How to Wet Felt...
You will need:
A sheet of bubble wrap, larger than the size of your project.
A towel, larger than the size of your project.
Netting net curtain, larger than the size of your project.
Assorted colours of wool roving.
A heat resistant water container.
A large wooden dowel.
Soap (I like to use olive oil soap).
Bamboo mat, larger than the size of your project.
Laying out the project...
Lay out your towel, then bamboo mat (with the wood lengths running left to right) then bubble wrap, bubble side up, on a water-safe work surface.
Next, gently pull your wool using your thumb against the side of your hand below the index finger. Pulling gently will give 10-15 cm (4-6 inch) long pieces.
Arrange each wisp on the bubble wrap laying each in the same direction. Try to make the layer as even as possible, filling in thin spots. Cover the area that will be your picture area.
The next layer should be laid in the opposite direction. Make this layer even and consistent as well. Two layers is enough for a picture. If you are making something more substantial continue to add layers.
Add another one to three layers of roving, alternating fibre directions.
Once you have completed layering the wisps of wool, you can add any design elements or embellishments to the top layer.
Carefully place the netting/tulle over the top of your project, making sure not to displace any of the designs you have made or the structure of the roving layers.
Felting the project...
Fill the water container with hot water and melted soap. Use plenty of soap, so that the water feels soapy to your fingers. The exact amount will vary depending on the volume of water and the type of soap. Thoroughly wet the wool, but try to avoid using so much water that it begins to pool. If you add too much water, just carefully blot the excess water with a towel.
Once the wool has been wetted, gently start rubbing the netting with a plastic bag or your hands over the project. You will notice that soap begins to foam as you rub. Continue to rub for at least 7 to 10 minutes. This rubbing will begin the felting process.
Once you have rubbed your project, place the wooden dowel at one end of the towel. Carefully begin to roll the project up around the wood taking up the bamboo, bubble wrap, wool and net. Continue rolling to the top of the project.
Once it is rolled tightly, begin rolling the whole thing back and forth. Make sure to roll in long strokes so that the whole parcel is evenly rolled.
Roll approximately 30 times, unroll and turn everything except the bamboo mat 90 degrees clockwise. Roll again and repeat rolling 30 times. Repeat this process twice more, turning and rolling clockwise until the project is back to where it started.
Carefully lift the netting from the top of the wool. Gently pinch the top - this is called a pinch test. If fibres pull up, your project has not felted enough.
Repeat the rolling if necessary. Try the pinch test again. If very few fibres pull up, your felting is complete on this side.
Turn the wool over and repeat the rolling for the back side of the project, if the project is for something substantial.
Once both sides have been rolled, peel the wool off both the bubble wrap and netting. Fold into quarters or thirds.
Prepare two bowls, one with very cold water and one with hot water. Place the folded wool into the hot water and pat it gently to release the soap. Do not squeeze or twist, it will alter the shape!
Remove the wool from the hot water after a few seconds, gently squeeze the water out, and then place the wool into the cold water. Allow it to set in the cold water for a few seconds and then gently squeeze the cold water out. Repeat these alternating hot and cold dunks four or five times.
Make sure that all the soap is rinsed from the wool. The hot and cold water might need to be changed if too much soap builds up in them.
Once the wool is completely rinsed, lay the finished felted wool out to air dry. You have just completed your first wet felted wool piece!
We stock all the materials needed on our website or they are available online.