Monday, May 23, 2011

Blocking Felt on a Round Styrofoam Block

Behida Dohlic on Etsy

Last post I showed you how to carve a round hat block. I carved this block out of Stryofoam so that I could easily fold and pin shapes into the felt. Above and below are some professional milliner's inspirational photos where this technique could have been used.

Since this would be my first attempt at folding and pinning the felt, I chose a $5 hat I bought from Goodwill. After I removed the headband, feather and glue that was stuck to it, I had a lovely brown felt hood to block. (TIP: Rubbing alcohol on a QTip will remove glue)

Here's a complete list of the materials you will need to block:
  • Felt hood
  • Round Hat Block (styrofoam)
  • Straight Pins
  • Plastic bag
    (I use the ones from vegetable aisle or a leftover dry cleaner bag
  • Rubber band
  • Felt Stiffener spray

Get some hot water - enough to immerse your hood in. I used a steamer without the lid this time but often I just use hot water from the sink. I placed the hood into a bowl, added water and made sure all the felt was soaked.

Soaking the Hood
Step 2
Once the felt is wet you can let the extra water drip off and place it on your block. My hood already had the shape of a tight crown and brim. But after soaking it just slipped right onto my 23 inch round block.

Where's the Stryofoam block?
Step 3
Get creative! The felt is loose and you can finger press any shapes you like into the crown or brim. I decided I would create a pair of creases from the tip to the brim. Once I decided on the placement I placed pins deep into the crease so they would dry that way.

Creating the Shape
TIP: the closer the pin is to the crease, the less likely you are to see pin holes. But if that occurs, brush your felt with a wire or felt brush to smooth out.

Step 4
Let your hood dry for approximately 24 hours. You can see I finger pressed the brim into some shape,as well. And one of the benefits of using a recycled hat is that the brim was already finished with three rings of stitching so nothing else was needed.

Drying on the Block
Step 6
When your hat is dry you can either spray it with felt stiffener (see millinery supply) to set the shape or wet  and block again. I have sometimes used an acrylic art spray in the inside of the creases to add extra strength. 

Once you're happy with the shape you can trim however you like. My trimming isn't complete but here's a preview.

Left Side
Right Side



  1. Thank you, Lee! I need to add a shout out to your blog! Your posts are the best How-To's on the web!!!