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How to Make Wet Felted Pixie Slippers
Wet Felted Pixie Slippers
Shoe Lasts Come in All Shapes and Sizes!
Shoe Lasts can be bought in a variety of sizes and really do contribute to the successful outcome of a project such as this one. These are usually made from wood, resin, metal or more recently Polystyrene. Small shoe lasts for children can be difficult to source and when you do find them they are usually expensive. have the advantage of being able to be used in a washing machine or tumble dryer for felting! If you intend making slippers or shoes often these can be a good investment as they can be used over and over again. Polystyrene Shoe Lasts
The little pair of wooden shoes pictured in this tutorial were purchased as ornaments! The little shoes were tied together with string when I bought them. I saw the potential and now use them regularly for making small shoes or booties for children at a fraction of the price of what a 'real' pair of shoe lasts might have cost.
Things You Will Need to Complete This Tutorial:-
- , Resin or Polystyrene Last or alternatively you may like to draw around the feet of the intended wearer of these slippers. Use a sheet of floor underlayment to draw the template onto. If you make an error while drawing on the underlayment it is easily wiped off with a damp cloth. Wooden Shoe Lasts
- A sheet of for drawing the template on. floor underlayment
- A sheet of bubble wrap
- A quantity Merino wool roving
- A marker pen
- A heavy duty bamboo blind
- A hand towel for soaking up any excess water
- Warm soapy water such as olive oil soap which can be grated and diluted in warm water.
- A Tumble dryer (useful but not essential)
- A pair of sharp scissors
- Dental floss for attaching the curved point of the slippers to the body of the slippers once they are completed(optional)
Draw the Template
Step 1—How to Create the Template
- Place the shoe lasts down onto a sheet of or alternatively draw around the feet of the person who will be wearing the slippers underfloor layment
- Use a tape measure to create dots around the traced image. The dots should be made about 1/1/2 inches away from the traced foot. This increase in the size of the foot is to allow for shrinkage which will take place during the felting process.
- Connect the dots and complete the 1st side of the template as shown.
- Fold the template at the center line and draw a mirror image of the other side as is shown in the image here.
- Add a curve above each toe which will be used to create the pixie toe for the slippers.
- Cut around the template.
The Completed Template With Pink Merino Wool Roving
Step 2—Cover the Template with a Layer of Wool
- Cover the template with fibers plucked from a length of wool roving.
- The layer of wool should overlap the edges and be perfectly even throughout.
- An uneven layer of wool will always result in the finished article being full of thin spots or even holes.
- Any thin spots should be filled before proceeding to the second layer.
- It is better to have 3 thin layers than 2 layers which will end up with holes in them.
The Partially CoveredTemplate
Step 3—Create the Pixie Toes
- The pixie toe shape should be created by wrapping any excess wool around the pointed curve.
- This should be done when the fibers are wet as is shown in the images below.
The 1st Side Covered with Merino Wool
Step 4—Wet the Fibers
- Use a squeeze bottle to wet the fibers with warm soapy water.
Wetting the Wool
Step 5—Cover With Bubble Wrap
- Cover the surface of the wool with bubble wrap, bubble side facing down.
- Wet the smooth surface of the bubble wrap with warm soapy water.
- The soapy water makes it very easy for your fingers to glide over the surface of the bubble wrap as you rub.
Wet the Bubble Wrap
Rub the Surface Well
Step 6—Remove the Bubble Wrap Gently
- Life the bubble wrap off the wool taking care not to displace the fibers below.
Turn the Template Over
Step 8—Fold the Overlapping Edges Over the Edge
- Use a little of the soapy water to help smooth the overlap over the edges.
Tidy the Edges
Step 9—Fold the Wool Over the Edge of the Template
- The neatened edges should be covered with bubble wrap and rubbed well.
- Pay particular attention to ensuring you neaten the edges.
The Wet Fibers Folded Over the Edges of the Template
Step 10—Cover the 2nd Side
- Cover the 2nd side with Merino Wool.
The 2nd Side Covered in a Layer of Wool
Step 11—Wet the Wool
- Sprinkle with warm soapy water and cover with bubble wrap.
Wetting the Wool
Step 12—Cover with Bubble Wrap
- Cover the surface with bubble wrap, bubble side down.
Wet the Surface of the Bubble Wrap With Soapy Water
Step 13—Rub Well
- Press down on the wet fibers and rub well.
- Pay special attention to the edges so as to create a neat edge.
Rubbing the Wet Surface of the Bubble Wrap
Step 14—Remove the Bubble Wrap
- Carefully lift off the bubble wrap so as not to displace the fibers.
Remove the Bubble Wrap
Step 15—Neaten the Edges
- Fold the excess wool over the edges of the template.
- Wrap any overlapping wool near the toe sections of the slippers around the point.
- Cover with bubblewrap and smooth down the wet wool.
Neaten the Edges
Step 16—The Edges Neatened
- Pay particular attention to the turned over edges.
- Wet the wool and cover with bubble wrap.
The Neatened Toe Area
Step 17—Add a Little Water
- Rub well to smooth down the fiber.
Rub the Bubble Wrap
Step 18—Add a 2nd Layer of Wool
- The layer of wool put down should be thick enough to cover the whole of the previous layer.
- There should an even layer of wool with no thin spots.
The 2nd Layer Generously Covering the 1st Layer
Step 19—Wet the Wool
- Wet the 2nd layer as shown.
Wetting the 2nd Layer
Step 20—Cover with Bubble Wrap
- Wet the surface of the bubble wrap as before.
Step 21—Rub Well
- Rub well paying special attention to the edges on the template.
Rub the Wet Bubble Wrap
Step 22—Remove the Bubble Wrap.
- Lift the bubble wrap gently from the wet wool.
Bubble Wrap Removed from the Project
Step 23—Turn Over
- Fold the wool over the edges and neaten the toe area of the slipper.
- Use a little warm water to help smooth down the wool.
Neatening the Slipper Toes Under a Sheet of Bubble Wrap
- This image shows that no shrinkage has as yet taken place.
- The little shoe lasts can be seen still only cover a small portion of the project.
The Tiny Shoe Lasts Prior to Shrinkage Taking Place
Step 25—Cover The Project with Bubble Wrap
- With the Bubble Wrap still covering the project put it on the bamboo mat and roll it up inside the mat.
- Roll carefully at first, the project is still delicate at this stage.
Rolling with the Bubble Wrap Still Protecting the Project
Step 26—Roll 100 Times
- Roll the project about 100 times.
- Rotate the project and roll another 100 times
- Keep on rotating the project and roll until the fibers no longer move when pinched between the fingers.
Rolling Inside the Bamboo Blind
Step 27—Change the Direction of Each Roll
- Change the direction in which you roll.
- This allows for even shrinkage throughout the project.
The Template Will Buckle!
- The project starts to buckle as shrinkage takes place.
- The edge of the project shifts as shrinkage takes place leaving a neat edge.
- The bamboo blind is extremely effective at helping to create a very good edge with no folds visible anywhere.
Changing the Direction of the Roll
- In this image, shrinkage can clearly be seen to have taken place.
- The template has begun to buckle and bend.
The Template Buckles as the Slipper Shrinks
Step 30—The Pinch Test
- Test to see if the fibers still move by pinching them between 2 fingers.
- If they no longer move, you are now ready to move onto the next step.
Fold the Slipper in Half and Cut a V as Shown
Step 31—Extract the Template
- The project is still quite fragile at this stage.
- Extract the template carefully as shown.
Removing the Template
Slippers With the Template Removed
Step 32—Put the 2 Boots into a Plastic Bag
- Loosely tie the 2 sections loosely into a plastic bag.
- Tumble in a tumble dryer for about 5 minutes.
- The plastic bag helps prevent the slippers from moving around too much before they are sufficiently felted to withstand the tumble action within the dryer.
- Remove the plastic bag and allow the slippers to tumble without the plastic bag for about 5 minutes.
- Keep on checking every few minutes to make sure that the slippers don't shrink too much.
- The idea is to shrink the slippers enough for the shoe lasts to fit neatly into the space left behind and save you time.
- If you don't have a tumble dryer, put the slippers first into hot and then cold running water and massage with your palms and fingers.
- Drop them onto the surface of the kitchen sink to encourage the fibers to shrink.
- They will soon start to shrink.
- Shrink until the last can be accommodated inside the boot shape.
- Shrink until the lasts fit well.
- Give the slippers a final rinse under hot and then cold water.
- Roll the toe area between your palms and shape like a sausage so that it looks like the image below.
- Allow the slippers to dry on a rack placed in a well-ventilated space.
- Thread a needle with flat dental floss and secure the curve to the slipper.
- Tie a knot inside and cut off the excess.
- Dental floss is strong and softer and neater than cotton thread.
The Shrunken Slippers
Step 33—Shaping the Slippers
- Wet the slippers and shape them on the lasts.
- Rub with bubble wrap or a cloth.
- The toe area once hardened by the rubbing can easily be shaped into a curled toe shap.e
The Shaped Pixie Slippers
Step 34—Creating Different Size Slippers!
- Different shapes and sizes can be created by using different size shoe lasts.
- Use the same l l/2 inch shrinkage allowance for all sizes. This allowance is generous. You may wish to experiment a little and reduce it a little depending on the wool and method of felting that you are using.
- Some wool shrinks more and some less.
- You will always achieve a firmer result if the wool is felted in a tumble rather than by hand.
- 3 layers of wool should be used for slippers larger than the ones shown here.
- 2 layers can be used for smaller sizes when you might be making them for a child who is not yet walking or crawling.
- For active children and adults experiment with 3 to 4 layers.
Shoe Lasts Inside the Pixie Slipper
X-Small, Small and Medium Slippers
How to Wet Felt Booties
Handmade or Store Bought Gifts
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© 2017 Sally Gulbrandsen