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How to Make Wet Felted Pixie Slippers

Updated on September 23, 2017
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Wet Felted Pixie Slippers

Pixie wet felted slippers
Pixie wet felted slippers | Source

Shoe Lasts

A group of children's size metal and wooden shoe lasts.
A group of children's size metal and wooden shoe lasts. | Source

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. Polystyrene Shoe Lasts 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.

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:-

  • Wooden Shoe Lasts, 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.
  • A sheet of floor underlayment for drawing the template on.
  • 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

Put the shoe lasts down onto a sheet of laminate floor underlay and trace around them.
Put the shoe lasts down onto a sheet of laminate floor underlay and trace around them. | Source

Step 1—How to Create the Template

  • Place the shoe lasts down onto a sheet of underfloor layment or alternatively draw around the feet of the person who will be wearing the slippers
  • 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

The slipper template with some pink wool roving.
The slipper template with some pink wool roving. | Source

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

The template covered in an even layer of fibers
The template covered in an even layer of fibers | Source

Step 4—Wet the Fibers

  • Use a squeeze bottle to wet the fibers with warm soapy water.

Wetting the Wool

Wetting the Merino Wool with warm soapy water
Wetting the Merino Wool with warm soapy water | Source

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

Wetting the Bubble Wrap
Wetting the Bubble Wrap | Source

Rub the Surface Well

Rub the surface of the bubble wrap until the fibers below have been smoothed down.
Rub the surface of the bubble wrap until the fibers below have been smoothed down. | Source

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

The neatened edges.
The neatened edges. | Source

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

Sprinkle with warm soapy water.
Sprinkle with warm soapy water. | Source

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

Adding a little soapy water to the surface of the bubble wrap.
Adding a little soapy water to the surface of the bubble wrap. | Source

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

A little soapy water facilitates easy movement of the hands on the surface of the bubble wrap.
A little soapy water facilitates easy movement of the hands on the surface of the bubble wrap. | Source

Step 14—Remove the Bubble Wrap

  • Carefully lift off the bubble wrap so as not to displace the fibers.

Remove the Bubble Wrap

Removing the bubble wrap.
Removing the bubble wrap. | Source

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

Neatening the edges.
Neatening the edges. | Source

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

The wet fibers turned over the edges of the template.
The wet fibers turned over the edges of the template. | Source

Step 17—Add a Little Water

  • Rub well to smooth down the fiber.

Rub the Bubble Wrap

Rub well.
Rub well. | Source

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

The 2nd layer completely covering the 1st layer.
The 2nd layer completely covering the 1st layer. | Source

Step 19—Wet the Wool

  • Wet the 2nd layer as shown.

Wetting the 2nd Layer

Sprinkling the surface with warm soapy water.
Sprinkling the surface with warm soapy water. | Source

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

Rub the wet surface of the bubble wrap
Rub the wet surface of the bubble wrap | Source

Step 22—Remove the Bubble Wrap.

  • Lift the bubble wrap gently from the wet wool.

Bubble Wrap Removed from the Project

Source

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

Source

Step 24—Shrinkage!

  • 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

Source

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

Rolling the slipper inside a bamboo blind.
Rolling the slipper inside a bamboo blind. | Source

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!

Step 28—Shrinkage

  • 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

Step 29—Shrinkage!

  • 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

Shrinkage
Shrinkage | Source

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

Slippers minus the template
Slippers minus the template | Source

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

The slippers after spending 10 minutes in the tumble dryer.
The slippers after spending 10 minutes in the tumble dryer. | Source

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

Wet Felted Pixie Slipper
Wet Felted Pixie Slipper | Source

X-Small, Small and Medium Slippers

A group of Wet Felted Pixie Slippers.  The larger pairs of slippers were made with 3 layers of wool on both sides.  The pink pair was made with 2 layers.
A group of Wet Felted Pixie Slippers. The larger pairs of slippers were made with 3 layers of wool on both sides. The pink pair was made with 2 layers. | Source

How to Wet Felt Booties

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© 2017 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 days ago from Norfolk

      Catherine Giordano, it is a pleasure to have you grace one of my tutorials. Let me warn you, this craft can be addictive! I do hope you give it a try.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 5 days ago from Orlando Florida

      I'm not the crafty type, but the slippers are so adorable and the instructions are so clear, I'm almost ready to give it a try. I'm very impressed.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 13 days ago from Norfolk

      Hello devika, thank you so much! I appreciate the feedback.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 13 days ago from Norfolk

      Thank you Dianne, They are my favorite too.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Sally, your work is beautiful! The ideas are unique. An interesting and creative mind you have, as always!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 weeks ago

      How adorable! The pink is my favorite!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 weeks ago from New York

      Thanks so much for the information. Yes, and I love Amazon so that would be the first place I look. LOL.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 weeks ago from Norfolk

      One can purchase Merino wool roving from Amazon or e-Bay. I usually purchase Botany Waste Wool from World of Wool in the UK as it is only about £9 per 500 grams, incredible value for someone starting out. The bundle consists of mostly Merino wool but mixed the wool is great for someone starting out. I realise that you are based in the States but you can buy Merino wool roving there too. Even raw fleece, undyed can be used for felting. Amazon and E-Bay are good starting points but remember to buy wool roving which is suitable for felting.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 weeks ago from New York

      They are gifts that are well received, I'm sure. I just have visions of a fairy or elf costumes with these adorable shoes or wearing a pair during the winter to keep my feet warm. I wish I had your talent and the patience to go along with it. LOL.

      I do have a question, however, since I have never worked this type of craft before. Do you buy the wool in a hobby store?

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 weeks ago from Norfolk

      The slippers found a new home today and the recipients were delighted I am very glad to say. I am big on giving handcrafted gifts to my friends and family and today was no different. I wish I could say that people were willing to pay enough to cover the materials and the time spent on making handcrafted items but this is not always the case. I do sell them from time to time on e-Bay and locally. My ultimate goal is to have them exhibited in art galleries and perhaps teach others how to create them.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 weeks ago from New York

      You are so talented! These felt fairy shoes are adorable and make excellent shoes for costumes. You should sell them on Amazon and Etsy for Halloween costumes and Christmas costumes. They make adorable house shoes for Christmas, too. I bet people of all ages would love to wear a pair of these.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Hi, Mary,

      I would sew on a leather sole which can be recycled from a leather bag or coat or use leather purchased especially for this project. Simply draw around the finished slipper, cut it out and punch some holes around the edges of the leather and sew it on, You could buy a type of liquid rubber but I don't favour this method as it looks messy and spoils the look of the item but it will create a non-slip surface under the slipper. Too many layers of wool will make the slipper feel quite hard and thick especially if you felt in the tumble dryer. I would go for the leather option and protect the bottom of the slipper from wear rather than have a pad inside.

      So glad you enjoyed this Tutorial and thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 weeks ago from Brazil

      These are so cute! I can't imagine what little girl wouldn't love to wear these. You say about using and 3 or 4 layers for an active child. Is it possible to insert a pad inside or a thin sole on the outside. I would think you'd have a hard time getting the kid out of these shoes, as they would love them.

      What a fun project.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Chitrangada Sharan. you are very welcome and thank you so much for your continued support. It is valued and appreciated.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations for the HP award! Well deserved indeed!

      I have always admired your creative ideas and creations.

      Your tutorials are original and very interesting always and this one is no different.

      Thanks for sharing the detailed instructions of another wonderful craft!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Congratulations on your own award for the Most Trusted Hubber MsDora. That is no surprise to me, as I have said before I know that if I lived in your neck of the woods I would be following the path of many who I am sure tread a path to your front door. Well done MsDora.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Back to say Congratulations on your "Best Imagery" Award. No one I know comes close to deserving it as much as you do. Keep up the good work!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Thank you, Martie, I appreciate your continued support.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 weeks ago from South Africa

      Another extremely inspiring wet felted product. Thank you, Sally!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Thank you MsDora. These three little pairs of slippers will be gifted to one young lad and his two little sisters next week. I expect I will find time to make a few more in the future.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      I still think that you should begin to take orders while you continue your tutorials. These slippers are too cute!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Jill, that might be one of the nicest things said to me. Thank you so much.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 3 weeks ago from United States

      These may be the cutest things I've ever seen.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Great name for a dog Billy! Mine was Sixpence and perhaps that was to be a sign that wealth might never come my way:) However, I enjoyed making these Pixie Slippers and I especially love the fact that you continue to support me so regularly on these pages. Thank you and have a great weekend Billy.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The first dog I ever owned, when I was five,was named Pixie. That's as close as I can come to relating to this article. However, I can relate to you, your craftsmanship, and your talent, so well done my friend.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Hi, Donna, you are right, they would be great hanging on a Christmas tree. Little sweets and gifts could even be put inside:) You always have such great ideas for enhancing my projects. Thank you! Have a great weekend.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 3 weeks ago from USA

      These pixie shoes are adorable! These shoes would be perfect for holiday decorating, too. I could see stuffing them with holiday trinkets and hanging them on a tree, or using them as the centerpiece of a Christmas wreath. Thanks for the great tutorial. I always love seeing what project you'll come up with next. Thanks for sharing!