INSTRUCTIONS FOR FELTING
Remember to use the link the Feltmakers List FAQ page
for more advice on how to best felt a hat.
Click on the Original Classic Dome Hat
Shaper for quick link to Feltmakers List FAQ page.
There are so many many different ideas on what is
the best way to felt. The best thing to do is to take a wad of fiber,
and mess with it. Run it under hot water, add a drop of soap and roll
it, flatten it, pound it, whatever, for about 10 minutes and see what
happens. You should end up with a hard little ball of felt. Ta Da.....
that is how it happens.
Now, the artistic qualities are developed by skill, trial
The first set of directions are from Wanda
Tate. She was one of my first customers and had never felted hats
before. The wonderful thing about Wanda is that she is
determined. Nothing stands in this gals way.
She perfected her process as follows:
1. For a wide brim hat I use 6 oz. of Icelandic wool batts
in 26" flat
circles with netting top & bottom, alternating fiber direction
of each batt
(usually 4). This is because my largest bowl isn't large enough and has
lip, which interferes with the initial felting. And its a lot easier to
out the wool flat and get even layers.
2. I thoroughly wet the wool with hot soapy water
applied with a sponge and pressure, then take
it to the soft felt stage (where it holds together nicely).
3. Then I put it on the big bowl and continue rubbing and
pounding both sides to get the basic
4. Take the wool off the bowl, then fold in half, brim to brim and
roll with a textured large
roller on a bamboo mat, always rolling from brim area to
5. Then beat with a large wooden meat tenderizing
mallet from brim edge to crown top.
6. Wring hatband area repeatedly.
7. Refold 90 degrees from last fold. Repeat beating, rolling,
refolding and wringing hatband area.
8. Turn hat inside out and repeat beating, rolling,
refolding and wringing until ready to shape
(when it reaches the pliable as clay stage).
9. Rinse well to remove all soap.
10. Place best side up over Hat Shaper, apply
steam with iron and beat with
mall meat mallet and roll with small roller until crown is firm,
11. Take off Hat Shaper and steam, beat and
roll the brim. I work the wide brim off the
Hat Shaper so I don't get an indent from the
edge of the Hat
Shaper brim showing.
12. Once brim is firm and stiff, put back on Hat
13. Lightly press with iron, paying special attention to the corner
crown meets brim.
14. Let dry completely on Hat Shaper.
15. Measure and trim brim, then remove from Hat Shaper.
16. Apply any brim edging. Create and add inner sweatband. Decorate as
Wanda's Wide Brimmed Amish Dress Hat
tools I use are:
€ Wooden ribbed curtain rod as roller,
cut into 3 pieces; long, med. & hat crown height (KMart $7).
€ Wooden meat tenderizing mallet.
The points sort of 'needle-felt' and push the wool layers closer
€ Various sizes of 'travel' toiletry bottles in ribbed plastic.
These I fill with hot water and roll with. They are just the
right size for the inside
dent of the fedora crown and work great on curved areas,
as the plastic gives somewhat.