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How to Make Wet Felted Soap
Things you will need
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- How to Make a Wet Felted Flower/A Free Tutorial
Learn how to make a 3 D Felted flower with a Step by Step photo tutorial.