Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Handmade Felted Soap Tutorial

How to make a bar of handmade felted woolly soap! 
(Please read all instructions thoroughly before beginning.   For a larger view of photos, click on each to open it full-size in a new window.)

Materials:
Approximately 1/2 ounce wool roving
1 rectangular bar of soap (3 oz.)
A small bowl
Access to warm water (a sink)
A hand towel or small cloth
A flat work surface
1 knee high stocking (optional)
Dish washing liquid (optional)




Basic Instructions:

1. On a flat surface, lay out a thin horizontal layer of white wool, 8 - 10 inches long and 3 - 4 inches wide. (Figure A)
2. Put the soap bar lengthwise at one end of the wool and roll it up to loosely encase it in the wool. (Figure B)
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for the width of the soap bar. (Figure C)
4.  Now the soap bar should have one horizontal layer (interior) and one vertical layer (exterior) of wool. It should be fully encased.  (Figure D)
5. To add stripes, lay out two small pieces of colored wool horizontally. Put the soap bar lengthwise at one end of the wool and roll it up loosely. (Figures E & F) You can also add vertical stripes or abstract embellishments.
(Optional Tip: Especially for beginners and children, I recommend inserting the wrapped soap bar into a knee high stocking and loosely tieing the top.  This allows the fibers to stay in place better as you felt the soap.)

6. Hold the wrapped soap bar firmly. Sprinkle warm water over it until it is thoroughly damp.  Gently set aside. (Figure G)
7. Prepare a bowl of very warm water to finish felting the soap. 
(Optional Tip:  Add a drop of dish soap to the water to speed up the process.)
8. Continue to occasionally dip the soap in the bowl of water as you firmly hold the fibers into place. Press the fibers against the soap bar for 5 - 7 minutes. Do NOT rub the wool at this stage!  It will displace the fibers. (Figure H)
9. Once the fibers begin to mat together, you may gently pat and rub the wool for an additional 5 - 7 minutes.  (Figure I) (If following the first optional tip, you can take the bar out of the stocking at this stage.) The soap bar should be completely felted after a total of 10 - 15 minutes of continuous wetted agitation.  The exterior felted wool layer should be smooth and taut next to the soap bar when it is finished. (Figure J)

10. Thoroughly rinse the soap bar.  Pat with a cloth to remove excess water.  Lay flat to dry.  (Figure K) Allow to dry 24 - 48 hours.  Store in a dry place after each use.




Some More Examples...



You can find soap felting kits available in my Etsy shop and my ArtFire shop. It is a fun, easy beginning felting project for most ages.  It also makes a great natural all-in-one soap and scrubby to use or give as a gift.



Copyright © 2010 Shalana Frisby.  All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission.

7 comments:

  1. Love it so pretty, so I posted it :) http://felting.craftgossip.com/2010/02/10/how-to-make-a-bar-of-handmade-felted-woolly-soap/

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  2. Thank you SOOOO much for posting this 'recipe'. I've loved these little soaps for quite awhile and wondered how they did it. The kids and I will have a blast!!

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  3. Fascinating tutorial Shalana.... Soap in a sweater is a very very novel..neat idea.... For all of the bath and beauty shops I have been in ...I have never seen anything like these....

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  4. What a great tutorial! Off to try it out now :D

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. These are great! I can't wait to try them. I think I might have to give them as mother's day presents! Thanks.

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  7. Hello Shalana.
    It's an excellent and well-written tutorial! Thank you!

    And I want to ask you - may I translate this lesson to russian and post it to our most popular creative site and forum Demiart? (Link: http://demiart.ru/forum/)
    Of course I sign this translate by your name and write a link to this webpage.
    This tutorial can inspire many russian people to make some beautiful things :)

    ReplyDelete

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