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How to Make Wet Felted Soap

Updated on September 5, 2016
sallybea profile image

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

Things you will need

The things you will need
The things you will need | Source

How to turn a plain bar of soap into a thing of beauty and make it last longer at the same time

Soap bars can be made into beautiful handcrafted gifts with just a little effort. Use a few fibers of Merino Tops or Wool Roving, add a little hot soapy water and massage the fibers until they have felted together. Not only can you make your own beautiful soap gifts but the wool will with use, continue to shrink further and the wool will act as a 'scrubber' or flannel.

Use a few fibers of Merino Tops or Wool Roving, add a little hot soapy water and massage the fibers until they have felted together. Not only can you make your own beautiful soap gifts but the wool will with use, continue to shrink further and the wool will act as a 'scrubber' or flannel.

Not only can you make your own beautiful soap gifts but the wool with use will continue to shrink further and act as a 'scrubber' or flannel. Certainly, the soap will last much longer than usual.

Items required

  • Soap bar – I used a bar of Pears Soap for this tutorial. The rounded edges make it so much easier to felt!
  • Piece of curtain netting, the dimensions will vary and will depend on the to the size of the soap bar used.
  • Boiling water in a spray bottle or alternatively you can use a small sponge and small plastic squeeze bottle.
  • Dish washing liquid
  • Mixed Colors of Merino wool, roving or tops, approximately 5 grams per soap.
  • Stocking leg or tights cut off.
  • Washboard or kitchen draining board


Method (Photo Tutorial Below Text)

Choose a suitable work surface which will tolerate water well. I use an old fashioned metal wash board placed on a small marble table. You might choose to use your kitchen worktop surface and the draining board to rub your felt on.

Add a tiny amount of dish washing liquid to your bottle and then half fill it with boiling or very hot water

Place the curtain net on the work surface as shown in the images below. In your mind and by experimenting first with the netting try to imagine how much fiber you will need to wrap your soap up completely. The soap should be completely encased by the wool fibers. Once you have worked out in your mind how much you will need, place the wool fibers onto the netting as shown below.

First, split a length of merino wool tops or roving down the center so that you end up with two easy to work with lengths. Gradually pull tufts from the wool and arrange them on the curtain netting as shown below. Lay them in one direction and then on the second layer at ninety degrees to the first one. This helps the felting process.

See images below.

Step 2

Place the soap on top of the wool and fold in all the edges. Use the netting as an aid to help you as shown in the images below.

Once done, turn it over and add a few fibers to the top for decoration. Insert your hands into a stocking leg and grasp the fiber wrapped soap and put it in the stocking. Tie a slipknot into the stocking and gently wet the whole project with hot soapy water, all the while making sure that you don't displace any of the woolen fibers.

PS If this is your first project, I would suggest that before you do this, wrap the curtain netting around the project and very gently wet it all over with the hot soapy water, Dab water on it with a sponge until it is wet through but not saturated. Remove the netting gently and then put it into the stocking.

Step 3

Put a slip knot into the stocking so that you can easily check later to see if you have reached the pinch test stage!.

All of this can be done on a wash board or sink drainer. Use a lot of gentle friction until the fibers have fused together and then rub harder until the fibers are well felted.

The Pinch Test

Continue rubbing until you reach the pinch test stage. (This is when you can pinch the wool fibers between two fingers and they don't move, as shown in the images below) Once you have reached this stage, gently peel the stocking away from the bar of soap. It should now be completely encased in the wool and feel nice and smooth and be completely free of moving fibers. If you have not reached this stage yet, put it back into the stocking and continue to rub until you are completely satisfied.

Step 4

Take the stocking off now and check to see if the fibers have felted together. If the fibers have begun to stick to the stocking you are just about there. Peel the stocking gently from the stocking. Use your hands to rub it a little more now. Smooth out the edges a little! Do this just as if you were washing your hands! It is now time to give your soap a quick dip in some cold water or place it under a cold tap as shown in the images below.

Pat the soap dry with a towel and place it on a sponge or a radiator to dry out.

In a hurry! Pat the soap dry with a dry towel and then use a hairdryer for a few minutes.

Decorate with a pretty ribbon or even a piece of raffia and brown hessian for a nice natural look! Present it in a pretty box, wrap and add a felted flower which you have made into a nice hair clip. Attach it to the top of the box for a decoration. See my tutorial on how to make a 3D wet felted flower

Dyed Merino Tops, Washboard and Pears Soap

Soap, netting, wash board and merino dyed wool tops
Soap, netting, wash board and merino dyed wool tops | Source
Place the wool fibers in one direction
Place the wool fibers in one direction | Source
Repeat the process by laying the fibers at ninety degrees to the first layer
Repeat the process by laying the fibers at ninety degrees to the first layer | Source

Next

Place soap in the center of your rectangle of wool fibers
Place soap in the center of your rectangle of wool fibers | Source
Fold in one long side
Fold in one long side | Source
Fold in next long side
Fold in next long side | Source
Fold in both short sides to center of soap
Fold in both short sides to center of soap | Source
Use the netting as an aid to help you wrap the fibers around the soap
Use the netting as an aid to help you wrap the fibers around the soap | Source
Four sides folded over the soap bar
Four sides folded over the soap bar | Source
Adding a little color to spice things up
Adding a little color to spice things up | Source
Insert hand into stocking leg
Insert hand into stocking leg | Source
Grasp the soap covered bar with the stocking covered hand and pick it up (just as if you were using a poop bag)
Grasp the soap covered bar with the stocking covered hand and pick it up (just as if you were using a poop bag) | Source
Covered soap bar inserted into the stocking
Covered soap bar inserted into the stocking | Source
Wetting the stocking covered soap bar
Wetting the stocking covered soap bar | Source
Tie a half slip knot into the stocking and gently begin rubbing the project on the wash board or draining board of the sink
Tie a half slip knot into the stocking and gently begin rubbing the project on the wash board or draining board of the sink | Source
Take the stocking off and pull away from stocking if it has started to become attached
Take the stocking off and pull away from stocking if it has started to become attached | Source
Pinch test to make sure no fibers are loose.  If so put back in stocking and repeat rubbing on board
Pinch test to make sure no fibers are loose. If so put back in stocking and repeat rubbing on board | Source
When felted remove from stocking and rinse in cold water in a bowl or pot
When felted remove from stocking and rinse in cold water in a bowl or pot | Source
Completed soap rinsed and placed on the draining board
Completed soap rinsed and placed on the draining board | Source
Tie dried soap with a bow and add a felted flower hair clip to the top of your little gift box
Tie dried soap with a bow and add a felted flower hair clip to the top of your little gift box | Source
Completed wet-felted soap
Completed wet-felted soap | Source

Felted Pebbles

Felted pebbles can be made using the same method above. Make a few and put them into a glass bowl in the bathroom. Experiment with different sizes and different shapes of soap.

Wet Felting Pebbles or Rocks

Wet Felting

Have you previously tried Wet Felting?

See results

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 14 months ago from Norfolk

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by to comment. It is appreciated.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 14 months ago from South Africa

      Awesome piece. Wish I had the interest to do things like this, but I don't.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      erorantes

      I very much appreciate your very kind comment and your visit.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 3 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your idea of the soup on the stocking. It is creative and beautiful. I like the small wet felted soup finishing product. It is a lot of work to have it done. Congratulations, you are fantastic. Thank you for sharing your hub.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      DDE - I really appreciate your visit DDE - so glad you enjoyed my felting tutorial - They make great hand crafted Christmas presents!

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How to Wet Felt a Bar of Soap in a Step by Step Photo Tutorial you have produced a unique hub. A creative idea with beautiful colors

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Cantuhearmescream, Great to hear that you actually tried the Project and I am delighted to hear it turned out well. Thanks very much for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      sallybea,

      I have been wanting to read your wet felting hubs for a while but figured they'd be above my crafting expertise. I really have to say that the soap came out lovely and I could see making little baskets for the women in my family during the holidays. Of course, I'd have to make sure I bought extra supplies so that I could have some of my own as well. You make the process look relatively easy. Job well done! Voted up and interesting.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello yisench,it seems there are very many lovely projects we can tackle in our lives. We can also have a lot of fun trying them out, I am so pleased that you enjoyed reading this.

      Sally

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 4 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Sally, this is so interesting. I have never heard of this before. Thanks for teaching me something new.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Thanks Vicki, yes, just a little wool, warm water and a little effort and you are so right - sometimes you just want to look and admire the soaps in a bowl in the bathroom.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Love your colours, they are amazing, and what a great idea for small gifts. They really are too pretty to use!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      So glad you enjoyed it. Felting is brilliant, there are no hard and fast rules, experiment, do what works for you and have lots of fun doing it! Thanks for voting up, also pinning, so pleased you stopped by.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      This is a great step-by-step tutorial! Pinned and voted up! Thanks!!