Felted Soap

by eleighb

After a day at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, I discovered the joys of felting.  It takes a lot of trial and error, but I’m starting to get really good at it.  I’ve started felting soap.  It’s really fun because as you wash your hands with the felted soap, the soap melts and the felt continues to shrink around it.  I’m hoping it will form into a giant felted bead when the soap is finally all used up.

Here are my supplies: wool roving, a bamboo matt, a piece of mesh fabric, a bar of glycerin soap, and some hot soapy water.

To begin, I stretch out and wrap the wool around the bar of soap.  (This picture was taken while felting a different piece of soap, with a different type/color wool, but you get the idea).  🙂

Wrap the soap, be creative with the design of the wool.  I made a pimento olive design.

Once the soap is wrapped with wool, I wrap the mesh fabric around the bar.  Be careful not to shift the wool too much, you don’t want to ruin your design.

I start by slowly dribbling the soapy hot water onto the bar, slowly soaking the wool.

I agitate the wool by rubbing the bar through the mesh fabric.  The combination of hot water and the rough mesh will open up the wool fibers so they grab onto one another, creating felt.

After about 3-4 minutes of rubbing, the felt is starting to form.  At this point, I no longer need the mesh fabric to hold the wool in place.

I continue felting the wool by rubbing the bar all over, adding more hot water as I go.

Once the felt has shrunk a bit, and starts to form to the bar like a sort of baggy skin, I like to agitate the fibers a bit more aggressively by running the bar back and forth over a bamboo matt.  I make sure to rub all the sides on the matt to make sure the wool felts evenly.  Sometimes it’s good to rub in a circular motion so the felt stays even.

Serious crafting face.

Once the wool is felted, I rinse with cold water and pat dry.

I leave the soap on a rack to dry over night.

This soap was felted using a Merino/Silk blend from LivingFelt.com.  If you click on the picture you can see how the silk fibers created a cool wrinkled up look as the wool felted around them.