Feltmaking: blfelt

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You can make your own felt easily, in your bath tub.

You will need a flat surface to work on, one where it doesn’t matter if it gets wet. I made the felt in my bath tub.

In summer months, I make felt outdoors, in a kid’s swimming pool. You will need access to hot water. An electric kettle will work fine or a hose attached to your hot water tap.

To make a 20″ square piece of felt, you will need approx. 5 – 6 oz. of pure wool roving. For this project I used dyed merino wool top.

felt making

Place some towels onto the flat surface or floor.

Place a straw beach mat over the towels.
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Pull the clean wool roving into small sections, about 4 – 6 inches in length, depending on the wool staple.

Place these wool pieces onto the beach mat, spreading the wool evenly across the mat.

Lay the wool pieces all in the same direction – vertically, and overlap each piece slightly, until the beach mat is covered, creating a 24″ square.

Sprinkle on a thin layer of laundry soap (powder or liquid).

Lay another layer of wool roving over the first layer, but in the opposite direction. (horizontally).

Sprinkle the layer lightly with a bit more laundry soap.

Repeat the above steps, until the wool batt measures about 1.5 – 2 inches in height.

You should have about 4 – 6 layers of wool, each alternating in direction.
The top layer can be decorative. Use different coloured wool roving and even bits of yarn for your design.

Add a bit more laundry soap


Fold the remaining length of beach mat over the fleece batt and roll up the beach mat.

Fill the bath tub with 1 – 2 inches of hot water.

Immerse the rolled up beach mat in the hot water, and turn it, to wet the wool thoroughly.

Roll the beach mat back and forth, working your hands evenly across the mat.

Keep the mat rolling in the hot water, turning it over, for about 3 – 4 minutes.

It is heat and friction that causes wool to felt, not pressure, so you don’t need to press really hard.

Remove the mat from the bathtub, and unroll it gently onto the towel.

The felt is quite fragile at this point, so gently lift it from the beach mat, and turn it 1/4 turn.

Reroll the beach mat and place it back into the hot bathtub water.
If the water has cooled, drain the tub, and refill with hot water.
Roll and turn the beach mat for another 3 -4 minutes.
Turn the felt another 3 or 4 times, and reroll in the hot water for about 3 – 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 bath towel, place it on the floor and stomp on it (barefoot) to remove the excess water.

Lay flat to dry.
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Author: Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about tradtional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi