We made hats! A fun an easy project with fabulous results. Wrap a ball with wool. Wet it. Bounce it. Shape it and voila! Okay there’s a bit more to it than that. But we had complete hats in under 3 hours!
Here’s the gist:
You need a large batt of wool in the color of your choice.
A bouncy ball the size of a head, roughly.
2 Pantyhose. Yes! Pantyhose!
Water, preferably warm.
Cooling rack(you know, the type you put your hot cookies on)
Prop the ball on a bowl for stability. Slather in soap. Drape long strands of the wool from the top of the ball down. Draping past the bowl, even as far as the table. That’s layer one.
Now wrap wool around the ball in the other direction (45 degrees from first). Be sure to layer some on the top too.
That’s layer two.
Lastly repeat layer one. Trim the bottom edge to a straight-ish line.
Pantyhose time! Cut off the legs. You won’t need those. Here’s the tricky part. Stretch that hose over the whole
wooly mess. Flip the ball and wrap the second in the other direction. Pull snug and tie if you can.
Submerge your hosed hat into warm slightly soapy water. Lift out and pat the ball over the water to catch the major dripping. Plunk onto a towel and roll for a bit (10 minutes maybe). When it is no longer soppy wet, but damp instead, let the bouncing begin. Little bounces at first. More like a mini dribble. Turn as you dribble to get all sides of your hat. Dribble, dribble, dribble. For 20 min. About. Pull off nylons and remove ball.
You now have a floppy big hat. Place your hand inside the hat and rub it along the cooling rack for friction. This accelerates the felting. It also shrinks it in the direction you are rubbing. If it seems super long rub it up and down(top to bottom). If it is super wide rub it side to side. Keep popping on your head for size. When close, the shaping can begin.
Want it pointy? Poke your finger inside the top and pull from the bottom. Want a brim. Roll the bottom. Or stretch the bottom out flat for more of a cowboy look. Experiment. Keep popping it on your head! No need to be delicate. You can pull and stretch pretty hard.
Don’t like it later? Re-wet it and shape it again.