Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wet-Felted Soap and Beads

After getting used to needle felting for the past month, I decided yesterday that it was time to try a bit of easy wet-felting. I'd attempted wet felting a couple of times before, with poor results, so I didn't want to try anything too complicated this time around.

First, I made a felted bar of soap. Based on the directions I had read online---and my previous unsuccessful felting experiments---I was prepared for the process to take a long time. I was amazed when it took almost no time at all!

I fluffed up the wool into a criss-crossed mat, wrapped it around a bar of our sheep's milk soap, dipped it in warm water, and gently rubbed the wool. In almost no time at all, it had formed a felted case around the soap.

The next test was to see how the felted soap worked, so today I took it in the shower with me. I was very pleased with the gentle exfoliating action of the wool. It had just the right amount of scrubbiness, like a good washcloth.

I'm used to using store-bought shower gel, so I had to remind myself that our sheep's milk soap is olive-oil based, which means that it cleans really well but it doesn't produce lots of big, showy lather. I got plenty clean, I just had to not expect a lot of bubbles. At this rate, the bar of soap is going to last a long, long time!

My second little experiment with wet felting was to make a couple of wool beads. I've been making wool beads by needle felting, and I wanted to see how the wet felted ones compared.

I just took a little wad of wool, got my hands wet and soapy, and rolled the wool around and around between my palms until the wool formed a sphere. Again, the process worked fairly quickly. Much more quickly than when I make the needle felted beads.

Visually, the two types of beads look nearly identical. In this photo, there's a handful of needle felted beads at the top, and two wet felted beads at the bottom.

The difference, though, is in the feel of the beads. The needle felted beads are sturdier and more evenly and thoroughly felted all the way through, while the wet felted beads were a bit softer and without quite as much structural integrity.

So, my verdict is a thumbs up for the wet felted soap, but I'll be sticking with needle felting for my beads.


Christi said...

Neat idea with the felted soap. I love what you are up to with re establishing the farm and a back to nature lifestyle! Keep up the great work and posts!

Abby Rogers said...

I see that you have England listed as one of your interests! Perhaps you would like my new blog:

As often as possible I will post photographs of glorious vistas, charming close-ups, and interesting tidbits of life in Great Britain for the pleasure of Anglophiles everywhere!

Cabol said...

The beads kinda look like bunny poo. Okay, they look a LOT like bunny poo. It probably has something to do with way they are arranged. Maybe someday I'll do some more needle felting. It's fun.

Nancy Chase said...

LOL! Now that you mention it, I guess they do. It would be a BIG bunny though! :-)