How to Felt a Cowboy Hat with Suri Alpaca Fiber

posted in: Fiber Tutorials, Wet Felting | 18

Suri alpaca fiber makes gorgeous felted hats. Suri fiber can be a bit tricky to felt as it is very slippery. For the best chance of success, I highly recommend using roving with at least 10% merino wool. Always patch test your fiber to make sure it felts well before attempting a larger project as fiber can vary from alpaca to alpaca.

Felting a hat can take 4-6 hours. We show this in 23 minutes. So please watch the video first and feel free to ask questions before starting! More resources will be posted- especially on resist pattern and where I got my supplies. Enjoy the video!

UPDATE: Here’s the resist pattern I use in this video and the rough size. Hope this helps. For a more complete pattern selection, please refer to the book “Fabulous Felt Hats:Dazzling Designs from Handmade Felt” by Chad Alice Hagen.

18 Responses

  1. Karen

    Hello – where do you get cowboy hat molds (plastic?) used in the video as well as the patterns used?

    • admin

      You can get hat molds at The pattern I used in this video is one I got from a class long time ago. I will try to post a short video on the size/shape of the one I used. But in the mean time, there are many good patterns in a book titled “Fabulous Felt Hats: Dazzling Designs from Handmade Felt” by Chad Alice Hagen. Thanks for asking!

  2. Pinky

    Amazing! Beautiful work! I think your step by step instructions were great! Thx!

    • admin

      Thanks so much for your supportive positive comment! I really appreciate it 😉

  3. Leticia Botello

    Great video instructions, I would like to buy all the material to make my own hat, please I need the price …thank you so much..

    • admin

      Hi Leticia!
      Thank you 😉 I get my hat molds from The hat molds are about $30. I buy my wires for the brim from I usually just google Confectioners Glaze (this is for the hat stiffener) and get that at whichever store has it for the best price. As for fiber, if you haven’t felted much before, I suggest you use a crimpy wool or a blend that felts well. You can find a lot of cool fibers that felt easily at Etsy for $3-4 an ounce. If you really want to felt a Suri alpaca hat, I can create a custom blend that will felt more easily than 100% Suri. Please feel free to use the contact form and I can give you more details on fiber price and/or any further information you’d like to know. Thanks for asking!

  4. Deborah

    Great tutorial!! I’ve watched it a few times and I learn more each time. I happened to get the Chad Alice Hagen book from the library and was thrilled to follow along with your video again while I actually made a hat (used merino as first time making a hat) I don’t have a hat shaper so it won’t turn out as nice but sure had fun. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Deborah from Vancouver Island

    • admin

      Thanks so much, Deborah! Glad you found it helpful 🙂 Have a beautiful day!

  5. Maria

    I like your video, but I would like to know the hat stiffener. It was not readable on the picture. Where can I buy it. Does not effect to the shape or if the weather moist?
    Thank you.

    • admin

      Hi Maria,
      Thank you! I use confectioner’s glaze (purchased online from baking supplies store) diluted with rubbing alcohol to thin it out. Confectioner’s glaze is shellac. There is more info online on shellac, so you may want to check into it more. I like confectioner’s glaze because it is ready to use and easy to get. It will stiffen it, so I apply diluted shellac a little at a time and wait to see how hard it gets before applying more layers. Some people use it only on the inside of the crown. You can adjust the stiffness by how much you apply. Make sure not to use expired ones though. Been there done that by accident… and it was not a good situation. As for getting my hats wet… I haven’t wanted to do that, so I don’t know. But I should test one… Good luck! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  6. Brenda Burns

    Great video that answers various questions although I’d love to know the ratio of Confectioner’s Sugar to alcohol for the stiffener and which percentage of alcohol.

    Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC

    • admin

      Hi Brenda,
      Thanks! I use rubbing alcohol and try to get the 90% one. But if all I find is the 70%, I use that as well. I never measure exactly- but it’s pretty dilute. So start with maybe 1:10 Confectioner’s glaze (shellac- not sugar 🙂 to alcohol. Apply once- and after it dries, if not stiff enough, do another coat of it. It’s easier to add the shellac vs try to take it out after application. You can always adjust the ratio but I think it’s about 10-20% shellac in the form of Confectioner’s glaze to alcohol. Make sure it’s a fresh bottle and not expired or you’ll have a sticky mess on your hands 🙂 Good luck!

  7. Brenda Burns

    The confectioner’s glaze has been helpful although I may add more alcohol to it. Thanks for the info!

    Which cowboy hat shaper have you used and did you order the add a brim? I have various hat shaper molds but only one with add a brim. Thoughts about best hat shaper for cowboy hat?

    Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC

    • admin

      Hi Brenda,
      I used the Classy Western as well as the Texan style cowboy hat molds 🙂 I added a brim to all of mine. It makes it a lot easier. Thought on best cowboy hat mold…think personal preference, but I like the Classy Western the most. Have a Happy New Year!


  8. chris

    How do you make a resist with taking into account the brim? I have a resist, and I’ve ruined 3 hats already. Either they aren’t felted enough, or I can’t get the layers to blend near at the hat band, or the fibers end up flaking off. This is just not that easy. And before I waste any more wool I want to make sure that I have this resist pattern correct. I know the resist mold is longer on the hat than it is wide, so rather than measuring ear to ear should I be measuring from front to back? Its a 2 inch difference that I KNOW will matter when I am trying to stretch it on to the mold. Help?

    • admin

      Hi Chris,
      I hear your frustration. I’ve had a bunch of flops myself. So hopefully I can give you some tips that have helped me. As for the resist pattern, I’ve used ones from the Fabulous Felt Hat by Chad Alice Hagen and made the smaller hats first to gauge proper size and adjust as needed. I usually just extend the curve and lengthen. The brim area is one of the hardest to felt properly and I’ve ended up with holes or flimsy uneven brims. I have to pay extra attention and felt as evenly as possible towards the brim area. You can always add fiber by needle felting after the hat dries. Also- the hat stiffner does wonders along with a hat band and wire. What fiber are you using? Sometimes the fiber really makes a difference in how everything comes together. Good luck!