I've started a new pair of boots!
My template (blue) is made from craft foam sheets. Much more durable than cardboard! I tore some wool felt in a pattern large enough to cover both sides of the template. (Mistake 1: seams come out better if you do this as two pieces.)
Wet down the wool with hot soapy water where the template will go.
Now bring over the other half of the wool and wet it down.
Flip over and do the seams again as above.
Repeat entire process with a second layer of batting that has the fibers running the opposite direction.
Now it's time for serious felting! Cover with bubble wrap. Put a little soapy water on top of the bubble wrap and gently massage all over for 10 minutes. Flip it over and massage again for 10 minutes.
You can see all the little soapy impressions of my bubble wrap.
Hopefully now you've got more of a fabric and less of a pile of fiber. Pinch to test.
I ran out of fragrence free shampoo and switchted to Kiss My Face olive oil soap. It turned out to be much gentler on my skin, I think I'll stick with it.
This part is not as well done, you can see some loose fibers in the pinch.
Sorry, couldn't get pictures of cutting it open and flipping it inside out. It was hard enough without juggling a camera! Be careful not to stretch or tear the mouth of the boot or disturb the looser fiber inside while turning.
After turning, repeat the 10 minutes per side of pre-felting as above. After the inside passes pinch test, time to step up the aggressive outlet. (Mistake #2, might be good to turn back right side out now, it was like velcro inside later.) Lay bubble wrap above and below, and roll around a pool noodle. Roll around for 10 minutes.
Fold it differently and Roll again
Getting much tighter...
Rolling yet another way...
Next come my 3-D shaping helpers. The smaller tube is a bit larger than my foot, the larger tube is a bit larger than my calf.
You can see how much shrinking we have to do.
The felt is tight enough now that we don't need bubble wrap to protect the surface. Rolling more with the forms inside.
The felt is very stiff now.
Starting to look like a boot!