Sunday, April 19, 2015

Easy Felted Soap Project

Very recently I decided that I wanted to try wet felting.  I knew I would need an extremely easy project since I am craft-challenged. I found many methods for felted soap online and decided that was where I would start.  Here is how I made my first wet felted project.

What is Wet Felting?

Until recently, I have never heard of wet felting.  I have a very artistic and exceptionally crafty friend.  She does felting with a needle. The projects I've seen that she has in progress are going to be gorgeous. It made me want to try felting. Yet, felting with a needle seems more difficult that something I should start with.

In my review of Wysteria Editions wool roving, I write a bit about what felting is.  But as a reminder, wet felting is the process of using soapy water, compression, and friction to turn wool or woolen fibers into material.  Beginning wet felting projects include coasters, bookmarks, and felted bars of soap. 

More difficult projects include clothing items, slippers, wall hangings, blankets, and so on. I hope to make a suitable pair of slippers for myself before too long.

What is felted soap?

Felted soap is a bar of soap that wool is placed over with the wet felting method. The end result is a bar of soap with a permanent piece of gently exfoliating material over. It eliminates the use of a loofah or washcloth. 

While looking at wet felting tutorials and articles, I saw some feedback that some folks didn't like the idea of their soap wrapped in wool.  I love the idea. I prefer bars of soap over body wash, except that bars of soap seem to get used up so quickly. According to the folks who like felted soaps, the felting helps the bars of soap last longer. Once I saw the beautiful soaps by Apartment Therapy and Thistlewood Farm,  I was completely hooked. 

This video by Traditional Living is a tutorial of how to make felted soap, along with an example of what the wool is like as the soap has been used.

The process I used

I had already purchased beautiful Wysteria Editions wool roving in anticipation of having time to do an easy project.
Wysteria Editions Wool Roving
I located a bar of soap that I like but have had in storage for a long time.  You can see that a previously good-looking bar of soap has become chipped and worn by being in storage and going through moves.  What a perfect candidate for being covered in wool.
Any moisturizing and scented soap is a good choice

I pulled bits of wool roving to thin and flat sheets, and layered them over the soap. I added little bits of "twisted" roving for the stripes.

I carefully sprinkled the covered soap with hot tap water - as hot as I could tolerate safely - and patted the roving flat. Because I didn't have the end of a used stocking, as most folks use when felting soap, but had a placemat that was the equivalent of a sushi rolling mat (used in other projects), I used the placement for "rolling" my soap. Counting how many times I "rolled" it and turning the soap to roll it for approximately the same number of times on the next side. Then I patted and rubbed the corners and edges; although they had already shrunk and felted nicely. 

During the process of "rolling" and rubbing it through the mat

After I finished, I allowed my soap to dry outside for most of the day, then inside on a rack overnight. As you can see, my wool felted up nicely, attaching the bar of soap even around the corners and the edges.  
My finished soap

I love my new felted soap. I am exciting about ordering moisturizing and scented soaps so that I can make more little treasures for pampering myself. 

If you are looking for an easy and beautiful craft to learn, you may want to join me in wet felting.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely project. I love this! One day I'll find time to do this.