Thursday, July 23, 2009

how to make wool felted soap

This is the coolest concept. You cover a bar of soap with this fabulous wool fiber, then felt it, and you have a soap and washcloth in one! I love this for my kids because the soap doesn't get slippery and slip out of their hands, and I don't have to have a separate cloth or scrubby in the bath. And it really is an easy project.

Wool Felted Soap Tutorial


What you'll need:

*Bar of soap (check out Bath & Body Works for great fragrances--they often go on sale for $1!)
*Wool fibers
*Wool felting needles or tool (optional)
*Nylon sock (optional)
*Washboard (optional)
*Wool felting block (optional)

I found these lovely wool fibers from the local yarn store. It was super reasonable (only a couple of dollars per ounce and look how much I got!).


1. Place your wool felting block on a flat surface. Lay a piece of paper on top of the wool block and lay your fibers on the very top layer. We used a piece of paper to prevent our fibers from getting stuck in our block. If you are using a different type of block, one that is similar to foam, you may not need the paper. This block is like a brush, and without the paper in between, we would've been picking out fibers for days.


2. Using your wool felting need or tool (be careful--these babies are sharp!), punch out a design. Move your needle up and down to secure the fiber in place. Use contrasting fibers so your design really stands out. We chose a simple star shape for one soap and polka dots for another. (Hint: you could probably use a plain old pin or needle to do this, but it will take longer than using the felting needles.)



3. Continue to punch the contrasting wool shape (in our case, a star) until the contrasting fiber (star) is thoroughly intertwined in the bottom wool fiber. You want this contrasting fiber to hold its shape when you felt the fibers, so make sure it is really on there.


4. Gently separate the wool fiber from the paper. It will stick a bit, but a steady hand and patience should give you great results. Don't worry if you have small pieces of paper in it. They will eventually dissolve and paper will not harm your body so don't pull your hair out getting every last piece.


5. Wrap your fibers tightly around your soap. This is where this craft moves into "art-rather-than-science" mode. Don't use too much fiber or you will have excess after felting that will hang off your soap like little wool fingers. If you use too little when you felt, you will have areas of your soap thatare exposed. Don't worry too much if either of these things happen. We had soap that turned out each of these ways and they are still useful in the shower. They just have "character".



6. Once your soap is completely covered and you feel happy with it, prepare it for felting. It helps to put the soap in a nylon stocking, but you can achieve the same results without it. We used a trouser sock and it was a little too thick for what we needed, but still worked. It just took longer to felt because the wool fibers were not getting agitated enough.

We scrubbed the soap in the sock on my washboard using HOT water. If you don't have a washboard, you can rub the fibers with scrub brush or even your hands.


7. After we felted the wool soap in the sock (until the wool shrunk up around the soap), we removed it from the sock and shaped it by squeezing the soap. Our star needed a little tweaking in order for it to look right, but not much else. Don't worry if your soap starts to suds up a little (ours did).


8. Squeeze dry. It was a really sunny day, so we set these out on the back porch for a quick dry, and in a matter of minutes they were dry and ready to go.


Creating detailed images will take a lot of practice, but don't let that stop you. Get creative with simple shapes or dots. Our "dinosaur skin" soap was a huge hit with the kids. If you don't want to go to the trouble of needle felting an image, just wrap your soap with various wool fibers to get the tie-dyed look like the pink and purple one below.

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18 Comments

18 Responses to “how to make wool felted soap”

Sherry said...

love the detail :)

xoxo

http://heartrandom.com

Wanda said...

You make it look so simple...I would like to try and make a few for gifts...I hope they would be as beautiful as yours...I have never felted before...you have inspired me to atleast try!...
Wanda

Leahdis said...

Fab Idea, would make a fun gift for kids.

LADY BEVERLY said...

This is really cool! I would never had thought of this - but my grandson's would love it.

Thanks for sharing and the tutorial!

Happy Day!

Bev

Melissa said...

That would also be great for the ederly who shouldn't and can't be chasing their soap around in the shower.

Ruth said...

What a great idea. I love it.

Ruth

-Sydney- said...

does the felting shrink up as the soap gets smaller? What happens when the soap runs out?

:::b r a n d i::: said...

Wow, so cool. not sure if I could get this right...I've never tried working with wool before.

Janna said...

Soooooo...who is going to make some and list in their etsy shop so I can enjoy it without doing the work :)

@ sydney
yes...the felting will shrink with the soap...or so I've read.

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

I have always wanted to try this! What fun gifts! I'll be linking.

michellejohnnie said...

Cute idea! I linked at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com

Between Hitching Posts said...

I'm so glad that you posted this. I've been wanting to make some felted soap.

ackstay said...

The ideas just keep coming and coming... you never cease to amaze me.

Alane said...

I just learned of this craft, and have ordered some roving. I was wondering how to make the designs, and now I know! Now, off to the store the store to get the needle felting supplies, too. Thanks so much.

Tango Zulu Imports said...

These are the best step-by-step instructions for felted soaps I've seen. I would like to add that wool has antibacterial properties, so you don't have to worry about your felted wool getting stinky if it's sitting in the shower for days on end - unlike washcloths! Here is a great example of felted soap with contrasting fibers http://www.tangozuluimports.com/products/Tango-Zulu-Handmade-Felted-Soap.html

Renee said...

I am going to try this, Thanks :)

Miss Rulz said...

Eeeeeee! I am so excited to try this!! Thanks for posting such great instructions. I'm new to the world of blogging but am going to add a link to this on mine. Thanks again.

Miss Rulz said...

Thanks so much for this, can't wait to try it. I've linked at abookcasequilt.blogspot.com.au (I think, I'm new to all this!). Thanks again.

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