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How to Make a Wet Felted Pencil Holder

Updated on September 21, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Wet Felted Pencil Pouch

Wet Felted Pencil Pouch
Wet Felted Pencil Pouch | Source

Completed Wet Felted Pencil Pouch

Wet felted pencil pouch
Wet felted pencil pouch | Source

Handmade with Love

This simple wet felting project has been designed to be used by both adults and children. The latter will require a little help with the cutting and measuring, but it is a simple project which will help children to learn the basics of wet felting.

The deliberate use of sushi mats in place of bubble wrap was chosen for this project. The sushi mats can greatly assist the felting process, this in turn will help maintain the child's interest for much longer.

These pencil pouches are the perfect Christmas stocking filler. The basic idea can be adapted to including making larger pouches, especially for Grandma's knitting needles. Handcrafted gifts need not be expensive and a gift made with love by a child will long be long remembered and treasured by the recipient.

Things Required to Complete This Project

2 Small sushi mats

Merino wool roving in your own choice of colors

A little silk thread to add to the top layer of the wool as embellishment

Hot soapy water, dishing washing liquid or grated olive oil soap

1 Small piece of curtain netting

1 Box of 12 pencil crayons

Elastic bands and 2 felt balls or decoration of your own choice.

A ruler

A pair of scissors

A simple blade cutter

2 small sushi mats

Method

Begin by placing 1 sushi mat onto a waterproof surface. Putting it onto a tea towel will allow any additional water to be soaked up.

A Sushi Mat, Hot Soapy Water and Merino Wool Roving

Sushi mat, hot soapy water and merino wool roving.
Sushi mat, hot soapy water and merino wool roving. | Source

Putting down the Fibers

Begin by putting down an even layer of woolen fibers onto the surface of the sushi mat. Lay the fibers diagonally as shown in the image below.

Diagonal Placement of the Fibers

Begin by placing the woolen fibers down onto the sushi mat
Begin by placing the woolen fibers down onto the sushi mat | Source

Even Layers

Emphasis should always be placed on making sure that both layers are even and of the same thickness.

Gaps or uneven placement will result in a project which can result in thin spots or even holes.

Layer 1

One even layer of fibers
One even layer of fibers | Source

Layer 2

Lay the second layer of fibers in the opposite direction.
Lay the second layer of fibers in the opposite direction. | Source

Layer 2 Completed

Second layer of woolen fibers
Second layer of woolen fibers | Source

Add a a Few Silk Fibers for a Glossy Finish

Add a little decoration, use either contrasting wool fibers or silk fibers as shown here
Add a little decoration, use either contrasting wool fibers or silk fibers as shown here | Source

Cover the Fibers with Curtain Netting and Wet with Hot Soapy Water

Cover with a small piece of curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water
Cover with a small piece of curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water | Source

Press the Wet Fibers down and Smooth Flat up to the Edge of the Sushi Mat

Press the water down and out towards the edges of the mat
Press the water down and out towards the edges of the mat | Source

Remove the Netting Carefully Without Displacing Any of the Fibers

Remove the netting
Remove the netting | Source

Turn the Sushi Mat with the Fibers Still on It over Carefully

Turn the mat over
Turn the mat over | Source

Fold in the Loose Fibers Using the Edge of the Sushi Mat as a Guide

Fold the fibers in to match the size of the mat
Fold the fibers in to match the size of the mat | Source

Dampen down the Folded Edge as Shown

Wet the folded fibers
Wet the folded fibers | Source

Sandwich the Whole Project Carefully Between Two Sushi Mats

The tucked in edges should match the size of the sushi mat. Maintain as neat and edge as possible to form a nice rectangle.

Cover the Project with an Additional Sushi Mat

Covering with another sushi mat
Covering with another sushi mat | Source

Roll up the Sushi Mat

Roll up the project carefully
Roll up the project carefully | Source

Secure with Several Elastic Bands and Roll Firmly on the Tea Towel

Secure with elastic bands
Secure with elastic bands | Source

Open the Sushi Mat

This image shows the both sides of the project, one has a glossy finish and one has a plain finish.

See How the Felt Has Begun to Knit Together

Roll the project carefully for a bit and then check the stability of the fibers
Roll the project carefully for a bit and then check the stability of the fibers | Source

Turn the Project Lengthwise and Sandwich Between 2 Sushi Mats Placed Side by Side

Put two mats side by side long ways
Put two mats side by side long ways | Source

Rolling the Long Side in 2 Sushi Mats Secured with Elastic Bands

Rolling on a tea towel helps to soak up any additional moisture and makes it easier to roll the sushi mats.
Rolling on a tea towel helps to soak up any additional moisture and makes it easier to roll the sushi mats. | Source

Open after about 20 rolls and check the contents

Checking the fibers
Checking the fibers | Source

How Much Shrinkage Can I Expect to Take Place?

Based on my own experience you should expect shrinkage of at least 30 percent. Much depends on the type of wool you use and also how much the project is rolled.

If you would like to make a much larger pencil pouch or even a knitting needle pouch you will need to use a much larger bamboo mat or even a bamboo blind to create something larger.

Shrinkage

See how the fibers are beginning to shrink
See how the fibers are beginning to shrink | Source

How to Keep Your Rectangle in Good Shape

Roll the project inside the sushi mats with care. Keep on checking the contents of the mat and remember to roll evenly from both sides.. Use the 2 sushi mats side by side to accommodate the long edge of the rectangle as the sushi mats can only be rolled in one direction.

Maintaining a Decent Rectangular Shape, Note Shrinkage Here

Maintain the shape by changing the direction in which you roll a few times
Maintain the shape by changing the direction in which you roll a few times | Source

Perform the Pinch Test

After rolling the project for a while, you should perform a pinch test. Pinch the wool between two fingers to check to see if there is any sign on movement or loose threads.

If there is no sign of any such movement, steep the project first into hot and then cold water. Do this at least two or three times and then throw the project down onto a hard surface to harden the felt and complete the fulling process.

Put back into a sushi mat and spread the felt out as shown. Neaten any edges which are not quite straight using a sharp pair of scissors to form a nice rectangle. Dampen the cut edges with a little soapy water roll them in a sushi mat until they resemble the edges which were not cut.


Dunk in Hot and Then Cold Water

Time to dip the project first into hot and then cold water
Time to dip the project first into hot and then cold water | Source

First in the hot water

Dunk in hot water
Dunk in hot water | Source

Then in Cold Water

Dunking in cold water
Dunking in cold water | Source

Trim Any Uneven Edges

Trim the edges carefully with scissors to make a rectangle.
Trim the edges carefully with scissors to make a rectangle. | Source

Measuring the Pencil Pouch for Cutting

Measure the finished edges of your project and leave approximately 4cm on the two short edges.

Mark the center and draw a line across the project

Using the ruler make two lines on each side of the halfway mark and measure 24 dots on both sides as shown - 1 dot for every 1 cm.

Cut between every alternate dot to make a hole for threading the pencils through.



Measurements

Marking the dots for the pencil insertion cuts
Marking the dots for the pencil insertion cuts | Source

Marking the Center of the Rectangle

Mark the center of the rectangle
Mark the center of the rectangle | Source

Allow 4 Cm on Each Side

Allow 4 cm on each side, less if you do not have enough space for 12 pencils
Allow 4 cm on each side, less if you do not have enough space for 12 pencils | Source

Cut Inbetween the Dots

Cut between the dots as shown with a tiny sharp pair of nail scissors or a blade cutter.

Pencil Placement

Placement of the pencils
Placement of the pencils | Source

Use the Blade Cutter with Care Please!

Supervise the cutting of felt with a blade cutter.  A small sharp pair of nail scissors will do the job just as well
Supervise the cutting of felt with a blade cutter. A small sharp pair of nail scissors will do the job just as well | Source

Decorate as Desired

I used two felt balls I made for a previous project. I cut them into half and sewed them on with thread. I used elastic bands to seal the pouch. A simple cord could be rolled from wool roving in matching colors and tied around the project.

For more information on how to make felt balls please see my video below.

Adding the Decoration

Cut the felt balls into half and sew on for decoration
Cut the felt balls into half and sew on for decoration | Source

The Completed Pencil Pouch

The completed pencil pouch
The completed pencil pouch | Source

Hand Crafted Gifts?

If you love handcrafting, how likely are you to attempt this project?

See results

How to Make Wet Felted Beads or Balls

© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 months ago from Norfolk

      Glad you like this project Mary Norton, I hope you get around to making one very soon:)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is just what I need as it is light to travel with. It also looks beautiful that one would love to use it.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      DDE

      Thank you Devika I appreciate the visit and your very kind comment as always. Thanks for the Tweet.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Amazing how you put all of this together. I like the way you explained step by step and such an interesting hub. As always you know how to get a reader's attention. Well-crafted! I Tweeted.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      D.A.L.

      Hi Dave,

      That is extremely kind of you. My health is much improved after an emergency situation I had recently with kidney stones. I do however appreciate you asking, thank you so much and I hope that your own has improved too.

      Best wishes,

      Sally.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Sally, as with all your tutorials, they are extremely well written and the images are such a bonus. I may just send this one to my granddaughters who would love it. Hope you are well.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This would be good to keep crochet hooks organized, too.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Blossom SB

      Yes, it would work equally well for paint brushes as it will for knitting needles. I would suggest that you lay your brushes out on a piece of bubble wrap to see how much bigger you might need to make it. Add about thirty percent to the sides for shrinkage, perhaps just a little more to be on the safe side. You can always cut a little off it if you make it too large.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is appreciated.

      Sally

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      A great idea. It would be useful for my expensive paint-brushes, too.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      It is always such a pleasure to find you gracing one of my pages. Your continued support and your well-considered comments always mean such a lot to me. Thank you so much.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Another great creations, Sally. Your products make extraordinary gifts that would make the recipient remember the giver. You give clear, detailed instructions. So good!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Kathryn Lane

      You are very welcome and thank you very much for taking the time to comment on this wet felting tutorial.

    • Kathryn Lane profile image

      Kathryn Lane 2 years ago

      I really love this idea, and thanks for the crystal clear instructions!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Larry Rankin

      Happy to hear that you enjoyed this wet felting tutorial. I very much appreciate your taking the time to comment, thank you so much!

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Looks like a fun crafting exercise. Well written.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Chantelle Porter

      It sure is a neat craft, who would have thought that just a few merino wool fibers, hot soapy water and a little friction could produce fabric (felt) which can have so many uses. You should try it sometime, but be careful, you might get hooked:)

    • Chantelle Porter profile image

      Chantelle Porter 2 years ago from Chicago

      I have heard of felting but had no idea how to do it. What a neat craft.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      purl3agony

      Hi Donna, glad you liked the pencil rolls. Such a simple idea and yet such a creative thing to do with a few simple tools. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is much appreciated as always.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      billybuc

      Hi Billy, tis the season to be sure. So appreciate you for taking the time to comment. Congrats on your book by the way. Make a great Christmas gift for anyone looking to buy a gift this Christmas. I know it would be the perfect stocking filler. I think I will have to send the word out to friends and family. I have been a little poorly of late but am recovering and looking forward to getting back to writing again.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      I love these pencil rolls and this is such a wonderful use of felting! My favorite part is that you can see a little bit of each pencil on the exterior when they are all rolled up. It creates the opportunity for a cool design on the outside based on how you organize your pencils on the inside. Thanks for sharing another great hub!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Kristen Howe

      Glad you like this crafty idea Kristen. Sushi Mats really are great for wet felting, bamboo blinds too. They make the process work so much quicker. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is appreciated as always.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      'Tis the season, isn't it? All the Christmas decorations are up in the chain stores already, so this article is timely for sure. Great suggestions and lesson, but then this is Sally and we do expect that of her. :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Sally, I love this crafty idea. Your photos and instructions makes it so easy to do at home. I never thought of using sushi mats for this kind of craft. Perfect for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. It's really so pretty, too.