Felt is made of layers of wool that have been compressed through heat and friction. Here is how to make handmade felt.
- You will need a flat surface to work on, where it doesn’t matter if it gets wet. (outside, floor, countertop or large table) Place a large towel onto the flat surface, and cover it with a straw beach mat.
- Pull the clean wool roving into short sections, x-about 4 – 6 inches in length, depending on the length of the wool staple.
- Place these wool pieces evenly across the beach mat. Lay them all in one direction,(vertically) overlapping each piece slightly, until the beach mat is fully covered, creating a 24″ square.
- Sprinkle the layer lightly with laundry soap. Place a second layer of wool pieces over the first layer, horizontally, and sprinkle on a bit more laundry soap.
- Repeat the layers of wool again, until the batt measures x-about 1.5 – 2 inches in height. Make sure each layer alternates in direction, vertically/horizontally.
- The top layer can be decorative, using different coloured wools.
- Fold the remaining length of beach mat over the wool batt, and roll up the beach mat.
- Fill your bathtub with x-about 1 – 2 inches of hot tap water. Place the rolled beach mat into the bathtub and roll the mat back and forth, working your hands evenly across the mat.
- Keep the mat rolling in the hot water for x-about 3 – 4 minutes. It is friction that causes the wool to felt.
- Remove the mat from the bathtub and place it on the towel. Carefully unroll the mat, and turn the felt 1/4 turn. The felt is quite fragile at this point, so be gentle.
- Reroll the mat and put it back into the bathtub. If the water has cooled, drain the tub and add more hot water. Roll the mat again for x-about 3 – 4 minutes.
- Turn the felt another 3 times, and reroll for x-about 5 minutes between each turn.
- Test the felt by rubbing it with your finger. The fibres shouldn’t move and the felt should be quite thick. If it is still soft, turn it again and keep rolling it in the hot water.
- Remove the felt from the beach mat and rinse in cool water.
- Roll the felt in a towel, place it on the floor and stomp on it, to remove the excess water. Lay flat to dry.
- You should have at least 4 layers of wool, criss-crossed. For thicker felt, use more layers.
- As you are placing the layers of wool, make sure that they are even – no holes.
- You can make felt outside, in the summer. A child’s swimming pool works great. You just need a hot water source.
- The felt can be cut and sewn into a wide variety of projects, hats, bags, vests, Christmas decorations.
- While the felt is wet, it can also be shaped by placing over a mold and letting it dry.
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