Introduction: Felted Cat Fur Cat Hat
With the AZ summer heat, one of my family's cats started shedding a bunch since she still spends quite a bit of time outside on her catio watching lizards and quail foraging for food in our garden. I've always had a passing interest in felting, and hearing about people who felt little miniatures of their cats out of their cats' fur kinda planted a seed in the back of my mind. I figured now would be as good a time as any to grab a felting needle and give it a try, and what better thing to make than a little hat that matches my cat's fur?
This is a fairly simple project, so all you'll need is:
- One or more cats
- Cat brush
- Some cat treats (for luring them in for brushing and hat photoshoots)
- Felting needles*
- A pair of scissors
*Felting needles are different than sewing needle since they have little barbs for catching and tangling hairs, but they are readily available on Amazon or your local craft store.
Step 1: Collect Some Cat Fur
So, a quick note about the fur before you start collecting it. I discovered when making the hat that it's easiest to work with coarser fur. The finer the fur, the more difficult it will be to felt it and shape it.
So, to felt cat fur, you first needs some cats! For this project, I collected fur from:
- Lola (the serious tan cat)
- Duchess (the grey princess)
- Catsper (the orange gremlin)
I really only used fur from Lola since her fur was much more coarse than Catsper's and Duchess', and she had quite a bit more to shed than the others given her outside time.
For brushing, there's three main strategies if your cat isn't too keen about it:
- Sneak attack brushing where you catch them napping or relaxing and go in for a quick brush or two before they realize what's happening and run off
- Lure them in with treats
- Trap them in a box. With this method, you don't even need treats to lure them into the box, and you can even just set them in any open box they fit in since there's nothing they can do to escape
Lola is mostly a super chill cat, so it was actually pretty easy to brush her for a little bit every now and then. Catsper and Duchess, on the other hand, are a bit trickier to brush...
For a single little cat hat, you'll want to collect about a handful of fur.
Step 2: Start Felting
Felting, to oversimplify, is just about tangling up all the hairs so they won't easily separate on their own.
Remember my note about using coarse fur? I started by felting all the cat fur I had into a single ball, but it was really difficult working with fur from Catsper and Duchess since their fur was so much finer than Lola's. With the finer fur, it's harder to poke the felting needle in, and it's also much more difficult to separate when you're trying to pull the fur into different shapes. Still, it is entirely possible to felt with the finer fur, so go fur it if you either want a softer hat or you have the extra patience!
So, once you have your fur, start by wadding it into a ball and poking it with the felting needle. If you have several layers of fur from multiple brushings, you'll start to notice the layers clinging to each other more effectively. Keep rotating your fur ball and working it with the felting needle until it becomes a consistent furmness. I spent roughly an hour and a half on this part. You should have a ball a little bigger than a golf ball at this point, but if you don't just do some more brushing and work that new fur in the same way.
Once you have enough fur in the ball, pull out a small chunk roughly 1/8 of the total volume. This will give you some extra fur to work into thin areas and give you a starting point for shaping the hat. Start carefully pulling the edges of the dent away from the middle of the ball and out into a cone shape brim for the hat. Be careful not to pull the fur too thin, but if you do, don't worry! You can use some of the extra fur you set aside to reinforce the thin areas. As you are pulling the edges of the fur out further, work you way closer to the other end of the fur ball.
Once you've pulled the fur out to a cone about 3 inches in diameter, start flattening it against your work surface. My little cat hat's brim was about 4 inched in diameter, and the middle part of the hat was roughly 2.5 inches in diameter.
After you have your rudimentary hat shape, it's just a matter of working it a bit more with the felting needle to finalize the shape and adding fur in thin areas, so here's some pointers for that process. The shaping took me another hour and a half or so.
- Using the felting needle perpendicular to one of the hat's surfaces, it's easiest to hold the hat on the edge of your work table and poke the hat vertically just off the edge of the table with the felting needle. This will help prevent the needle from deforming your hat when those barbs are catching on the hairs and working their magic
- You can strengthen the edge of the brim by poking the felting needle into the edge of the brim towards the center of the hat. This helps clean up the edges a little and define the shape of the brim. BE SUPER CAREFUL IF YOU ARE HOLDING THE BRING WHILE DOING THIS. I poked myself a couple of times doing this, so go slow and be patient with this part
- For areas you pulled too thin, take some of the fur you set aside and pull it into a sheet about 1/4 inch larger than the area you want to reinforce on the hat. Lay the extra fur over the area and work the whole area with the felting needle, both from the top and from the bottom. This is great for flat areas on the brim of the hat, but I used this most for the corner where the brim curves up at the middle part of the hat.
- If parts of you brim are sticking out too far, carefully pull those areas off and add the fur to your spare pile. Be careful not to pull too much off, though.
- Forming can be really tedious, so be patient and keep at it!
After you're satisfied with the hat's shape, you can use some scissors to clean up the edges and any loose hair, curl the edge of the brim if you want, and you're finished!
Step 3: Photoshoot Time
Now that you've worked really hard to craft a new hat for your critters, it's time to show them how much you love them with a nice photoshoot in the kitchen!
I'm really convinced they loved the hat and felt super rewarded with just the opportunity to wear it, but I still gave them cat treats afterwards anyway since 60% of the time, they are good all the time!
Let me know in the comments who you thought wore it best, and be sure to share pictures of your glorious gremlins if you end up making them a hat like this!
Participated in the
Pets Speed Challenge