17 March 2014

How to Make Felted Shoes:Fulling

The second part of making felted shoes is a process called fulling. Currently, your shoes are just sort of matted down and tangled, but it still needs to be fully felted so that it becomes one solid material.

To do this, you will first need to remove the plastic pattern piece for inside the wool layers. To do this, cut a small hole in the wool as pictured below. Make it smaller than you think you will need, because while the rest of the pattern will shrink to the size of your foot, the hole seems to stay the same size.

Flatten the wool to the size and carefully roll up in your netting material. Then, using firm pressure, roll back and forth about 20-30 times. Unroll, reposition wool in a different position, and repeat. Alternatively, you can roll the shoes up in bubble wrap or a bamboo mat like THIS one.

Add water and more soap if necessary. It should be squeezing out some suds each time you roll it, this especially at the beginning. Each time you change position, pull the interior apart as pictured below to make sure you do not stick the insides together. To do this, simply put your hand into the shoe as you change position.

Continue doing this until the shoes are fully felted, or the same size as your shoe lasts. When they become small enough, slip onto the lasts. They should fit snugly. This process should take a long time, I think it took me about 3-4 hours. I guess if you are good at it and know what you are doing, it takes an hour.

Be sure to rinse out all the soap in your shoes. Run them under cold water, or rinse in several baths of cool water until suds no longer come out of them.

If you started with white wool like I did, you may want to dye them a different color. Here is a tutorial on how to do this!

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