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Wet Felted Boots / Master Class Tutorial

Updated on October 12, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker. Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is, unique, experimental and always interesting

Wet Felted Boots and Speedy Sewing Awl

Wet Felted Boots ready to be attached to rubber soles with Speedy Sewing Awl and Latex.
Wet Felted Boots ready to be attached to rubber soles with Speedy Sewing Awl and Latex. | Source

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.

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 here 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.

You will discover that template making is not complicated when you have available to you, 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 a 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. On completion, you should be 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 wrap round around rubber soles will be glued and stitched to the base of the boots.

Eyelets

Rivets
Rivets | Source

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 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 'glueing' the Soles on

Waxed thread for stitching




Place the Wellington Boots down onto a Sheet of Thick Plastic

Checking the height of the boot on the template.    For longer boots retain the complete length of the boots for your template.
Checking the height of the boot on the template. For longer boots retain the complete length of the boots for your template. | Source

Check the Size of the Wellington Boot Against the Template.

Adding a border which allows for shrinkage to take place during the felting process.
Adding a border which allows for shrinkage to take place during the felting process. | Source

Boot Template Measurements / Uk Size 7 Boots

Boot template with measurements.
Boot template with measurements. | Source

The Template Which Should Be Placed on the Fold

Template should be placed on a fold
Template should be placed on a fold | Source

Transfer Drawing to a Thick Sheet of Plastic as Shown Below. Note That the Toe Area Has Been Shortened and the Leg Width Made Wider.

A shoe last can be used instead of a wellington boot
A shoe last can be used instead of a wellington boot | Source

Make Use of a Shoe Last, Wellington Boots or Make Use Your Own Feet!

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

Getting the Tongue of the Shoe Right!

The toe area has deliberately been kept to just a little more than a rounded end whilst the width of the leg has been increased. This additional width will be taken up by the tongue. Without the additional space you will have insufficient space to accommodate a tongue.

Layer 1 (White)

  • Begin by pulling off4 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 1st length of the wool roving to open up the fibers.
  • Gently tease the fibers apart and spread the wool flat. (Please see image below)
  • 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.

Tease the Wool Roving Apart to Form One Layer of Wool as Below:-

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

Cover with Curtain Netting, Wet with Warm Soapy Water.

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

Flatten the Fibers and Smooth up to the Edges of the Template with Warm 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. | Source

Layer 2. Completely Cover the First White Layer with a Layer of Fibers as Shown Below

Cover the white layer in fibers which have been pulled from the lengths of roving as per normal procedure.
Cover the white layer in fibers which have been pulled from the lengths of roving as per normal procedure. | Source

Turn over the Edges as Shown Below

Turn over the edges as shown here.
Turn over the edges as shown here. | Source

2nd Layer Using Blue Fibers

Cover the 2nd side with blue fibers as shown.
Cover the 2nd side with blue fibers as shown. | Source

Layer 2 Second Side, Neatening the Edges

Second layer almost complete
Second layer almost complete | Source

Layer 2 with Edges Folded over and Neatened.

Layer 2 is now complete
Layer 2 is now complete | Source

Layer 2

The full length of the template can be seen here.
The full length of the template can be seen here. | Source

Layer 3, Laying down a Fresh Layer of Roving as in Layer 1

Pull out the fibers from lengths of roving and put down onto the template, repeat on the other side.
Pull out the fibers from lengths of roving and put down onto the template, repeat on the other side. | Source

3rd Layer, Both Sides Covered and Awaiting the Neatening of the Edges.

Blue on both sides
Blue on both sides | Source

Layer 4, Covering the Template in a Fine Layer of Wool

Add the final layer using usual method of putting down fibers as shown here.  This is the decorative layer.
Add the final layer using usual method of putting down fibers as shown here. This is the decorative layer. | Source

Wetting the Fibers with Warm Soapy Water

Wet with warm soapy water and complete the final layer as per other layers.
Wet with warm soapy water and complete the final layer as per other layers. | Source

Final Layer Before Turning over the Edges.

Turn in the edges of layer 4
Turn in the edges of layer 4 | Source

Edges Turned Over, Final Layer.

Edges turned over.
Edges turned over. | Source

Cover with Bubble Wrap and Rub All 4 Layers Firmly on Both Sides.

Cover with bubble wrap and rub firmly for a while.
Cover with bubble wrap and rub firmly for a while. | Source

Remove the Bubble Wrap, Perform a Pinch Test to Check the Fibers for Stability

Perform the pinch test to see if the fibers are stable.
Perform the pinch test to see if the fibers are stable. | Source

Fold the Project in Half and Cut the Template in Half

Cut through the center of the project.
Cut through the center of the project. | Source

The Two Layers Cut Through and Now Two Separate Pieces

Two boots ready to be fully felted.
Two boots ready to be fully felted. | Source

A Bamboo Blind Is a Felt Makers 'Best Friend'

A bamboo blind makes light work of the felting process.
A bamboo blind makes light work of the felting process. | Source

Two Boots Laying Side by Side on the Bamboo Blind Before Rolling

Two boots ready to be rolled in the bamboo mat
Two boots ready to be rolled in the bamboo mat | Source

Roll in Several Directions, Using the Large Bamboo Mat

Rolling the project in a large bamboo mat.
Rolling the project in a large bamboo mat. | Source

One Boot Rolled and the Other One Now Showing Shrinkage

Shrinkage shown on the first boot.
Shrinkage shown on the first boot. | Source

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

Shaping the boot on a foot
Shaping the boot on a foot | Source

Shaping the Tongue Before Cutting

Image shows the folds before cutting the tongue.
Image shows the folds before cutting the tongue. | Source

Comparing Shrinkage and Shape Against the Other Boot

Comparing one boot against the other.
Comparing one boot against the other. | Source

Another View

Another view
Another view | Source

View of the Folds in Both Boots

View of the folds in the boots
View of the folds in the boots | Source

Depth of Fold Should Be About About 1 Inch

Depth of fold is approximately 1 inch.  Put the boots on your feet to check that the folds fit neatly around the foot.
Depth of fold is approximately 1 inch. Put the boots on your feet to check that the folds fit neatly around the foot. | Source

Cut Straight down into the Two Outer Folds to Form the Tongue

Cutting the fold to form the tongue.
Cutting the fold to form the tongue. | Source

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

The top edge will be slightly longer than the tongue when it is formed.  Trim the top and wet the edges with hot soapy water.
The top edge will be slightly longer than the tongue when it is formed. Trim the top and wet the edges with hot soapy water. | Source

Trim off Excess Pieces Around the Top of the Boot

The tongue will be shorter than the outer pieces and should be trimmed to required size.
The tongue will be shorter than the outer pieces and should be trimmed to required size. | Source

Image Shows How the End Result Matches the Original Template

Perfect match
Perfect match | Source

Draw Around the Boots on a Sheet of Paper

Draw around the boot in order to find the correct size of sole
Draw around the boot in order to find the correct size of sole | Source

One Foot Drawn onto the 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. | Source

Make a Pdf Using the Free Camscanner Download for Your Mobile Phone or Tablet

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 the Seller using the link above to Etsy 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 lik

The sole your 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 7 days.

Measurements for Ordering the Soles for the Boots

Draw around the boot on a sheet of paper
Draw around the boot on a sheet of paper | Source

Make a Fold at the Top of the Boots!

If making a fold over top edge of the boots, you should fold the boot over at the top and only then trim the tongue to match the top edge of the boot.

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 glueing and attaching the fixings. ,

Folding over the Top to Create a Different Style of Boot

Fold over the edges for a different look
Fold over the edges for a different look | Source

To Achieve the Best Result Always Use Shoe Lasts Which Fit Perfectly inside the Rubber Soles

Insert the shoe last.  It should fit perfectly into the shoe sole
Insert the shoe last. It should fit perfectly into the shoe sole | Source

Boots Awaiting Soles, Speed Laces and Eyelets

The boots awaiting completion.
The boots awaiting completion. | Source
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. | Source
Rubber Sole
Rubber Sole | Source

Pebeo Gedeo Liquid Latex

Speedy Stitcher Awl / Use to Attach Boots to Sole

How to 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 for Stitching the Soles onto the Boots

Speedy Stitcher Awl
Speedy Stitcher Awl | Source

How to Use a Speedy Stitcher Awl

Your Feedback Please!

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© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • profile image

      Julia 5 days ago

      I'll let you know! I got in touch with Woolenclogs, the smallest size for those soles is a 40 (all the more reason for me to make thicker felt...) I shall let you know what I come up with.

      Thank you

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 days ago from Norfolk

      I know the feeling Julia:) I hope you manage to find what you are looking for. I would love to hear about your shopping experience. Thank you so much.

    • profile image

      Julia 5 days ago

      Thanks Sally,

      I'll try a local shoe repairer. I'll also see if I can pre-order some 39s from the Etsy seller- was just feeling impatient really! Next time I shall make my felt thicker.

      Thanks, Julia

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 days ago from Norfolk

      I would suggest that you google sew on rubber soles or look on Etsy or Pinterest or even e-Bay for links to sellers. I have not bought any elsewhere but it does strike me that a local boot shoe repairer might be able to assist. It might be worth a try, Apologies, I wish that I could be more helpful.

    • profile image

      Julia 6 days ago

      Hi again Sally,

      would you know where I could get the wrap around rubber soles from, other than WoolenClogs? I ordered a pair of size 40s from there but they've turned out to be a bit big (I think my felt could be thicker) I need a 39 and they aren't stocked. I've scoured the internet but not come up with anything that I like as much as these.

      Thanks, Julia

    • profile image

      Julia 2 weeks ago

      Thank you Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Definitely, will work Julia:)

      I have been carding raw wool into batts using my drum carder and using the undyed wool between my layers too. It is extremely cost effective. If you batts are beautiful, keep those as top and bottom layers though batts are sometimes so thick you may not need to use more than one. I sometimes split mine in two and add fibres to top and bottom. You might have to play around a bit with the thickness until you are familiar with the process.

    • profile image

      Julia 2 weeks ago

      Hi Sally,

      This is a great tutorial, thank you, so many helpful links too.

      I've made felt slipper boots before but now want to make boots for outside. As I have quite a lot of wool batts in my collection I'm wondering if you think they'll work as well as the roving would?

      I was considering doing the 1st and 3rd layer with batts and the 2nd and 4th with roving.

      Thankyou,

      Julia

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 months ago from Norfolk

      Polly,

      I am glad you found this Tutorial helpful.

    • profile image

      Polly 2 months ago

      Amazing and beautiful boots

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      vespawoolf

      I very much appreciate your very kind comments and thank you for the great feedback.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 6 months ago from Peru, South America

      I can see why this Hub won an award! With the photo tutorial and a lot of experience, I imagine anyone could make these boots. I've seen a similar type of boot sold here to the tourists, but yours looks even higher quality. Congratulations on the award.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      Jetty

      You are very welcome. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. It is always so nice to have the feedback.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      Diane Cornelius

      You are very welcome. I am glad the Tutorial was helpful and I wish you success with your Project.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      Woolenclogs

      No need to feel bad! The soles are great and they are the perfect finishing touch for the boots. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    • profile image

      Jetty 6 months ago

      Thank you so much for your tutorial. A few months ago I made some felted boots in a workshop and forgot to write everything down. With your tutorial I can make some other ones for my daughter and granddaughter and maybe some for myself.

    • profile image

      Diane Cornelius 6 months ago

      These boots are beautiful and I'm grateful for your detailed instructions. I'm excited to give them a try.

    • profile image

      Woolenclogs 6 months ago

      Amazing tutorial! I still feel bad, that I haven't gotten around to posting mine about sewing the soles to the shoes -- so much work, and now the season has started...

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      cam8510

      Thank you, Chris. I must admit I was thrilled to see how many people I knew achieved an award this year. All so well deserved too. It is nice to see you gracing one of my pages again.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      Faith Reaper

      You are too kind and I am so pleased that you have one of your own with How to Cut 100 Calories a Day, something I need to come back to after taking a short holiday break:)

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      Thank you so much. I am delighted but, more so for you, for your own accolade, Six Habits of Young Women Empowering Each Other. It is so well deserved.

    • profile image

      Faith Reaper 6 months ago

      Congrtulations, Sally, on winning a well-deserved Hubbie Award for this amazing hub! You are always a winner in my mind!

      Bravo!

    • profile image

      MsDora 6 months ago

      Sally, you're among the best deserving hubbers for an award. Congratulations for winning the 2016 Best Hub on Feltmagnet!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 6 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      Congratulations, Sally for having a winning hub in the Hubbie Awards. I'm always thrilled when someone I know is chosen.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 7 months ago from Norfolk

      Hello,

      Thank you so much. I appreciate your confidence in my abilities. Maybe! One day! I suspect that day will come:)

    • profile image

      Faith Reaper 7 months ago

      Hi Sally,

      Wow, I love the boots! This one is certainly for the Master felters no doubt.

      I agree that you should give local classes, as you are a Master at this beautiful craft. Your instructions and photos are precise and easy to follow.

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      teaches12345

      Glad you enjoyed this post. Sorry to be late responding to this comment but it arrived three days late! Every one of your visits to my hubs is valued and appreciated. Thank you so much.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      This truly was a labor of love and I was so happy with the end result. Your very kind response means so much to me, I wish I had been able to respond to you earlier but HubPages appears to be vetting comments before we see them. This one arrived three days late! Thank you so much.

    • profile image

      teaches12345 8 months ago

      Hi Sally. This was a fascinating post and your finished product is so professional in design. I would certainly wear them to look stylish.

    • profile image

      MsDora 8 months ago

      Skillfully, patiently and beautifully you create magic. Yes, I love to watch the process. How talented you are!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Donna,

      Great to find you gracing my pages again. So glad you enjoyed this Tutorial which is probably my favorite project so far but like you, the ideas just keep on flowing! There really is no limit to what you can do with this craft.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 8 months ago from USA

      This is another great felting tutorial, Sally! Thanks for sharing it with us. I love the idea of making these boots in a custom color by mixing shades of wool roving. My head is filled with ideas for embellishing these boots even further with embroidery and painting. Thanks again and have a great day!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      You are very welcome. Glad you found the tutorial useful. I would love it if you would share a few images of your workshop and the completed boots. Perhaps I can write a follow-up to this and add your images to it. I do intend to add the images of my own completed Boots as soon as my 'speedy sewing awl' arrives.

    • profile image

      Sue 8 months ago

      Very good tutorial, thank you for making it. I've made similar slippers (without the tongue) and boots (separate tongue that had to be felted in separately) :-( and a couple of friends and I will be getting together to follow your tutorial to make these. :-) Thank you also for the link to the soles.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Devika,

      Thanks so much for the tweet. I am very appreciative of each and every visit, have a terrific weekend.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      You are never too late Billy. I am grateful for each and every visit you make. You have a terrific weekend Billy!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Beautiful! You are so good at planning and creating new ideas. I Tweeted!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Master Class indeed. You left us beginners after about one paragraph. LOL Sorry I'm late....busy Friday and I'm just getting to this. Have a wonderful weekend, Sally!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      FlourishAnyway

      No, I don't give local classes as yet but it is certainly something I might like to consider in the future. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      Wow, Sally, you are a true master. I hope you give local classes wherever you are to share your talent. Beautiful work.

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