity merino wool roving in three complimentary colors
  • Olive oil Soap or dishwashing liquid
  • Hot water and a squeeze bottle
  • Bubble-wrap, floor underlay or a sheet of thick plastic
  • Pattern for making the resist template
  • Hat block or polystyrene head
  • A dessert bowl for tracing a circular pattern for the flowers
  • A polystyrene head or a Hat Block on which to mold the hat.
  • Sushi mat for rolling the felt flowers in
  • Piece of curtain netting

Hint

Add an additional 30% for shrinkage when you create your own template as the wool fibers will shrink as much as this or more once the project has been completed

Method

Trace the pattern out onto the sheet of thick plastic, floor underlay or bubble-wrap as shown here. Remember that simple shapes usually work best. The pattern shown here does include for about 30% for shrinkage which takes place during the felting process.

  • Lay the template down onto a large piece of bubble-wrap
  • Begin by laying down a layer of fibers onto the template
  • Cover with curtain netting
  • Dampen with hot soapy water and smooth
  • Press the water towards the edges of the pattern until the fibers are flattened down except for the fluffy edges.
  • Remove the curtain netting gently and turn the template over.
  • Turn in the loose fibers to give a neat edge
  • Continue adding the next layer of fibers in the just same way
  • Cover with curtain netting
  • Wet with hot soapy water and press the water down and out towards the edges
  • Smooth out and rub the surface gently.
  • Remove the curtain netting and once again turn over the edges as shown to give a neat edge.
  • Repeat - until you have completed three layers of wool, covering the template on both sides as shown below. Remember to place each layer at 90 degrees to the previous layer to the best results.
  • Once the template has been completely covered with three layers of fibers, cover it with bubble-wrap and rub both sides until the fibers cannot be moved beneath your fingers.
  • Roll up the project in a piece of bubble-wrap and then place the roll into a small towel as shown. It makes it easier to roll the wet bubble-wrap. Alternatively the bubble-wrap roll can be tied up or sealed with elastic bands.
  • Begin rolling the project with long even strokes for a minute or two.
  • Turn the project inside the towel so that the rolling direction is changed each time, inside the bubble-wrap and put the project into the small towel roll again.
  • Repeat this until it becomes clear that the wool has shrunk around the template
  • It is now time to remove the template from the wool covered fibers
  • Using a large pair of scissors, cut into the bottom of the hat as shown below.
  • .Remove the template.
  • Place the project into a bowl of very hot water for a minute and then plunge it into cold water
  • Repeat this several times
  • Rinse until the water runs clear under hot and then cold running water
  • Now begin dropping the hat down onto a hard surface, I use a marble worktop to do this.
  • The fibers will begin to tighten and shrink under your fingers
  • Continue shrinking and shaping the hat as shown.
  • Hit the hat against the surface of the table. Pay special attention to the cut edge. The cut edges will tighten and no longer look freshly cut. In areas where you want the hat to tighten more, simply hit these against the table.
  • A hat block or polystyrene head can be used to mold the hat over.
  • Wet the hat in hot water, squeeze and shape over the hat form. Add folds or pleats if you would like pleats them or keep on molding and shrinking the fibers if you would like to make a cloche hat. Turn over the edges if required and then make a few simple flowers or a band for decoration as described at the bottom of this page.


Felting Wool

Which of these is your most likely source for obtaining Wet Felting Wool

See results

Hat template pattern

Hat template
Hat template | Source

Resist template cut from thick plastic sheeting

Resist template made from thick plastic sheeting
Resist template made from thick plastic sheeting | Source

Template and wool roving

Items required to make the hat and flowers for this wet felting tutorial.
Items required to make the hat and flowers for this wet felting tutorial. | Source

The first layer

Wool fibers placed down on the resist template
Wool fibers placed down on the resist template | Source

Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water

Wetting the merino wool fibers with hot soapy water.
Wetting the merino wool fibers with hot soapy water. | Source

Smooth wool fibers. Press the water down and out towards the edges

Smooth the fibers out and then remove the curtain netting.
Smooth the fibers out and then remove the curtain netting. | Source

Remove the curtain netting

Remove the netting
Remove the netting | Source

Turn the resist template over

Turn the netting over and then fold the fibers around the edges of the resist template
Turn the netting over and then fold the fibers around the edges of the resist template | Source

Fold the merino wool fibers over the edges

Fold the wool fibers over the edges of the resist template
Fold the wool fibers over the edges of the resist template | Source

Cover the second side of the resist template with an even layer of fibers

Covered resist template with a layer of fibers.
Covered resist template with a layer of fibers. | Source

Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water

Damping down the merino wool fibers with hot soapy water
Damping down the merino wool fibers with hot soapy water | Source

Smooth down the wet merino wool fibers

Force the hot soapy water outwards towards the edges and then rub gently until smooth
Force the hot soapy water outwards towards the edges and then rub gently until smooth | Source

Remove the curtain netting

Remove the curtain netting and then turn over the project.
Remove the curtain netting and then turn over the project. | Source

Turn the project over to the other side.

Turn over and then fold over the loose fibers
Turn over and then fold over the loose fibers | Source

Project with both sides covered.in fibers

Fold over the loose fibers, giving the project a neat edge.
Fold over the loose fibers, giving the project a neat edge. | Source

One layer is now complete

Both sides have now been covered in a single layer of merino wool fibers
Both sides have now been covered in a single layer of merino wool fibers | Source

Layer two being covered with a layer of wool fibers

Layer 2, covered with one layer of wool fibers.
Layer 2, covered with one layer of wool fibers. | Source

Layer two covered with curtain netting

Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water. Smooth and remove netting, turn over.
Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water. Smooth and remove netting, turn over. | Source

Wet with hot soapy water

Wet with hot soapy water
Wet with hot soapy water | Source

Smooth out towards the edges

Smooth the water out to the edges
Smooth the water out to the edges | Source

Remove the curtain netting

Remove the curtain netting
Remove the curtain netting | Source

Turn over

Layer 2, being turned to the other side.
Layer 2, being turned to the other side. | Source

Loose fibers on the edges

Fold the loose edges over.
Fold the loose edges over. | Source

Edges turned in

Turn the edges over and cover the second side of layer two with wool fibers.
Turn the edges over and cover the second side of layer two with wool fibers. | Source

Layer two being covered with fibers

Cover the second of Layer 2 with merino wool fibers
Cover the second of Layer 2 with merino wool fibers | Source

Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water

Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water.
Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water. | Source

Smooth down the merino wool fibers

Rub the wet fibers, smooth and remove the netting.
Rub the wet fibers, smooth and remove the netting. | Source

Remove the curtain netting

Remove the netting carefully and turn over
Remove the netting carefully and turn over | Source

Second layer without the fibers turned in

Layer 2 completely covered with edges ready to be turned over
Layer 2 completely covered with edges ready to be turned over | Source

Second layer completed with the edges turned over

Layer 2 completely covered with two layers of wool
Layer 2 completely covered with two layers of wool | Source

Layer three with the first layer of merino wool fibers

Layer 3 with one side of the template covered with merino wool fibers.
Layer 3 with one side of the template covered with merino wool fibers. | Source

Layer three with hot soapy water being added

Layer three has been covered with curtain netting, wet with hot soapy water and smoothed and rubbed gently
Layer three has been covered with curtain netting, wet with hot soapy water and smoothed and rubbed gently | Source

Smooth the wet fibers down and rub gently

Smooth the wet fibers down and rub gently.
Smooth the wet fibers down and rub gently. | Source

Remove the curtain metting

Remove the curtain netting
Remove the curtain netting | Source

Curtain netting having been removed

Layer three where the first side has had the curtain netting removed.
Layer three where the first side has had the curtain netting removed. | Source

Turn over the edges of layer three

Turn over the edges of the first side of Layer 3
Turn over the edges of the first side of Layer 3 | Source

Cover the second side of the final layer with merino wool fibers

The second layer of layer three has now been covered completely with fibers.
The second layer of layer three has now been covered completely with fibers. | Source

Wet with hot soapy water

Wet with hot soapy water
Wet with hot soapy water | Source

Cover with curtain netting

Cover with curtain netting, wet with hot soapy water and smooth out he wool fibers.
Cover with curtain netting, wet with hot soapy water and smooth out he wool fibers. | Source

Remove the curtain netting

Curtain netting being removed
Curtain netting being removed | Source

Three layers have now been completed

The three layers have now been completed
The three layers have now been completed | Source

Place the project on bubble-wrap and rub well on both sides

Place on bubble-wrap, cover with bubble-wrap and rub well
Place on bubble-wrap, cover with bubble-wrap and rub well | Source

Perform the pinch test!

Using two fingers pinch the fibers to make sure that they no longer move under your fingers  This is known as the 'pinch test'
Using two fingers pinch the fibers to make sure that they no longer move under your fingers This is known as the 'pinch test' | Source

Cut the bottom of the project open with scissors

Cut open the bottom of the project.with a pair of scissors
Cut open the bottom of the project.with a pair of scissors | Source

The template inside the project

The template is shown here, slightly folded because the fibers have shrunk
The template is shown here, slightly folded because the fibers have shrunk | Source

The project with the template removed

The template hasnow been removed
The template hasnow been removed | Source

The project inside a bowl of very hot water

The project teeped inside a bowl of very hot water
The project teeped inside a bowl of very hot water | Source

A bowl of very hot water alongside one of cold water

The project being steeped first in hot and then in cold water
The project being steeped first in hot and then in cold water | Source

Rinse until water runs clear

The project has now been rinsed properly
The project has now been rinsed properly | Source

To Complete the project

Put the whole project into very hot water and then cold water until the water runs clear. Squeeze out any excess water and hit the project hard against a hard surface until it shrinks to the desired shape and size.

Pour hot water over it, squeeze the water out and shape over a hat block or polystyrene head.


Hint

A tumble drier may be used to shrink the fibers further. It should only be put into the tumble drier for a few minutes at a time - to prevent the two sides from sticking to one another. Nevertheless it can be a very useful tool for stubborn projects

Felt hat and felt flowers

Wet felted hat with felted flowers.
Wet felted hat with felted flowers. | Source

Three wet felted flowers

Three wet felted flowers
Three wet felted flowers | Source

Draw a template for the flowers

Draw a template on a piece of plastic or bubble-wrap. Use a thick felt pen so that the outsides when cut can still be seen through bubble-wrap. Place them underneath the bubble-wrap and cover then with fibers as shown below.

How to make the three simple felt flowers

  • Draw a circle around a dessert bowl onto a piece of thick plastic.
  • Place the circle under a sheet of bubble-wrap and begin by placing some Merino Wool fibers onto the circle which shows through.
  • These should be placed down in one or two very fine with the addition of few additional decorate fibers on the top. I used a few silk fibers.
  • Move the circle under the bubble-wrap and repeat until you have three circles of wool fibers.
  • Wet the wool fibers and then cover with bubble-wrap
  • Begin rubbing gently at first and then rub much harder until the fibers no longer move under your fingers.
  • Steep in very hot water and then cold
  • Repeat three times
  • Rinse under hot and then cold water until all the soap has been removed.
  • Drop onto a hard surface until the fibers have shrunk completely.
  • Shape and fold the flat piece where required to turn it into a flower.

Stitch a few stitches into the bottom.

Use a few stitches or a few hat pins to attach it to the hat as shown.

Three circles, of fine wool fibers placed on bubblewrap

Three circles of wool - one or two fine layers plus a  few decorative ones in the center.
Three circles of wool - one or two fine layers plus a few decorative ones in the center. | Source

Wetting the wool fibers

Wetting the wool with hot soapy water
Wetting the wool with hot soapy water | Source

Cover with bubble-wrap and rub well

Covering with bubble-wrap.  Rub until the fibers no longer move under your fingers.
Covering with bubble-wrap. Rub until the fibers no longer move under your fingers. | Source

Remove the bubble-wrap

Remove the bubble-wrap
Remove the bubble-wrap | Source

Fine layers of felt, felted but not fulled laying on a sushi mat!

Fine layers of wool felted but not fulled.
Fine layers of wool felted but not fulled. | Source

Rolling in the Sushi Mat

Roll inside a Sushi Mat. These mats are the perfect tool as they really do speed up the felting process.

Alternate the direction in which you roll the project in the sushi mat, in much the same way you did when you rolled the hat. This helps to maintain a circular shape for the flower.

Roll up in a sushi mat

Roll in a sushi mat, alternating the direction in which you lay the circles of wool
Roll in a sushi mat, alternating the direction in which you lay the circles of wool | Source

Drop into very hot water

Drop the flowers into very hot water
Drop the flowers into very hot water | Source

Hot and cold water

Drop first into hot water and then into cold water
Drop first into hot water and then into cold water | Source

Rinse and full by dropping the project onto a hard surface

Rinse and full the flowers by dropping them onto a hard surface such as a marble table or draining board
Rinse and full the flowers by dropping them onto a hard surface such as a marble table or draining board | Source

Shape into a flower

Wet felted flower
Wet felted flower | Source

Shape, stitch and attach the flowers to the hat

Flowers attached to the hat where desired
Flowers attached to the hat where desired | Source

The completed hat

The completed hat
The completed hat | Source

Making Felted Flowers with Sallybea

© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 9 months ago from Norfolk

      The first hat block I made appears in this tutorial http://hubpages.com/textiles-sewing/hand-crafted-h... You could shape your hat on your own head, or use a ball, use a polystyrene mannequin head or even on a plastic 'hat shaper'. I think that these are all practical but cost effective options. I do of course have a few wooden hat blocks and they are lovely to use but can be expensive. May I suggest that you visit my Hubpages profile where you will find many more tutorials for making hats and other felted items using a variety of shapers.

    • Mrsedoescraft profile image

      Mrs E 9 months ago from Reading

      The tutorial is exactly what I was looking for. I need to find something the right size for a hat form. We used to make masks by using cling film (with holes cut in for breathing! ) gaffer tape and papier-mâché. That would not produce a waterproof form, but maybe it could be treated or painted. Maybe that would work?

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Virginia Allain

      I would have a go at making a hat using a ball for the resist. Check out my hat tutorials using a ball or even the one which uses a small polystyrene ball (a lot depends on the size of the dolls head you want to cover) remember the wool will shrink about thirty percent. Put it into a tumble dryer and felt it that way if you feel intimidated by this process. I promise it is very easy. I appreciate your stopping by to comment.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, quite a process. I was curious, thinking I could make a hat for my doll, but don't think I'll undertake this just for her. The result was beautiful.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Sharon

      The measurements as I see them are:-

      Middle dotted line 41 cm

      Top line across 36 cm

      Bottom 43 cm

      Lower bottom line 53 cm

      As one person above stated she found the pattern a little large. I would suggest that if you head is small, reduce the measurements slightly or shrink the hat more when you 'full' the hat. I pop my hat into a freezer bag and hit it hard against a wall in the areas which I want to shrink more. A larger hat can always have fold or pleats added to it if all else fails. I hope this works out well for you,

    • profile image

      Sharon 2 years ago

      I can not see the measurements on the hat template. could you please provide these?

      thanks

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Dianna,

      I would suggest that if you try this project again and it does come out too large, try wetting it and then place it into a tumble drier to shrink further. Alternatively try adding some folds when you block it. Most projects can be salvaged as you did yours but unfortunately wool shrinks either more or less and the results cannot always be predicted. I have several hat tutorials on hubPages - try the hat on a ball next time, it is a fun project which is for adults and children.

      I will bear in mind your size suggestion when I write another

      tutorial.

      I appreciate your stopping by to comment,

      Thank you,

      Sally

    • profile image

      Diana 2 years ago

      i did make this hat it came out very very big you should put the pattern in inches to but i made a pocketbook out of it i did learn a lot from your tutorial though thank you

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      rebeccamealey

      I am glad you found the tutorial to be complete - I enjoyed writing and photographing it. Thank you very much for your visit and also your comment.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very pretty hat! I love the flowers on it. Quite a project, and your photo tutorial is very complete!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      firstday - they are dead easy to make - just make a knot in a piece of wool roving and wrap the extra wool around the knot. Add a little dish washing liquid to the soft ball and then add a little warm water. Roll the wet soft ball on a dry kitchen towel or rubber mat or alternatively in the palm of your hand. The former two methods work very quickly and result in a beautifully shaped ball.

    • firstday profile image

      R Beggs 3 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Sallybea, Thank you, I will. He wants me to do it. Although it is a project together since he is doing the wood part. I need to be able to make small felt balls to put eyes on to make animals.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      firstday - careful, you could get hooked on felting! I hope you and your husband enjoy making your project together. Feel free to ask - if you have any questions..

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • firstday profile image

      R Beggs 3 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I am glad I found you. I have to learn to felt. My husband has a project and he wants me to do the felting. I got a couple of library books. When I saw this, well I must read all your hubs on this subject. thanks Sally Bea

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      teaches1234

      I am glad you like the hat. I love the orange color too. I guess it reminds me a little of Africa:) I am glad you found this Tutorial useful.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      What an adorable hat and I love the bright orange color. I only wish I had one to wear this fall season. Your post design is great and the detailed photo instructions are very useful. Thanks for the idea.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      The Stages Of ME

      One has to think of the process as being a therapeutic one, just imagine a few hours of your day being completely involved in rubbing and massaging wet wool in order to create something which is both unique and beautiful. That is because not one wet felted item is ever created equal:)

      Thank you for your comment,

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 3 years ago

      Awesome hub, I will be the wimp that say whoa to much work, but the outcome is amazing and I would so buy this product. Great idea to motivate crafters or project with your kids or grandkids :)

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      DDE

      Hello Devika,

      My Wet Felting Tutorials take a little time to prepare and to write up. Add to that, the editing of images where necessary and I am constantly aware that I can't always be as productive as I would like to be when it comes to writing - but never mind, it is all fun and nice to share one of my hobbies with others. I very much appreciate each and every visit, thank you for the share, vote up, beautiful, interesting and useful. I hope you having a productive week,

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Sally you took a while to write again but then again you knew why. Another great surprise for us. I love this idea and your creative mind always surprises e. Voted up, beautiful, interesting and useful.Also shared.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Iris Draak

      I look forward to hearing how you get on. I hope you enjoy making this your daughter.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      AliciaC

      Thanks for the compliment and for the visit. I am glad that I was able to explain the process so that it could be easily understood.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the appearance of the hat and the flowers. They're beautiful. All the details in this hub will be very helpful for someone who wants to complete this project!

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Sally, I absolutely love hats and my daughter gave me a lovely green felted wool bowler quite a few years back. Your hat with those whimsical flowers makes me happy just looking at it. You've convinced me to try my hand at this. This hat looks like the perfect mother-daughter project during a holiday break. I can't wait, and your tutorial gives me great confidence that the effort will be successful!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      grand old lady

      I am glad you enjoyed the colors on the hat. It is a very simple get very effective way of Wet Felting a Hat.

      Thank you so much for your visit and your comment,

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      This is a lovely project. I love the different colors on the hat.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Flourish Anyway,

      Thank you for the complement and thank you very much for your continued support.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Beautiful job. I have a new nickname me for you: Sally the Goddess of Wet Felting.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello DJ

      It is so nice of you to stop by. I am glad you enjoyed this Hub and I very much appreciate your very kind comment re my artistic touch.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Sally, what a wonderful tutorial!

      You are so clever with your artistic touch.

      Anyone would find this very easy to follow to create a wet felt hat.

      Great Hub, Sally!

      DJ.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Alise- Evon

      I like to have both the written explanation on my hubs for those people who may not know anything about felting but I agree with you. I learn much better from looking at step by step pictures. I hope you do decide to use up that wool roving. A hat would make a great present for Christmas.

      Thank you,

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      I think this one may be going on sale in the very new future. I am always grateful for your continued support, even if you may not wish to make any felted products yourself. Thank you so much for the vote up.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy,

      Yes, you and I, we know what we do best and I am very grateful for your continued support - mind you, I might be able to persuade you or the Missus to change your mind when the first sheep arrive at the urban farm:)

      Thank you Billy.

      Sally

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Do you have any hats for sale, Sally? This one is cute. I know it would be a pleasure to watch you in this creative felt work you do. Thanks for sharing another beautiful project with great instructions and pictures. Voted Up!

    • profile image

      Alise- Evon 3 years ago

      Wonderful tutorial and beautiful hat, sallybea! (Though I must admit I just skipped to the pictures after reading a few of the written instructions as I found that easier to process.) I took a wet felting class a few years ago and loved it. I haven't made anything in awhile- went on to other things- but always thought it would be nice to try a hat. I still have roving, and know I could complete a hat with the help of your hub.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You and I both know I won't be doing this, but I'll always be by to give you support. You know your stuff, and you understand the importance of a niche....success will be yours if you keep at it. Well done, Sally. Now, have a marvelous day.

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