All you need is wool, water and soap!

Taken from Arlene’s Adventures In Felt and definitely worth reading.

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Wool

Firstly, you need wool.  The wool will be dependent on what you will be making.  I first started wet felting vessels.  With vessels, the type of wool is not so important as long as it felts and you are not overly concerned with your outcome.  Making vessels is a good way to learn how to wet felt and learn about wool.  You want a strong felt for vessels.  When making wearables, you will want a good quality, soft wool.  Most people use merino.  There are different weights of merino. To simplify it, there is merino that is readily available in a heavier weight and superfine merino.  The weights vary according to retailer.  The lower the number of microns, the finer the merino is.  You can make a very nice, soft felted scarf with a higher number of microns, but it will be even softer if the micron is lower.  I have made lovely scarves with 23 mic merino as that is what I have.  It depends on how you lay it out.  Fancy fibers like silk are nice, but not essential to make a pretty scarf.  I personally like sari silk as there are a lot of threads in there and they make a nice texture.  I think that is enough about wool and fibers.  You need wool to make felt.  That’s really it.

Water

Secondly, you need water.  Water is essential in felt making.  I used to use warm or hot water to start the process in the wetting out, but it doesn’t matter if it is cold and I only use cold for nuno felting to start.  If you are not careful, you can end up using a lot of water in the felt making process.  I try to be as economical as possible with water.  My rinsing water is put on the garden or in the watering can I use for washing the dog wee off of the patio.  Some of it even goes back into the water butt, except for the vinegar water as vinegar kills plants.  I put that on the weeds in the patio too.  I use large bowls or the washing up bowl to contain the water so it doesn’t all go down the drain.  Some people even use rain water to make felt.  What ever clean water is useful.

The water needs to be contained in some way and dispersed.  This is what I use.

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It is good to recycle whatever you can.  Early Feltmakers did not have fancy tools and equipment.  They used what they had.

A.  I have a spray bottle filled with clean water.  It gives a fine spray and is useful for spot wetting or laying a fine mist on your wool or decorative fibers to hold them down a little so they don’t fly away.

B.  A plastic jug I got from the pound store.  It fits the microwave so I can heat up water.  I use it a lot.  I will also squeeze excess water back into it and re-use it.  You can also use any large bowl you have.

C.  A milk container.  I poked some holes in the top to use as a sprinkler.  I use this a lot especially when nuno felting.  This won’t fit in my microwave because it is too tall. As the plastic is thin, it is not suitable for holding very hot water.  If I have any water left over, I will store it here for re-use.  You can use any plastic bottle and put holes in the lid.  I will eventually replace this with another one as the plastic will get distorted.  I do not drink soft drinks or use any plastic bottles except for milk although it is difficult to avoid plastic, so to re-use them if possible is good.  At least it can be recycled.

D.  A ball brause sprinkler.  Do you need it?  No.  A recycled plastic or glass bottle is fine.  Would you want it?  Probably.  It is a very cool tool.  I ordered one from the UK and one from Italy with a wool order.  They are not cheap.  These were initially used for watering Bonsai plants.  They do wet out nice and evenly.  Do not spend money on one of these when first starting out as you may decide wet felting is not for you.  I got mine because I had an extra discount which brought the price down.

Soap

You need to add soap to your water.  I think you need soap as a lubricant as most of the wool has been washed and the lanolin has been removed.  I have seen felt being made from unwashed wool where no soap has been used.  In any event, the soap helps the fibers bind together, thereby making the felting process a bit easier.  The type of soap used is a personal choice.  Use what you have if you don’t want to spend money on a special soap – especially if you are just starting out.  Many people use olive oil soap.  Olive oil soap does not lather as much as other soaps and is easy to rinse out.  It is also kind to your hands.  It is probably one of the most natural soaps you can buy.  You can buy a large bar of it for not a lot of money from Wingham Wool Works.  I buy two large bars at a time when placing a wool order since I have to pay postage anyway.  I pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds to soften it a bit and cut a slice off.  I have seen the same soap sold elsewhere for a lot more money.  Shop around.

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I also use washing up liquid as above.  It has no perfume or color.  I just use a little, sometimes on my hands when doing some rubbing or fulling.  The bottle above is actually quite full of water as we had run out of washing up liquid to doing the actual washing up.  I will use every last drop of it.  When the bottle is empty, it will make a good container for wetting out.  I should mention that when I need fresh water for my felting, I will get the olive slice and put it in the jug.  I then fill the jug half way with hot water from the kettle and top it up with cold water.  The water will still be very hot.  This helps with my soap solution for felting.  Some people prefer to rub the soap on the netting after it is wet out.   There are other ways of making a soap solution.  For me, it doesn’t matter as I will pull out the soap bar once the water has cooled down and will use it if my piece is not soapy enough.  You don’t want too much soap, but you need enough to be able to slide your hands over the wool easily.

Once you have wetted out your wool, you will need to rub it.  However, to make that easier for you, it is a good idea to cover the wet wool with a net of some sort.  I found some net material from the charity shop that works for me.  I also have some tulle.  Some people use old net curtains, or just clear plastic.  To help disperse the water, after using my hands, I also use a sponge.  It sucks up excess water and disperses it into area that need more.  Sponges are inexpensive and you can pick up netting cheaply at charity shops if you haven’t got any at home.

Friction

Thirdly, you need friction.  This is where people will try and sell you things.  There are so many expensive tools you can buy, most of which you don’t need.  The felting and fulling process require friction of some kind.  There will be rubbing and rolling.  You will not be able to avoid it.  Some tools actually help with this process, but you don’t need to spend a fortune if you can find things in your kitchen cupboard or at the DIY store.

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Here is some of what I use.

A.  A bamboo mat.  This type of mat is excellent for making ropes for bags, etc.  I only bought this recently when I went to George Weil.  If you can find an old bamboo blind or mat from the charity shop, that would be great.  I have never been able to and I don’t live near Ikea.  This one wasn’t too expensive.

B.  Pipe insulation.  This comes in a variety of lengths and widths.  We had some leftover from a project.  It is very useful as a roller.  You can also use a pool noodle, but I think this is cheaper.  I have this one and a longer one for wide scarves.  These are relatively soft and gentle on your make.

C.  Ridged Roller.  Do you need this?  Probably not.  This is a specialist tool I purchased from Wingham Wool Works.  I think it was about £11.  The center moves independently from the handles.  I have used this to get a nice hard felt on some hats and vessels.  You can get more expensive versions of this from other places.

D.  Rolling pin.  I purchased this from Poundland, for £1.  I use this for my small makes.  The handles are also very good for spot rolling and getting into crevices.  Although I already have a rolling pin, which I have used for felting, I like to keep my food things separate from my felting things.  I bought a little rolling pin because I liked using the thinner roller.  You can also use plastic rolling pins.

E.  Bamboo mat.  I couldn’t find the smaller sushi mats like the big one above, so I bought a set of these very cheap.  The bamboo is flat instead of round.  They are good for felting small items and can be used around the pipe insulation or a rolling pin if you need to get a nice hard felt.

F.  Fulling tool.  Do you need one of these?  Probably not.  I got this as a gift when I ordered some silk online from an Etsy shop.  It is hand made.  I love this tool.  It fits my hand perfectly and the shape makes it easy to get into corners.  I love it for hats.  If you could get one similar as a reasonable price, I would recommend getting one or similar.

G.  Fulling tool.  Do you need one of these?  Probably not.  I purchased this from Wingham Wool Works.  I had the hubs sand it down as the edges were a bit rough and sharp.  I haven’t really used it as it catches on the netting.  I need to sand it down some more.  It is like a mini wash board.  Speaking of which, some people use wash boards.  I looked at them online and they can be quite dear.

Bubble wrap.  Bubble wrap cannot be recycled.  However, it is good to use for your wet felting.  The bubbles help with friction and you can use it as a rubbing tool if you scrunch it up in your hands or gently rub your piece on the bubbles.  Do not throw it out if you can help it.  It is still good if any bubbles pop as plastic is a useful resource for your felting needs as it can also protect your work surface.  You can also re-use it for packaging.  Sometimes I wrap my little fulling tool in bubble wrap if I need to full something gently.

Not shown, but something I feel is essential for me is a sander.  Yes, I sand my felt.  It is not a new thing according to some of the books I have.  However, you can thank the Russian felters for making it a thing.  It saves so much time rubbing.  The friction and heat of the machine really help with the process, especially with nuno felting.  I have a very basic flat sander I got from Screw-Fix.  You need a vacuum to help it suck up dust, so no need to fill in holes.  I think my sander cost £15.  My husband chose it for me.

People will have their favorite bits of kit.  I am showing what I have.  When you first start something you want to get everything.  Suppliers will sell you anything, even bubble wrap!  As I said, retailers need to make money.  I sometimes use a paint tray I bought from Poundland.  I use it for small vessels as it contains the water and the ridges are great for fulling.  Do I need it?  No!  I like it because I heard that it could be a good thing and I keep it because it works for me and it only cost £1.  It also doesn’t take up too much room, so I can use it on the dining table.

So, what do you use for felting that you can’t live without or that you just found in your house?


Follow Arlene’s Adventures in Felting on WordPress

Five Great ideas to use up your Felt Stash

What can you do with all those little bits of fluff and fibre left over from your finished project?

Don’t throw them away!

Store them in safe and dry place and wait for inspiration in your isolation…

Felt Balls

You can turn the smaller ones into jewellery, like bracelets, brooches and earrings.

Felt a Caterpillar

Roll up a number of larger felt balls, add a head with eyes et voilà, Monsieur Caterpillar est né ! Well, you know what I mean!

Felt Notebook Cover

A lovely gift for someone or added impetus for your own journal writing and recording.

An example by textile artist Angela Barrow.

Felt a Needle pad or Pin Cushion

A cheerful and practical way to collect together all those stray needles and pins. Link it through to the Searcher’s singing Needles and Pins-za!

Sew on missing buttons, mend a loose hem or re-purpose an old pair of jeans into shorts.

Felt a Coaster or Tea Pot Stand

Wet felt a coaster to protect your polished surfaces out of a mélange of mixed fibres. Felt is forgiving and loving!

Monika Schaeffer image.

Follow my Blog, if you like my ideas.

Email feltingindevon@gmail.com for instructions and links to these projects.

Get Started with a Lucky Bag of Felt Fibres @ £6.50 including P&P.

Fun Felting a Caterpillar

It is great fun making felted balls – especially with the help from enthusiastic children! The balls can be used to make jewellery, toys, mobiles, embellishments, costume and more.

Merino wool is particularly good for making felt. It has a long fine fibre which felts readily and is available as natural, and in a choice of 27 different colours. £12.50 for 70g. pack of 7 colours – including postage.

The wool fibre needs water, soap and elbow grease to cause the felting. An empty detergent bottle with a spray attachment filled with hot water with a few drops of washing up liquid works well.

The spray bottle helped to regulate the application of the soapy water.

Instructions for making the Felt Caterpillar:

Felting the balls by hand


  1. Take your wool fibres and pull until a small loose handful comes away from the roving.
  2. Gently shape the fibres in the hollow of a cupped hand and spray a little soapy water onto them.
  3. Pass the fibres to your other hand and spray the other side of the fibres.
  4. Bring your hands together, cupping the loose fibres between them. Gently begin to rotate your palms to make the shape of a loose ball.
  5. Increase the pressure and speed as you feel the ball begin to take shape. Add more soapy water to help with this process.
  6. Sometimes the fibres create folds and cracks on the surface of the ball. To repair these, add a few strands of the wool fibre, lay them across the surface and repeat step 4.
  7. The ball can take between 5 to 10 minutes to become fully felted, depending on the density required. When you are happy with it, rinse in clean water and squeeze it a few times by rolling between your palms.
  8. Place the damp balls in the airing cupboard to dry

The balls can also be felted using the washing machine method

The felted caterpillar is constructed from different sized balls, the largest being the head. The felted ball is solid and robust.

Contact me for rest of instructions…

feltingindevon@gmail.com

Courtesy of A.Holland

How to frame your felted pictures…

I had a really interesting query from Kelly about framing felt paintings, so I’m going to copy the answer I gave her for all of you to read.

The picture above is not important, but the frame and mounting is shown quite clearly. *(The picture above is double mounted with a frame inside the main frame made from mounting board. It is traditional to cut the inside edge of the inner mount at 45 degrees, which can be done fairly easily with a very sharp Stanley knife.)

It’s important to mount your work and enclose it in a deep frame so that the felt does not press against the glass.

You will also notice that I add my ceramic mark of my initials JB set into a sheep’s head. I designed, carved and fired this ceramic so it is as unique as a signature. Finer artists than me, will embroider their name.

Suggestion for Mounting a Felted Picture


1. Cut a piece of corrugated cardboard 10mm smaller all round than the piece of felt, so it is not visible behind the picture.
2. Make sure the felted picture is completely flat, then stitch and stretch the felt onto the cardboard from behind.

3. Stitch into all four corners and halfway inbetween on all 4 sides, making a total of 8 sets of stitches. On average, about six stitches at each of these 8 points will secure it well. A standard needle and cotton or nylon thread was used.


4. Then, get some mounting board ( buy online) of your desired colour.

5. Fix the back of the corrugated cardboard onto the mounting board with double sided sellotape. The size of the mounting board should fit inside your chosen picture frame.
It’s best to buy a picture frame with a deep rebate of more than 12mm; as this will give room for the glass plus the felt picture plus backing plus mount board. 15mm rebate is ideal.


6. Seal everything into the back of the picture frame using gummed tape (available on internet). Do not use masking tape as it will come off!


7. Put in two hangers on back of picture frame, screwed into rear of the picture frame, about one-third of the way down from the top. Attach the cord, between the hangers, using 2mm white nylon picture cord (available on internet).


8. My husband made the frames, but I know that the IKEA Ribba range of picture frames are both cheap and deep!

9. Notes were dictated to me by Martin Binks who Framed my pieces.

Thanks to Kelly for asking the question.

Wet felting a picture

My favourite reason for wet felting is painting ! I love trying to recreate the effects of water colour paints when I’m wet felting a picture. To achieve this painterly effect, I lay down a few, thin layers of wool at a time and leave at least three areas of white space. Gradually, I build up the layers, especially with the sky. It’s often useful to partially felt each layer by gently rolling a few times and then softly squeezing out the excess moisture.

I find this helps the maintain the integrity of each layer of colour and prevents it from becoming muddy.

The technique of glazing in water colour painting refers to the process of letting one layer of colour drying completely before overlaying it with another colour. If you were to paint another colour on top of a wet colour, the result would be muddy.

This very careful technique of building up fine layers is used by one of my favourite fibre and wool artists, Valérie Wartelle, who specialises in large scale abstract expressionist landscapes.

Let me show you an example.

I wet felted the picture above, entitled ” Devon Sheepscape”, after having spent a weekend in Halifax at a workshop with Valérie and she made me think about textures and layers, taking very small steps. So, although it’s not in her abstract style, it’s still expressive. I wanted to get beyond the ‘fluffy white sheep’ idyll – charming though it is.

You’ll notice a ceramic mark I made to ‘sign’ my work. I carved the mould in clay and pressed it into porcelain clay roundels, which I then bisque- fired before glazing and a final firing.

If I could embroider, I would have used that method instead. I made loads of these porcelain marks and will enclose one in every pack of wool I send out.

I am inspired by the landscapes of Devon and of South West France and always want to reach out for my coloured yarns to recreate the landscapes I walk through.

Here’s a picture felted last year of a Charentaise corn field in late August: a storm is threatening and the corn is just going over because of the endless scorching summer heat.

The one above shows the unbelievably Azure blue sky providing a backdrop to the fields of sunflowers and bales of hay. It’s not representational, but I’ve tried to capture the blues and golds of the scene. In the picture below, I attempted a more expressionist scene of reflected lights on the water on a summer night near la Rochelle.

Having told you a little about why I love felting landscapes, it all started with learning the basic techniques of wet felting pictures. I’m now going to set out some basic instructions for wet felting a picture. If you feel inspired to have a go, I can send you a bag of merino wools and silks to get started.

Wet Felt Picture

How to make a picture:

Wet felting is an ideal way to make a picture. You can also wet felt a background, and then use needle felting to create finer details.

There are many ways to wet felt and you will find your own favourite methods. Here is a simple method to make a picture for which you will need:

  • soap (olive hand soap is good or a even a gentle washing up liquid such as Ecover),
  • hot water (as hot as you can stand, cooler if felting with children)
  • a spray bottle if you have one
  • fibres to felt
  • an old towel
  • a sheet of pre-felt – this makes an easy and strong base for your picture
  • 2 pieces of bubble wrap which are slightly bigger than your prefelt (old packaging is perfect!)
  1. Lay the pre-felt onto a layer of bubble wrap (bubbles upwards)
  2. Using thin layers of colour, just enough to cover the background, layer up the picture onto the pre-felt, starting with the background first, such as sky, mountains etc, then work your way forwards through the picture.
  3. Wet the whole picture with a mixture of warm/hot water mixed with a little soap (a spray bottle is good for this).
  4. Lay another layer of bubble wrap over the top. Spray a little of the water mixture on top to help your hands slide.
  5. Start gently rubbing over the bubble wrap, very gently at first, in little circles. Once you have rubbed over the whole picture, you can go again, a little stronger this time. Repeat, building up the strength of the rubbing as the fibres begin to felt. You can lift the bubble wrap to check on your picture below.
  6. Try pulling at a few fibres to see if they are felting together.
  7. Once the felt is fairly strong and the fibres are fixed into place, both layers of bubble wrap plus picture can be rolled up, with an elastic band placed on each end.
  8. This ‘sausage’ can then be rolled backwards and forwards 20-30 times.
  9. Unroll the sausage and look at your picture, which will have shrunk horizontally. Pull the picture back into shape a little, then turn it a quarter turn and roll it back up.
  10. Roll the sausage 20-30 times. Repeat turning and rolling two more times.
  11. Rinse your picture, first in water as hot as you can stand (cooler for little children), then in very cold water.
  12. Press dry with a towel, then pull into shape and leave to dry.

Wet Felt a Scarf Kit in Merino and silk fibres.

I’ve put together some lovely colour combinations to inspire you to design your own scarf or neck warmer. Each pack comes with one of my hand made ceramic sheep stamps.

Some of you have already made scarves or neck warmers in my felting workshops and I know how much you love the softness and hues of the merino silk mixes.

In these difficult days of social distancing and isolation, crafting of all kinds is a beneficial and therapeutic hobby. Wet felting doesn’t require much equipment – soap, hot water, plastic water bottle, bubble wrap, netting and work space. Working with colours and textures to create something to wear, for yourself, or, as a gift is a surprisingly mindful activity.

I’d be delighted to post a bag of lovely wools and silks to felters with some previous experience. You can select the colours or send me some examples of your chosen colours for me to match.

Just a thought … if you have a plethora of scarves already, the wools and silks could be transformed into a Wallhanging or abstract design, perhaps?

I’m really into Fibonacci colour sequences at the moment and have tried matching stripes of colours to find a harmony.

Online Tutorial Instructions

I’ll post a step by step photographic tutorial for you to follow, if this is your first time at wet felting.

Some choices of kits …

Kit 1. A simple Wet Felt Scarf kit in choice of up to 4 colours of Merino Wools. £20 (P&P £3.20)

Kit 2. Wet felt wools and a length of chiffon silk to make it softer against the neck and more light weight for spring or around the house. £28 (P&P £3.20)

Kit 3. A Nuno Felt Kit & Kaboodle with a bag of merino silk wools, length of chiffon silk and a pack of silk fibres, silk mawatas, silk slivers and Teesdale or Wensleydale locks. £35 (P&P £3.60)

I can also send you 2 pre-cut lengths of bubble wrap to use as a template, as well as for friction.

In addition to my online photographic instructions, I’ll include lots of links to recommended YouTube sites to fire your imagination.

Approximate prices, depending on quantity of wool, for each kit:-

Kit 1 £20

Kit 2 £25

Kit 3 £32

P&P £3.10

Some silky fibres…

Check back to this blog post as I’ll add to it daily with more suggestions and ideas.

Let me know what you would like and I will tailor my offerings to suit you – whether it’s just the instructions, the packs of wool or general chat and inspiration.

Let’s hope we all get through this sadness and fear.

Until then…stay very safe.

Judi x

Free Online Wet Felting a Rainbow Kit for Kids

https://feltingindevon.com/felting-a-rainbow-for-kids-a-free-online-tutorial/

Visit my blog page above for updated version of this Rainbow Tutorial.

The Wet Felting a Rainbow kit for Kids comes with a selection of 7 vivid colours of Merino wool all cut to size and some white wispy wool for clouds or a dove.

A piece of white pre-felt on which to arrange your rainbow. It’s like a woolly piece of white paper, really.

2 sheets of bubble wrap cut to size.

Piece of netting to hold your design in place before wetting.

A photocopiable rainbow template showing the order of colours. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. (Acronym is ROY G BIV).

Illustrated step by step instructions to make the rainbow project. (This activity is suitable for age 3+ but does definitely requires some adult supervision and help.) Older children can add more details like a blue sky with clouds and bird, and flowers and grass.

Step 1

All the vivid multicoloured wools are such fun to work with!  

Before you start you need to prepare the area by placing an old towel down on the table, as the activity will get wet later (that’s why it’s called Wet felting!) 

Step 2

You also need to lay out the template and place the bubble wrap on top of that. You can then get started with the picture.

Step 3

Start by laying the green grass for the bottom of our rainbow scene. You need to pull some of the fibres from the green wool in your kit, rather than just placing the whole thing down at once. Imagine you are painting the grass with a brush as you carefully lay down some wisps of green wool.

Step 4

Work through the rest of the rainbow colours in turn, using the template as a reference. It gives you a great chance to talk about the colours of the rainbow and remember which colours come next in the sequence.

You can sing the song ” I can Sing a Rainbow” to help you lay the colours down in a beautiful arc shape.

Step 5

When placing the colours down onto the picture, you must let them overlap a little, and make sure the strips for the rainbow are not too thick. For ours, I think perhaps we should have overlapped the colours a little more but being our first time with wet felting, there was an element of trial and error.

Step 6

Step 7

The curly wool is used to add details like clouds in the sky. The example image had shown these also used to make flowers in the meadow at the bottom of the scene. You can try making a football to add at the bottom of the scene, using some of the left over coloured wool or you can add some flowers.

Once all your wool is laid out to make the picture and you are happy with it, then you wet it all with some warm soapy water, and cover over the top with the rest of the bubble wrap and pat it all down so that the water soaks into all of the wool.

Step 8

This should be done quite gently at first. Then you need to roll the whole picture up in the towel in a sausage shape and squeeze the rest of the water out of the picture which could take about 10 minutes.

Once that is done, you rinse it cold water and then hot water. Then leave it to dry again. As you can see with ours below, it would have been better to overlap the colours more especially at the edges as some gaps have come about and are emphasised more after all the rolling and squeezing we have done.

Step 9

Once the picture is dry, it should be robust enough to embellish with threads, beads, buttons or any extras you would like to add. You can see how it looks in a frame. I tried it in one of the Ribba frames from Ikea which have more depth than the average frame so can be used for putting crafts, kids artwork or any pictures with a 3d element.

Follow up activities

  1. Teach them about colors. Learn the fun mnemonic device: Roy G Biv. This character’s name is actually an acronym for all the colors of the rainbow in order.

The Rainbow is a symbol of hope and the Earth’s renewal in religious traditions. Here’s a link to simple cartoon story of Noah’s Ark.

With older children, you can go one step further and teach them why we see color the way we do and what causes a rainbow to appear.

Look at this… 👀 https://pin.it/4iBzCmB

Free Felting Soaps Tutorial

A bowl of funny, fragrant, felted soaps to cheer up my daughter.

Sharing is caring!

If you like my blog and want me to post more free felting tutorials, please follow my blog or send me your email. I will never make it public.

Contact me at: feltingindevon@gmail.com

Text: 0783843639

Felted soap is simply soap wrapped in wool that has been matted together. It’s a gentle exfoliator, yet as soft as a flannel. The wool has antimicrobial properties and every member of the family can keep to their own design, so it’s hygienic by encouraging individual only use. It’s a great project for children, too, with the added benefit of involving hot soapy water!

Updates and useful external links will be added. Send me pictures of your soaps, too.

How to make felted soaps at home

Felting soap is a simple project that uses up scraps of merino wool and soap. Cut the soap into shapes. Add essential oils for fragrance. Place the scented felt soaps in your wardrobes and clothes drawers. They make a great gift.

I’m going to show you a very basic wet method. Remember, not all bars will be perfect.

You will need:
Bar of hand soap (I prefer to slice up a big bar).

Materials

Wool roving (alpaca or merino work best, but any will do).

I can supply packs of wool. £12.50 for 10 colours (including postage) ample to felt and decorate 10 medium sized bars of soap. Choose your colours from pictures below.

Separate your roving wool into strips of your chosen colours.

Some netting (I use onion netting) or a pop sock or cut up tights.

Large bowl of hot water.

Drop of washing up liquid.

Essential oils like lavender, bergamot rose, geranium, mint to add to your wet felted soaps.

Towels to put under the bowl

What to do

Step 1

  1. First, tightly wrap some wool around your bar of soap. Be careful to evenly cover all around the soap, and keep it tight as you wrap. The entire bar needs to be covered with at least 2-3 layers. Wrap it tightly. Wrap first in a horizontal direction and then in a vertical direction. Your third layer is where you can decorate and embellish by adding stripes and spots of coloured wool. Have fun and be creative! You can also needle felt some designs into the wool afterwards.

Step 2


Snip off the foot end of the nylon and put the soap inside the nylon and tie the end you cut off.

Step 3

Once your soap is covered in the wool and netting, gently place the bar of soap in the hot water so it’s thoroughly wetted.

Step 4

Massage the nylon covered, felt covered soap with warm water for 10-15 minutes until the felt has shrunk around the soap. Basically, you are going to wash your hands with the nylon felt soap for probably 10 minutes.

Make sure you massage the corners and sides of the soap. The water should be as warm as you can take it without it being too hot to keep your hands under it. I like the felted soap, but it’s not worth scalded skin, so not too hot.

After about 10-15 minutes of rubbing and dipping you will notice that the wool is tight and able to stick to the soap on its own. At this point, take the soap to the sink, and run it under cold water.

Remove the soap from the netting and check to make sure the wool is sticking. You can do this by rubbing your finger across any extra pieces. If they are stuck together, forming one piece, you are finished. If you are able to tear any pieces off, you need to keep felting. Either way, dip your soap back into the hot water and rub for a few more minutes.

Squeeze the soap to make sure the wool is very tight around the soap. You can go back and forth from a cold water rinse to the hot water with agitation (keep the netting on unless you are checking to see if it’s finished).

Step 5


Remove the felted soap from the nylon and blot off any excess suds.

Then, rinse the felted soap with cold water before placing on a towel to dry. It might take a few days to dry. Putting the soap in direct sunlight will speed up this process.

I left mine on an old towel over night to let it dry out completely.

Add decorations and designs

To use your felted soap:
Just use it as you would any soap-filled face cloth. Soak the felted soap with water and rub the wool directly on your skin. This is a great way for children to bathe themselves!
Place the soap in a soap saver dish to dry between uses.


Notes:
Just like any other soap, you need to keep your felted soap as dry as possible between uses. This will make it last longer.
The felted wool will shrink as your bar shrinks.
When the soap is gone you can cut a slit in the wool and add a new bar of soap, or just use the felted wool as a washcloth.
Be very gentle with your bar at the beginning of the felting. You want it all to shrink at the same time so that you don’t get lumps
If you do get lumps, it’s ok. 🙂
The less wool you use on your bar of soap, the more it will lather in the bath or shower.
The more wool you use on your bar of soap, the longer your soap will last.

Choose your wools for £10

Select a bag of 10 different colours of merino rovings for £10, including postage.

Enough wool to felt about 10 soaps.

Blues, reds, pinks, greens, purples and yellow merino rovings.

Blue

Email: feltingindevon@gmail.com

Text: 07837 436395

Thanks for reading.

Check my blog for regular updates on how to do fun felting projects while you’re stuck at home.

I can post the resources to you.

Judi Binks

feltingindevon@gmail.com

This is a very simple and clear video made by two sisters. https://youtu.be/yiih_OK44zQ

Link to video on Adding Needle Felting Decoration to Your Soaps.

Reviews

Hi there Judi!
I have a had a lovely time making some felted soaps.  More will follow across this week – I need to make more soap!!  
I made two little ones for the grandchildren which let me play at the technique with small use of resources.  I had a go at needle felting on one of them.   And then made two bigger ones.
Have attached a photo to let you see!  Great instructions.  Hope more people have a go!  Have done the review via link sent,
Hope this is finding you safe and well.

Wet Felting a Sheepscape on a snowy Saturday 🐑🐏

Carol and Helen crossed the border from Cornwall into Devon for a wet felting an expressive landscape workshop.

Carding the wools to blend the colours for the base layer of the design.
Carol carding!
Helen looks down in amazement.
Close up of the fluffy layer caused by carding the wool.
The project will be rinsed in cold water and left to dry flat naturally before adding the final details to sheep face and foreground foliage by needle felting or by hand embroidery or freestyle machine embellishments.
The project will be rinsed in cold water and left to dry flat naturally before adding the final details to sheep face and foreground foliage by needle felting or by hand embroidery or freestyle machine embellishments
Carol and Helen posing with their felted landscapes after 3 hours. Then back home in a snow storm! Lovely ladies.

Nuno Felting a Silk Scarf

Jan and Lyn brightened this Sunday with their “go to” attitude to crafting and their cheerful demeanour in learning a new skill of nuno felting.

Laying out the base layer of the design on to silk scarf. Beforehand, samples had been made to demonstrate the process of migrating wool fibres through the silk and to show the elements of design and colour.
Jan’s sample of single fine base of turquoise merino wool with curly tops as fringes, embellishments of cut and torn silk remnants and strewn silk and wool fibres. Sample involved laying out fibres and dampening down without palming or felting.
Lyn’s sample
Lyn lays down very fine layers of grey Merino wool/silk rovings on one side of project.
Jan’s chosen palette for her lightweight summery scarf contains soft turquoises, yellows and blues.
“My Lady” models Jan’s summer scarf for us as it is still sopping wet and bears the indentation of bubble wrap! Jan will finish this at home by continuing to roll out to achieve a smooth felted finish, before rubbing the edges with soap to strengthen the structure: lots of rinsing in cold water to get rid of soap and gentle fulling by gently scrunching damp project and letting it fall to a hard surface a few times. It will be dried flat naturally and future washings should be in cold water only.
Reverse side of scarf in accent colours. Still unfinished and soaking wet.
Lyn’s scarf shows her principal design elements of strong, linear flow of blues, turquoise and French grey. It’s a statement scarf that is unique and elegant. Please note the scarf in this photograph is still unfinished, sopping wet and dimpled by bubble wrap. We await the completed pictures. Nuno is a long process and because we’re creating fashion accessories, attention to detail and finish is essential. Both ladies took scarves home to finish off with full instructions. No point rushing it!

Nuno Felt scarf part 1

The YouTube link above takes you to part 1 of 4 Nuno Felting Tutorials produced by Living Felt.
I would recommend this simply written illustrated guide by Nancy Shwab.

Jan’s Review of the one day workshop.

Booked a whole day workshop with Judi, first time doing any felting!
A lovely welcome when my friend and I arrived with a good explanation of how the day would go.
Then introduced to a ‘sweet shop’ of beautiful wools silks and other possible embellishments almost too many to choose from.
Then off to the studio to start our practice piece , learning how to felt into the fine silk.
Then the fun if choosing colours for our finished scarves.
Judi is very knowledgeable, and encouraging. More work to do to finish our scarves at home, my goodness the day went quickly! A delicious lunch too!
A great day would definitely recommend this workshop, thank you so much Judi.

Jan Davies –