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Wet-Felted Boots Master Class Tutorial

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

These wet felted boots are ready to be attached to rubber soles with Speedy Sewing Awl and latex.

These wet felted boots are ready to be attached to rubber soles with Speedy Sewing Awl and latex.

A Little About This Felt-Making Tutorial!

This tutorial is aimed at the more advanced felt maker who has already understood the basics of wet felting and would like to learn a bit more.

Alternate Felting Method

In this lesson, we will deviate slightly from what is considered to be the 'normal' way of laying down wool fibers to an alternate method where the roving is gently teased apart to form a flat sheet which will be used to cover two of the four layers.

The second and the fourth layers are down in the 'normal' way where the wool is plucked from a length of wool roving and then placed down in a fine but even layer over the much thicker layer below.

Making a Template

You will discover that template-making is not complicated when you have Wellington boots to use as a guide. An easy-to-adapt free template has been included with this tutorial.

Template measurements included here are for a ladies' size 7 UK boot, but these can easily be adapted using different size Wellington boots or shoe lasts. Alternatively, you may wish to draw around your own feet.

This tutorial demonstrates how complex templates are not always necessary to achieve the best result.

The Finished Pair of Boots

On completion, you should have a pair of boots which not only have a tongue but laces and rubber soles. They should be sturdy enough to withstand general wear and tear, rain and snow. The wraparound rubber soles will be glued and stitched to the base of the boots.

Eyelet Rivets

Eyelet Rivets

Things You Will Need to Complete This Class

  • 500 grams wool roving in color or colors of your choice
  • Warm soapy water
  • Curtain netting
  • Bubble wrap
  • A large bamboo or plastic window blind
  • A pair of Wellington boots and shoe lasts in the same size as your feet. (Alternatively, you use may use your own feet.)
  • Thick plastic sheeting on which you can draft your template
  • Pair of scissors
  • Boot laces
  • Speed lace hooks and/or metal eyelets
  • A pair of rubber soles a size larger than your current size boots. These should preferably be designed specifically for use with wet-felted boots.
  • Speedy Stitcher Awl for sewing on the soles
  • Pebeo Gedeo Liquid Latex for 'gluing' the soles on
  • Waxed thread for stitching
1. Place the Wellington Boots Down Onto a Sheet of Thick Plastic

1. Place the Wellington Boots Down Onto a Sheet of Thick Plastic

2. Check the Size of the Wellington Boot Against the Template

2. Check the Size of the Wellington Boot Against the Template

Boot template with measurements

Boot template with measurements

Template should be placed on a fold

Template should be placed on a fold

3. Transfer Drawing to a Thick Sheet of Plastic

3. Transfer Drawing to a Thick Sheet of Plastic

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Feltmagnet

You Can Use a Last, a Boot or Your Own Feet

Make use of a pair of shoe lasts, Wellington boots or feet in the size of boot you will be making.

4. Create Layer 1 (White)

  • Begin by pulling off four lengths of white roving. Each piece should run the whole length of the template with a just slight overlap which will be turned over to the other side of the template.
  • Four lengths should be sufficient to completely cover the template but it will very much depend on how little or how large the template being used is.
  • Next, run two fingers down the first length of the wool roving to open up the fibers.
  • Gently tease the fibers apart and spread the wool flat. (Please see image)
  • Take care to spread the wool evenly. There should be no gaps anywhere. If there are any, fill them with additional fibers.
  • Repeat this process until one side of the template has been completely covered. Leave an overlap of wool on all sides.
  • Cover the wool with netting, wet with warm soapy water and smooth the fibers right up to the edge of the template.
  • Turn the template over and fold the excess wool in on all sides.
  • Repeat this procedure on the other side using another four lengths of wool roving.
  • Fold the edges over neatly.
  • The template is now covered completely in a fairly thick layer of white wool.
  • Layer 1 is now complete.
Wool roving pulled out to make a single sheet of white wool

Wool roving pulled out to make a single sheet of white wool

Cover with curtain net and wet with hot soapy water.

Cover with curtain net and wet with hot soapy water.

Rub until smooth and then remove the netting and fold in the edges.

Rub until smooth and then remove the netting and fold in the edges.

5. Cover the First White Layer With Colored Fibers for Layer 2

5. Cover the First White Layer With Colored Fibers for Layer 2

6. Turn Over the Edges

6. Turn Over the Edges

7. Cover the Other Side With Fibers

7. Cover the Other Side With Fibers

8. Neaten the Edges

8. Neaten the Edges

Layer 2 is now complete.

Layer 2 is now complete.

The full length of the template can be seen here.

The full length of the template can be seen here.

9. Lay Down Roving for Layer 3

9. Lay Down Roving for Layer 3

10. Neaten the Edges

10. Neaten the Edges

11. Lay Down Fibers for Layer 4 (Decorative Layer)

11. Lay Down Fibers for Layer 4 (Decorative Layer)

12. Wet the Fibers With Warm Soapy Water

12. Wet the Fibers With Warm Soapy Water

13. Turn in the Edges

13. Turn in the Edges

Edges turned over

Edges turned over

14. Cover With Bubble Wrap and Rub All Four Layers Firmly on Both Sides

14. Cover With Bubble Wrap and Rub All Four Layers Firmly on Both Sides

15. Remove the Bubble Wrap and Perform a Pinch Test to Check the Fibers for Stability

15. Remove the Bubble Wrap and Perform a Pinch Test to Check the Fibers for Stability

16. Fold the Project in Half and Cut the Template in Half

16. Fold the Project in Half and Cut the Template in Half

Two boots ready to be fully felted

Two boots ready to be fully felted

17. Prepare the Bamboo Blind

17. Prepare the Bamboo Blind

Two boots ready to be rolled in the bamboo mat

Two boots ready to be rolled in the bamboo mat

18. Roll in Several Directions

18. Roll in Several Directions

Shrinkage shown on the first boot

Shrinkage shown on the first boot

19. Place the Boot on a Foot or Last and Shape the Folds as Shown

19. Place the Boot on a Foot or Last and Shape the Folds as Shown

20. Shape the Tongue Before Cutting

20. Shape the Tongue Before Cutting

Comparing one boot against the other

Comparing one boot against the other

Another view

Another view

21. Do the Same for the Other Boot

21. Do the Same for the Other Boot

The depth of fold is approximately one inch.  Put the boots on your feet to check that the folds fit neatly around the foot.

The depth of fold is approximately one inch. Put the boots on your feet to check that the folds fit neatly around the foot.

22. Cut Straight Down Into the Two Outer Folds to Form the Tongue

22. Cut Straight Down Into the Two Outer Folds to Form the Tongue

23. Trim the Top of the Boot and Rub the Edges With Hot Soapy Water

23. Trim the Top of the Boot and Rub the Edges With Hot Soapy Water

24. Trim off Excess Pieces Around the Top of the Boot

24. Trim off Excess Pieces Around the Top of the Boot

25. Compare the End Result to the Template

25. Compare the End Result to the Template

26. Draw Around the Boots on a Sheet of Paper

26. Draw Around the Boots on a Sheet of Paper

One foot drawn onto the sheet of white paper; one more to go

One foot drawn onto the sheet of white paper; one more to go

27. Make a PDF Using the Free Camscanner Download

Draw around the completed boot.

Photograph the template on your tablet or phone using the free Camscanner app. Use this to convert your drawing to a PDF in seconds. Contact this seller on Etsy (or another seller of your choice) and send her the PDF file of your boot. Request that she send you the appropriate size sole using the file you send her. Don't forget to indicate your preference when it comes to the color you would like.

The sole you order will usually be one size larger than your shoe size. The seller should be able to send the right size using this info, avoiding any unnecessary inconvenience and disappointment from both sides.

Delivery is usually within seven days.

Draw around the boot on a sheet of paper

Draw around the boot on a sheet of paper

28. Reshape the Boots at This Stage

Wet the boots after cutting the tongue and massage the cuts with hot soapy water and shape to fit your own feet.

Finally, put a shoe last into the boots and allow them to dry before gluing and attaching the fixings.

Optional: Fold Over the Top to Create a Different Style of Boot

Optional: Fold Over the Top to Create a Different Style of Boot

29. Check the Fit of Your Last and Sole

29. Check the Fit of Your Last and Sole

30. Prepare to Attach the Eyelets, Laces and Sole

30. Prepare to Attach the Eyelets, Laces and Sole

Wet Felted Boots ready to be glued and stitched with Eyelets, Speed Laces and Laces waiting to be attached

Wet Felted Boots ready to be glued and stitched with Eyelets, Speed Laces and Laces waiting to be attached

Rubber Sole

Rubber Sole

31. Attach the Boots to the Soles

The boots can be attached to the soles with Pebeo Gedeo Liquid Latex. Use a Speedy Stitcher Awl and waxed thread to sew the boot to the sole. Waxed thread and Fintex Board can be purchased with the soles from Etsy. Please see the link to the soles above.

Begin by cutting two Soles, from the Fintex Board.

Paint a thin layer of liquid latex onto the rubber sole. Wait as per instructions on the container and then place the board on top of the latex layer. Repeat with another layer of latex on the upper side of the Fintex Board. Place the felt boot on top of that layer being very careful to line up the components perfectly.

Sew the felt boot onto the sole using the waxed thread and the Speedy Stitcher Awl. This can be a little awkward. I suggest having a practice run with a piece of leather or fabric.

The latex and the board between the sole and the felt will keep the boot soft and waterproof. Don't use glue on the felt it will make the boots stiff and look unsightly.

Speedy Stitcher Awl

Speedy Stitcher Awl

Questions & Answers

Question: Where do you buy the rubber soles for wet felted boots?

Answer: I bought mine from Etsy.

Question: When making wet felted boots, how long do I leave the latex before attaching the boot? Do you put latex on both surfaces? There are no instructions on the container

Answer: I applied it to the sole and then attached the boot.

© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 30, 2018:

You can use bubble wrap, thick plastic sheeting or any type of firm plastic sheeting. I would say that strong bubble wrap is probably more common but I do prefer underfloor foam which goes under laminate flooring. I often purchase from car boots for next to nothing.

Viki on October 30, 2018:

Dear Sally,

This is just one awesome tutorial, thank you so much for it! I have my boots ready and was lost about the whole sole-thing, but I think I'm ready to go now :) Just one little question, I can't find fintex anywhere near - or only in quantities I will definitely not use up in my whole lifetime -, do you have any suggestions what to use instead?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 02, 2018:

I have added a link below. Hope that helps.

https://feltmagnet.com/textiles-sewing/How-to-Wet-...

Janice Susan urffer on April 02, 2018:

Where can I find template for felted baby slippers? Thank you