Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How to Make Felted Soap

Since one of the options in my current giveaway is a Soap Felting Kit, I thought I'd make an instructional video and post it here, so everyone can see how easy it is to make your own felted soap.

Prefer written instructions? No problem! Below are the basic soap-felting instructions that come with our kit:

Felted Soap Instructions

Felting over a bar of soap is easy and fun. Besides the soap and wool included in this kit, the only things you need to provide are a bowl of hot water and about 15 minutes of your time.

Your hands will get wet and soapy while you’re doing this, so you’ll want to work on a counter or tabletop that won’t be harmed if it gets damp. You may want to set out a clean towel to wipe your hands on, and to set your finished soap on to dry.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

1. Fill a medium sized mixing bowl with hot water. The water should be as hot as you can comfortably put your hands in. Don’t make it so hot that you burn yourself!

2. Remove the wrapper and label from your soap.

3. Take the wool out of its bag and set it nearby so you can reach it easily, but where it won’t accidentally get wet before you’re ready to work with it.

4. You’ll find that your wool separates naturally into fist-sized lumps because of the way that it has been carded. Take one lump and gently unroll and spread it so that it is fairly flat and even. Wrap this pad of wool gently but snugly around your bar of soap.

5. Take a second lump of wool, spread it out, and wrap it around your soap in the other direction. If you wrapped the wool lengthwise the first time, wrap it around the width of the soap this time. Try to spread all the fibers around so that all surfaces of the soap are covered.

6. Repeat the previous step, always alternating the direction that you’re wrapping the wool, until your soap is thoroughly covered. I usually find that 3 lumps of wool are about the right amount. You will probably have some wool left over when you’re done, so don’t feel like you need to use all of it just because it’s there.

7. Once your soap is thoroughly covered with wool, cup it in both hands to hold the wool firmly in place, and dip it into the hot water. Still holding the wool in place, lift the soap from the water.

8. Gently begin to pat and press the wet wool against your soap. Don’t use too much pressure at first, or you’ll slide the wool out of place and expose the bare soap (If that happens, slide the wool back into place before you continue). The soap will start to lather. Just keep patting, being sure to show equal attention to all sides.

9. As the wool starts to felt, you’ll feel it begin to hold together on its own, without you having to hold it in place. At that point you can begin rubbing the wool more vigorously. If you need to, you can wet your hands or dip the soap in the water again. Slide the soap through your hands over and over, flipping it frequently so that you’re rubbing in all directions. Keep doing this for about 10-15 minutes or until the wool has formed a solid felt pad all around your soap.

10. You’re done! Rinse the soap in the bowl of water one final time to wash off the suds, then place it on a towel to dry.

UPDATE: If you've read all this and you're asking yourself, "Yes, but WHY would I want to make felted soap?" read my followup post.


Katy @ Pie Bird said...

How wonderful! Thanks for the amazingly detailed tutorial :) Love my necklace!

Heather O. said...

thanks Nancy!!! great vid!

Camaspermaculture said...

Jus curious-Why would anyone want to felt their soap? What happens when there is no more soap. Can you use the felt for anything else?

Nancy Chase said...

Wool felted around a bar of soap forms a natural scrubby, with pleasant, gentle exfoliation, like a good washcloth.

It also makes the soap easier to grip. As the soap is used, the wool shrinks to fit what is left, so you can use the whole bar, avoiding those slippery little end bits of soap that are hard to hold, slip down the drain, and are wasted.

When the soap is gone, you can even cut a slit into the remaining felt "jacket" and use it as a small pouch! Or fill it with catnip for an all-natural cat toy.

Also, if you've never tried felting before, felting around a bar of soap is a quick, easy project, good for a first timer.

It's easy enough for kids to do, so it makes a fun craft activity for them. They may even enjoy bath time more if they get to use the results of their project! :-)