How to make felt slippers

Gallery Of How to make felt slippers

How to make felt slippers

This month writer and stylist Rachel O’Brien headed to the Fluff-a-torium in Dorking and learns how to make felt slippers with felt guru Gillian Harris, aka gilliangladrag ).

“The shoe repairer did look at me a little bit quizzically” says master Fluff-a-tier Gillian Harris, as she describes the time she took a pair of felted slippers to the shoe menders to be soled. Clearly not everyone is as well versed in the joys of felt as wool guru Gillian Harris .

Gillian has turned felt-making into an art form and her creations have graced the pages of many a magazine, while her felt-making kits are sold in John Lewis and Liberty, and her books have been translated into several languages and are sold around the world.

As a keen knitter myself, I’m used to working with wool but I had never tried making felt before, so this wet-felting workshop was to be a voyage of discovery for me. Not one to turn down a challenge I made my way to Dorking, home to Gilliangladrag’s Fluff-a-torium where I would be learning to make a pair of hand felted slippers.

A short walk from Dorking West train station, the Fluff-a-torium was easy to spot with its bright and quirky facade festooned with felted bunting.

How to make felt slippers

With shelves, stands and cabinets filled with balls of wool, ribbons, buttons and all manner of felt items, the interior was just as inviting as the exterior and I immediately felt abuzz with creative energy.

The felting workshop was to be held upstairs in Gillian’s studio and myself and the three other students eagerly eyed the collection of Gillian’s handmade slippers spread across the table, keen to get started.

After breaking the ice with a cup of tea and a chat, Gillian gave us a step-by-step demonstration and described the various styles that we could cut our finished slippers into – such as mules, booties or ballet pumps – and the options for soling them.

Handmade felt is made from sheep’s wool called wool tops or roving which has been cleaned and combed. To make felt, the wool fleece must first be rubbed with soap and water so that the fibres begin to join.

The material is then ‘fulled’ – a process which shrinks and hardens the wool to make it thicker. By the end of the day we would all leave the Fluff-a-torium with a pair of shoe lasts covered in wool fleece to full in our washing machines, then shape and decorate at home.

How to make felt slippers

To make our slippers we first needed to cover the polystyrene shoe lasts with three layers of wool fleece. Spoilt for choice, I finally settled upon lilac for the first layer, fawn for the second and a dark purple for the outer.

Laying one of my shoe lasts on its side, I started teasing out strands of lilac wool fleece and laying it on top. With a piece of polyester netting covering the last, I sprayed it with soapy water and rubbed until the wool was firmly in place.

I continued the layering process until the last was completely covered and resembled a ‘bearskin’ as Gillian described it. We repeated this for the other shoe last and for our second layer, before taking a much needed break for lunch.

After lunch we added our third and final layer of wool fleece. As we would be applying our designs on top of this, we only rubbed the wool fleece gently this time.

Once our designs were in place we would then rub firmly for around 10 to 20 minutes. This is to ensure the fleece and any decorative felt we had added was secure.

How to make felt slippers

Watching Gillian, who had been working on a pair of felted slippers throughout the day, effortlessly create a simple floral motif around her wool topped shoe lasts, I opted for a similar design.

Using oddments of wool fleece in complementing colours I created five or six roses around each last and then applied soapy water and rubbed until they were in place.

Throughout the day the atmosphere was very relaxed. Gillian also demonstrated how to make needle-felted roses to decorate the slippers so that we could make them ourselves at home if we wanted.

Back home, I continued to apply soapy water and rub my shoe lasts until the wool fleece was firm. Apprehensive, I put both lasts into the washing machine along with a pair of old jeans to add friction.

With the slippers rattling around I was quite worried about how they would turn out. However I followed Gillian’s guidelines and kept them in for a second wash and spin to toughen them even more. With the wool now fulled, I carefully cut out the slipper shape and removed the polystyrene moulds. Now it’s time to allow the slippers to dry out.

How to make felt slippers

Gillian showed us how easy it is to make felted wool roses and flowers to decorate our slippers if we wanted to. I decided to keep mine simple, but if you feel like adding a felt rose, it’s really easy. Just cut a length of felt in your chosen colour and then wind around, starting with a tight wind at the beginning and then loosening out the outer ‘petals’ as you go. Hold the base tightly as you go and secure with a few stitches underneath. Then simply stitch on to your finished slippers.

The result is a beautiful pair of cosy lilac slippers with pretty rosebuds. They are perfect for warming my toes in front of the fire this Christmas.

This one day course is ideal for anyone wanting to try their hand at something a little bit different. The making process is quite unusual and the finished product is truly unique.

Alongside felted slipper workshops you can also learn how to make felted bags, jewellery, hats and pictures. All I have left to do now is have my slippers soled. I think I’ll brave my local shoe menders… I wonder how he will react?

Now I’ve had a go at making my first pair of felt slippers, I’m looking for inspiration and ideas for my next pair…! What do you think of these ideas I’ve found? I reckon they are all do-able following the same basic technique with a few moderations here and there – which would be part of the creative fun.

How to make felt slippers

I love the combination of rich brown and soft blush pink roses here. The slippers follow the same technique as the pair I’ve already made, though I’d cut away a little more around the top this time. I fancy having a go at making the rosettes of pink felted wood roses by too…

Also love her grey and red version don’t you?

Also really like her polka dot design – suspect I could try making these the same way I added the flowers to the pair I made…

This birds on the wire design is really beautiful, but beyond my skills right now. I am thinking about joining one of Emma Herian’s felting workshops ) so I could take on more ambitious projects like this…

This simple, undecorated pair made by are just as beautiful in their way – partly because of their bright red colour

How to make felt slippers

This amazingly detailed slippers by KoTriangle are a touch over the top for me as they are , but I do like the idea of adding a poppy to bright red slippers lined in a contrasting colour.

Back to simple grey wool slipper with a rose flower decoration and lined in the same beautiful soft red/coral pink colour by t on etsy.

And I do really love the clog shape of these by on etsy…. I’m on the hunt for a clog-shaped shoe last now.

And the restrained, understated style of this pair by on etsy really appeal to me.

Other MAKE ideas you might like to try

How to make felt slippers

Easy step by steps with fibre artist Emma Herian – perfect for trying your hand at this wonderfully creative craft, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Join foraged and sustainable plant dye expert Flora Arbuthnott in the workshop for easy step by steps to using organic indigo dye and creating shibori patterns.

The simplest of DIY projects – how to sew a simple and pretty skirt in minutes with easy step by steps and ideas for skirts to try…

---------------------------------------------------------------

Get all the info you need to connect with gilliangladrag from the

How to make felt slippers

Feeling inspired? Take a look at the category in our , where you’ll find a variety of inspiring courses, from to , , and .

Gillian is the author of felting books: and

Rachel O’Brien is a freelance writer and stylist. All images courtesy of Rachel O’Brien.

If you run a creative course you think our readers would be interested in reading about, do get in touch. Email us at

---------------------------------------------------------------

How to make felt slippers

Felt Gasket October 13, 2016 at 9:12 am

Thank you – glad you liked the post. Have you made a pair of slippers?

Cathie January 1, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Oh how I wish I still lived in Britain! Would love to try this but no idea where to find the shoe lasts…

Gillian Gladrag herself sold shoe lasts last time I looked…. hope you find some and would love to see the finished result!

How to make felt slippers

Susan Miller February 10, 2019 at 8:16 pm

I bought a pair of felted slippers when we visited Estonia a few years ago. I would love to have another pair – maybe I should try making my own!

Definitely have a go at making a pair – it’s fun and easier than you might think!

Nancy Coyle April 20, 2019 at 12:06 am

What kind of shoes should I use for molding the slippers ?

How to make felt slippers

Hello and welcome! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Laura and From Britain with Love is my business and my passion! An ex national magazine editor, I am passionate about using my experience to help promote the UK's best ethical makers, producers and creative workshops. To help make a difference. Browse our DIRECTORY to source hand-picked craftspeople, ethical producers and creative courses around the British Isles. Read our DISCOVER, MAKE and MEET blog features to find inspiration and creative ideas. Our intention: 1) to support ethical producers & creatives so they can make a living from doing what they love. 2) To make it easy for our followers, readers and subscribers to source carefully curated ethical goods direct from the maker. All beautifully made in Britain. We've created a growing community that really cares. It's about buying less, but buying better. Treading lightly on the planet we all share. Supporting one another in our creativity. Together we really can be the change we wish to see in the world. Laura X

Leave this field empty if you’re human:

discover the inspiring places and spaces we share on Instagram

© Copyright From Britain with Love 2019

We won’t bombard you with emails, but do sign up for our newsletter if you would like to hear from us from time to time.

How to make felt slippers

We will share all our latest loves and inspirations so you can discover ethical UK makers & creative finds too… X

Leave this field empty if you're human:

This month writer and stylist Rachel O’Brien headed to the Fluff-a-torium in Dorking and learns how to make felt slippers with felt guru Gillian Harris, aka gilliangladrag ).

“The shoe repairer did look at me a little bit quizzically” says master Fluff-a-tier Gillian Harris, as she describes the time she took a pair of felted slippers to the shoe menders to be soled. Clearly not everyone is as well versed in the joys of felt as wool guru Gillian Harris .

How to make felt slippers

Gillian has turned felt-making into an art form and her creations have graced the pages of many a magazine, while her felt-making kits are sold in John Lewis and Liberty, and her books have been translated into several languages and are sold around the world.

As a keen knitter myself, I’m used to working with wool but I had never tried making felt before, so this wet-felting workshop was to be a voyage of discovery for me. Not one to turn down a challenge I made my way to Dorking, home to Gilliangladrag’s Fluff-a-torium where I would be learning to make a pair of hand felted slippers.

A short walk from Dorking West train station, the Fluff-a-torium was easy to spot with its bright and quirky facade festooned with felted bunting.

With shelves, stands and cabinets filled with balls of wool, ribbons, buttons and all manner of felt items, the interior was just as inviting as the exterior and I immediately felt abuzz with creative energy.

The felting workshop was to be held upstairs in Gillian’s studio and myself and the three other students eagerly eyed the collection of Gillian’s handmade slippers spread across the table, keen to get started.

How to make felt slippers

After breaking the ice with a cup of tea and a chat, Gillian gave us a step-by-step demonstration and described the various styles that we could cut our finished slippers into – such as mules, booties or ballet pumps – and the options for soling them.

Handmade felt is made from sheep’s wool called wool tops or roving which has been cleaned and combed. To make felt, the wool fleece must first be rubbed with soap and water so that the fibres begin to join.

The material is then ‘fulled’ – a process which shrinks and hardens the wool to make it thicker. By the end of the day we would all leave the Fluff-a-torium with a pair of shoe lasts covered in wool fleece to full in our washing machines, then shape and decorate at home.

To make our slippers we first needed to cover the polystyrene shoe lasts with three layers of wool fleece. Spoilt for choice, I finally settled upon lilac for the first layer, fawn for the second and a dark purple for the outer.

Laying one of my shoe lasts on its side, I started teasing out strands of lilac wool fleece and laying it on top. With a piece of polyester netting covering the last, I sprayed it with soapy water and rubbed until the wool was firmly in place.

How to make felt slippers

I continued the layering process until the last was completely covered and resembled a ‘bearskin’ as Gillian described it. We repeated this for the other shoe last and for our second layer, before taking a much needed break for lunch.

After lunch we added our third and final layer of wool fleece. As we would be applying our designs on top of this, we only rubbed the wool fleece gently this time.

Once our designs were in place we would then rub firmly for around 10 to 20 minutes. This is to ensure the fleece and any decorative felt we had added was secure.

Watching Gillian, who had been working on a pair of felted slippers throughout the day, effortlessly create a simple floral motif around her wool topped shoe lasts, I opted for a similar design.

Using oddments of wool fleece in complementing colours I created five or six roses around each last and then applied soapy water and rubbed until they were in place.

How to make felt slippers

Throughout the day the atmosphere was very relaxed. Gillian also demonstrated how to make needle-felted roses to decorate the slippers so that we could make them ourselves at home if we wanted.

Back home, I continued to apply soapy water and rub my shoe lasts until the wool fleece was firm. Apprehensive, I put both lasts into the washing machine along with a pair of old jeans to add friction.

With the slippers rattling around I was quite worried about how they would turn out. However I followed Gillian’s guidelines and kept them in for a second wash and spin to toughen them even more. With the wool now fulled, I carefully cut out the slipper shape and removed the polystyrene moulds. Now it’s time to allow the slippers to dry out.

Gillian showed us how easy it is to make felted wool roses and flowers to decorate our slippers if we wanted to. I decided to keep mine simple, but if you feel like adding a felt rose, it’s really easy. Just cut a length of felt in your chosen colour and then wind around, starting with a tight wind at the beginning and then loosening out the outer ‘petals’ as you go. Hold the base tightly as you go and secure with a few stitches underneath. Then simply stitch on to your finished slippers.

The result is a beautiful pair of cosy lilac slippers with pretty rosebuds. They are perfect for warming my toes in front of the fire this Christmas.

How to make felt slippers

This one day course is ideal for anyone wanting to try their hand at something a little bit different. The making process is quite unusual and the finished product is truly unique.

Alongside felted slipper workshops you can also learn how to make felted bags, jewellery, hats and pictures. All I have left to do now is have my slippers soled. I think I’ll brave my local shoe menders… I wonder how he will react?

Now I’ve had a go at making my first pair of felt slippers, I’m looking for inspiration and ideas for my next pair…! What do you think of these ideas I’ve found? I reckon they are all do-able following the same basic technique with a few moderations here and there – which would be part of the creative fun.

I love the combination of rich brown and soft blush pink roses here. The slippers follow the same technique as the pair I’ve already made, though I’d cut away a little more around the top this time. I fancy having a go at making the rosettes of pink felted wood roses by too…

Also love her grey and red version don’t you?

How to make felt slippers

Also really like her polka dot design – suspect I could try making these the same way I added the flowers to the pair I made…

This birds on the wire design is really beautiful, but beyond my skills right now. I am thinking about joining one of Emma Herian’s felting workshops ) so I could take on more ambitious projects like this…

This simple, undecorated pair made by are just as beautiful in their way – partly because of their bright red colour

This amazingly detailed slippers by KoTriangle are a touch over the top for me as they are , but I do like the idea of adding a poppy to bright red slippers lined in a contrasting colour.

Back to simple grey wool slipper with a rose flower decoration and lined in the same beautiful soft red/coral pink colour by t on etsy.

How to make felt slippers

And I do really love the clog shape of these by on etsy…. I’m on the hunt for a clog-shaped shoe last now.

And the restrained, understated style of this pair by on etsy really appeal to me.

Other MAKE ideas you might like to try

Easy step by steps with fibre artist Emma Herian – perfect for trying your hand at this wonderfully creative craft, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Join foraged and sustainable plant dye expert Flora Arbuthnott in the workshop for easy step by steps to using organic indigo dye and creating shibori patterns.

How to make felt slippers

The simplest of DIY projects – how to sew a simple and pretty skirt in minutes with easy step by steps and ideas for skirts to try…

---------------------------------------------------------------

Get all the info you need to connect with gilliangladrag from the

Feeling inspired? Take a look at the category in our , where you’ll find a variety of inspiring courses, from to , , and .

Gillian is the author of felting books: and

How to make felt slippers

Rachel O’Brien is a freelance writer and stylist. All images courtesy of Rachel O’Brien.

If you run a creative course you think our readers would be interested in reading about, do get in touch. Email us at

---------------------------------------------------------------

Felt Gasket October 13, 2016 at 9:12 am

Thank you – glad you liked the post. Have you made a pair of slippers?

How to make felt slippers

Cathie January 1, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Oh how I wish I still lived in Britain! Would love to try this but no idea where to find the shoe lasts…

Gillian Gladrag herself sold shoe lasts last time I looked…. hope you find some and would love to see the finished result!

Susan Miller February 10, 2019 at 8:16 pm

I bought a pair of felted slippers when we visited Estonia a few years ago. I would love to have another pair – maybe I should try making my own!

How to make felt slippers

Definitely have a go at making a pair – it’s fun and easier than you might think!

Nancy Coyle April 20, 2019 at 12:06 am

What kind of shoes should I use for molding the slippers ?

Hello and welcome! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Laura and From Britain with Love is my business and my passion! An ex national magazine editor, I am passionate about using my experience to help promote the UK's best ethical makers, producers and creative workshops. To help make a difference. Browse our DIRECTORY to source hand-picked craftspeople, ethical producers and creative courses around the British Isles. Read our DISCOVER, MAKE and MEET blog features to find inspiration and creative ideas. Our intention: 1) to support ethical producers & creatives so they can make a living from doing what they love. 2) To make it easy for our followers, readers and subscribers to source carefully curated ethical goods direct from the maker. All beautifully made in Britain. We've created a growing community that really cares. It's about buying less, but buying better. Treading lightly on the planet we all share. Supporting one another in our creativity. Together we really can be the change we wish to see in the world. Laura X

Leave this field empty if you’re human:

How to make felt slippers

discover the inspiring places and spaces we share on Instagram

© Copyright From Britain with Love 2019

We won’t bombard you with emails, but do sign up for our newsletter if you would like to hear from us from time to time.

We will share all our latest loves and inspirations so you can discover ethical UK makers & creative finds too… X

Leave this field empty if you're human:

How to make felt slippers

This month writer and stylist Rachel O’Brien headed to the Fluff-a-torium in Dorking and learns how to make felt slippers with felt guru Gillian Harris, aka gilliangladrag ).

“The shoe repairer did look at me a little bit quizzically” says master Fluff-a-tier Gillian Harris, as she describes the time she took a pair of felted slippers to the shoe menders to be soled. Clearly not everyone is as well versed in the joys of felt as wool guru Gillian Harris .

Gillian has turned felt-making into an art form and her creations have graced the pages of many a magazine, while her felt-making kits are sold in John Lewis and Liberty, and her books have been translated into several languages and are sold around the world.

As a keen knitter myself, I’m used to working with wool but I had never tried making felt before, so this wet-felting workshop was to be a voyage of discovery for me. Not one to turn down a challenge I made my way to Dorking, home to Gilliangladrag’s Fluff-a-torium where I would be learning to make a pair of hand felted slippers.

How to make felt slippers

A short walk from Dorking West train station, the Fluff-a-torium was easy to spot with its bright and quirky facade festooned with felted bunting.

With shelves, stands and cabinets filled with balls of wool, ribbons, buttons and all manner of felt items, the interior was just as inviting as the exterior and I immediately felt abuzz with creative energy.

The felting workshop was to be held upstairs in Gillian’s studio and myself and the three other students eagerly eyed the collection of Gillian’s handmade slippers spread across the table, keen to get started.

After breaking the ice with a cup of tea and a chat, Gillian gave us a step-by-step demonstration and described the various styles that we could cut our finished slippers into – such as mules, booties or ballet pumps – and the options for soling them.

Handmade felt is made from sheep’s wool called wool tops or roving which has been cleaned and combed. To make felt, the wool fleece must first be rubbed with soap and water so that the fibres begin to join.

How to make felt slippers

The material is then ‘fulled’ – a process which shrinks and hardens the wool to make it thicker. By the end of the day we would all leave the Fluff-a-torium with a pair of shoe lasts covered in wool fleece to full in our washing machines, then shape and decorate at home.

To make our slippers we first needed to cover the polystyrene shoe lasts with three layers of wool fleece. Spoilt for choice, I finally settled upon lilac for the first layer, fawn for the second and a dark purple for the outer.

Laying one of my shoe lasts on its side, I started teasing out strands of lilac wool fleece and laying it on top. With a piece of polyester netting covering the last, I sprayed it with soapy water and rubbed until the wool was firmly in place.

I continued the layering process until the last was completely covered and resembled a ‘bearskin’ as Gillian described it. We repeated this for the other shoe last and for our second layer, before taking a much needed break for lunch.

After lunch we added our third and final layer of wool fleece. As we would be applying our designs on top of this, we only rubbed the wool fleece gently this time.

How to make felt slippers

Once our designs were in place we would then rub firmly for around 10 to 20 minutes. This is to ensure the fleece and any decorative felt we had added was secure.

Watching Gillian, who had been working on a pair of felted slippers throughout the day, effortlessly create a simple floral motif around her wool topped shoe lasts, I opted for a similar design.

Using oddments of wool fleece in complementing colours I created five or six roses around each last and then applied soapy water and rubbed until they were in place.

Throughout the day the atmosphere was very relaxed. Gillian also demonstrated how to make needle-felted roses to decorate the slippers so that we could make them ourselves at home if we wanted.

Back home, I continued to apply soapy water and rub my shoe lasts until the wool fleece was firm. Apprehensive, I put both lasts into the washing machine along with a pair of old jeans to add friction.

How to make felt slippers

With the slippers rattling around I was quite worried about how they would turn out. However I followed Gillian’s guidelines and kept them in for a second wash and spin to toughen them even more. With the wool now fulled, I carefully cut out the slipper shape and removed the polystyrene moulds. Now it’s time to allow the slippers to dry out.

Gillian showed us how easy it is to make felted wool roses and flowers to decorate our slippers if we wanted to. I decided to keep mine simple, but if you feel like adding a felt rose, it’s really easy. Just cut a length of felt in your chosen colour and then wind around, starting with a tight wind at the beginning and then loosening out the outer ‘petals’ as you go. Hold the base tightly as you go and secure with a few stitches underneath. Then simply stitch on to your finished slippers.

The result is a beautiful pair of cosy lilac slippers with pretty rosebuds. They are perfect for warming my toes in front of the fire this Christmas.

This one day course is ideal for anyone wanting to try their hand at something a little bit different. The making process is quite unusual and the finished product is truly unique.

Alongside felted slipper workshops you can also learn how to make felted bags, jewellery, hats and pictures. All I have left to do now is have my slippers soled. I think I’ll brave my local shoe menders… I wonder how he will react?

How to make felt slippers

Now I’ve had a go at making my first pair of felt slippers, I’m looking for inspiration and ideas for my next pair…! What do you think of these ideas I’ve found? I reckon they are all do-able following the same basic technique with a few moderations here and there – which would be part of the creative fun.

I love the combination of rich brown and soft blush pink roses here. The slippers follow the same technique as the pair I’ve already made, though I’d cut away a little more around the top this time. I fancy having a go at making the rosettes of pink felted wood roses by too…

Also love her grey and red version don’t you?

Also really like her polka dot design – suspect I could try making these the same way I added the flowers to the pair I made…

This birds on the wire design is really beautiful, but beyond my skills right now. I am thinking about joining one of Emma Herian’s felting workshops ) so I could take on more ambitious projects like this…

How to make felt slippers

This simple, undecorated pair made by are just as beautiful in their way – partly because of their bright red colour

This amazingly detailed slippers by KoTriangle are a touch over the top for me as they are , but I do like the idea of adding a poppy to bright red slippers lined in a contrasting colour.

Back to simple grey wool slipper with a rose flower decoration and lined in the same beautiful soft red/coral pink colour by t on etsy.

And I do really love the clog shape of these by on etsy…. I’m on the hunt for a clog-shaped shoe last now.

And the restrained, understated style of this pair by on etsy really appeal to me.

How to make felt slippers

Other MAKE ideas you might like to try

Easy step by steps with fibre artist Emma Herian – perfect for trying your hand at this wonderfully creative craft, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Join foraged and sustainable plant dye expert Flora Arbuthnott in the workshop for easy step by steps to using organic indigo dye and creating shibori patterns.

The simplest of DIY projects – how to sew a simple and pretty skirt in minutes with easy step by steps and ideas for skirts to try…

---------------------------------------------------------------

How to make felt slippers

Get all the info you need to connect with gilliangladrag from the

Feeling inspired? Take a look at the category in our , where you’ll find a variety of inspiring courses, from to , , and .

Gillian is the author of felting books: and

Rachel O’Brien is a freelance writer and stylist. All images courtesy of Rachel O’Brien.

If you run a creative course you think our readers would be interested in reading about, do get in touch. Email us at

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