Felt is very easy to make. You can use it to make anything from a brooch to a wallet – whatever your imagination suggests! I love making felt as it is the first known fabric to mankind (wool fibres used to be matted together between pieces of wood) and you are making your own piece of material to work with.
What you need to make felt:
Unspun wool which looks like thick sausages of fluff (I use merino wool), hot water, a bar of olive oil soap, bubble wrap, and space near a sink that you can get wet.
Here’s how to make it:
1: Start pulling the wool apart into pieces and lay the chunks next to each other, going in one direction, on the bubble wrap (with the bubbles on the underside) and form a rough square.
2: Make a second layer with the wool pieces going in the opposite direction and repeat so that you have 3 layers going horizontally, vertically and then horizontally. You can mix and match the colours which gives the marbled effect which you can see in the flower brooch.
3: Pour hot water from a recently boiled kettle on the wool gently (so the wool doesn’t move too much) and dab the olive oil soap all over the damp wool.
4: Put another piece of bubble wrap on top and start massaging (!) the soapy wool. You may want to wear rubber gloves so you don’t scold yourself. The wool gradually starts matting as the fibres weave together. You can massage it for a long time if you want very tough felt or for fluffier felt for less time. You may need to add more water as you go.
5: Once the wool seems sufficiently felted you can hang it up to dry! Then you can cut it into shapes, embellish it with buttons and bits or sew the square up two sides to make a purse or anything else!
Pieces of felt hanging up to dry.
A purse on unspun wool.