Several people have asked me about what shape resists I use when making hats or vessels. A resist is used in felting to make three dimensional objects from a flat pattern. The resist can be anything flat that will keep the two sides of felt from felting together, i.e. it “resists” the felting process. I usually use a thin foam as it is waterproof, inexpensive and can be used over and over again. The resist shown above is from floor underlayment. That is the stuff that is used under laminate flooring. It comes in huge rolls so unless you’re making large patterns for things such as clothing, you might want to use a craft foam or recycled packing materials. You can also use bubble wrap, plastic, cardboard or anything that will hold up to the felting process. The resist above made the orange hat in the next photo. The hat block shown in the middle gives you the idea of how much shrinkage occurred. I used merino with a shrinkage of about 30%. But if you’re going to be adding lots of folds in the felt, that takes lots of extra room in your original pattern.
For this hat, I wanted to have random folds but it could have been finished different ways. That is the fun thing about using a resist with lots of extra room in it. You can make small, subtle changes in the shaping of the hat and you’ll get a completely different look. This hat could have had uniform folds done concentrically and it would look like a completely different hat.
This hat is made from a Stratta batt from New England Felting Supply. It felts very easily and is a quick and easy lay out as you don’t have to pull the wool all apart, just tear it to shape and you’re ready to go.
Here is the resist used for the Iris flower vessel shown below. I leave the top open so the edge is uneven, given it a more organic look. You could cover the entire resist with wool, cut it open and then have a straighter edge on the top of the vessel if that was the look that you wanted.
I made this vase for my sister as she loves iris. It is made with a variety of wool and silk.
This is the basic shape I use for making slippers. The resist shown here was for my husband’s slippers and I didn’t make as a big a cuff for him. The cuff is the connecting part between the two slippers. The more space in between the two foot shapes, the longer the cuff is. Or you could make it really long and make boots. Just remember to make them wide enough to get your feet in and out. You can see I’ve taped this resist back together again with duct tape. You cut the two slippers apart after you’ve gotten to the soft felt stage to remove the resist. But you can use the resist again, you just have to retape it each time.
Here are slippers made on a similar shape resist. I don’t wear these because they ended up just slightly too small. I’m going to need to make a new pair soon!
This is an experimental resist shape. If I was going to make this again, I would not leave the edges so pointy. Any pointy edge or really sharp angle is hard to cover in wool. I have found that the best resist is the most simple one. Just make the resist bigger for extra room if you want folds.
Here is the resultant felt vessel from the resist shape above. It’s kind of odd, isn’t it?
This is a vessel resist covered with wool and wet down. I used this same shape resist to make both of the vessels below. This shows that you can use the same shape resist but come up with a very different end product.
This taller vessel was made by stitching ridges lengthwise and then felting them together. You can see the thread at the top before it was removed. This formed a tall and slender vessel.
This vessel was made from the same resist as the tall vessel. However, I made concentric folds around the shape to make a short and squatty vessel.
As you can see, almost any shape can be used to make felt. The fun thing is that even if the same shape resist is used, the final shaping of the felt can change the end result. What shape resists do you use when felting? Or perhaps you haven’t tried felting with a resist? Give it a try and let us know how it worked out for you!