Monday 19 December 2011

Wet Felting Experiments

(Goblin is 26 months)
This is Hublet modelling a scarf I made for my mum for Fakemas. Its a normal black scarf with panels of homemade felt sewn on the ends. The picture on the right is the finished wet felt before I cut it into panels. 
For Christmas I tried out some wet felting experiments. The scarf was my first attempt at wet felting since I was 15 years old. I thought I'd share with you how I did it (using photos from my second attempt) so that if you too are a beginner we can learn together. So to start, I used a big plastic mat (to protect the floor). A large length of bubble wrap (you can buy them in the post office). And two muslins.
 I laid carded white wool onto the first muslin. Quite thick (in hindsight I could have made it a lot thinner - I was being over cautious). Over the white layers I laid coloured merino roving wool. I laid mine in an abstract way. One thing I learnt was that you need to open up any chunks that are compressed together, otherwise they won't felt well.
 Then I grated soap onto the wool - an even cover all over. Make sure to get the sides. I just used regular soap - I have read that some people use olive oil soap. I don't know if it would make a difference, I found generic cheap soap worked fine. I covered the wool with a second muslin and poured warm water all over the wool until it was damp on every part of the top muslin.
 Then I folded the second half of the bubble wrap over the top of the second muslin making a bubble wrap sandwich. And I rolled it up. You can roll it round a cardboard tube or broom handle to make it easier to roll back and forth.
 Roll the sausage back and forth moving your hands and arms from the middle to the outside and back again. I find rolling with your forearms is good.
 When you think you have rolled enough (I rolled for about 5 minutes at first). Stop, undo the roll and gently pull back the top muslin. As you can see in the photo above if the wool hasn't completely felted it will stick to the top muslin. Gently tease it off. Take the top muslin and relay it. Rub the felt through the top muslin vigorously. Then relay the second half of bubble wrap and re-role. You can see from the photo below, as you role it back and forth the lather from the soap will seep out the sides - hence the plastic to protect the floor (I also had a couple of towels on standby). Once the wool has felted so it no longer pulls away when the top muslin is removed, your felt is ready. Rinse the finished felt under a tap. I rinsed mine on top of the bubble wrap in the sink and then rolled it up in it and squeezed the water out the bottom. Then I lay the finished article on the table to dry (but it took days so I ended up (once it was just damp rather than sopping wet) hanging it on the radiator to dry thoroughly. When the felt was dry I cut it into zigzags, and sewed a band of velcro to the bottom and added velcroable shapes.
I used sticky velcro and discovered that my sewing machine really really didn't like sticky velcro so after nearly destroying one crown I didn't sew the velcro onto the second two.
You can see from the picture above how thick the felt turned out. I was scared they'd be too holey otherwise but I could have used a lot less white felt base.
I made these crowns for Goblin and a couple of his friends. Unfortunately Goblin has a giant head and I'd made his crown too small so it ended up on dolly. But Goblin can still decorate it with the velcro felt shapes. 

I have been looking around the blogosphere at wet felting and if you want to see some amazing felt have a look at Wool love-functional fiber art.


  1. TM--Thanks so much for the 'shout out'!! Your first (in a long time) project came out well. (I also love making crowns for little ones!!)

  2. What an adorable crown! And I really need to give felting a go.

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  3. if you want to try but don't have any wool 'World of Wool' do bags of offcuts. I bought one (i think it was about £9 and it was big) and it had loads of different colours - including some carded white base. Its quite a cheap way to give it a go if you don't know whether you will pursue it.

  4. I love wet felting, great idea for the crown.


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