How to make your own felt soap to give as a fun holiday gift… or keep it for yourself! It’s such a great luxury item.
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Late last year we attended the alpaca festival. We wandered around the shops for the festival. I saw some bars of felt soap and was tempted to buy one- but they were $13 for a bar of the soap and I always feel a bit guilty spending money on an item that is typically pretty affordable (soap, that is, not felt soap).
Needless to say, when my friend got me into making soap, I decided I should try my own hand at making felt soap! It ended up being pretty easy, although felting the soap can be time consuming.
Supplies for Felt Soap
- Running hot water
- Nylon stockings or tulle
- Optional: Washboard
- Wool roving: I believe this may be cheaper to buy from a local store or off Etsy. But I ordered some online and my friend also gave me a bunch that she didn’t want. I noticed the pink kind didn’t have the color set properly as the color runs whenever I used the soap made with. I’m not sure if there’s a good way to avoid this happening.
How to Make Felt Soap
First, if you want to make the soap itself then you need to check out my Vanilla Lavender Soap tutorial. Make your bars of soap large because you’ll use some of the soap up during the felting process and you don’t want to be left with just a sliver of soap. Originally I made these with homemade soap, but I added some new photos of my process in December 2017 and these felt soap was made with Dove soap that I bought in bulk at Costco.
Optional: If you’re using square soap, use a knife or veggie peeler to round off the edges to your bar of soap.
Next you want to take your wool roving and wrap it around the soap. I wet my soap a bit to help it stick. Make sure you cover the entire bar of soap- you want it thick enough that you can’t see the soap, but thin enough that it’s not too bulky.
Once you’ve done this with one bar, wrap the bar in a clean nylon stocking or tulle. I cut some dollar store stockings up to use for this the first time but for my most recent batch of felt soap, I used tulle that I had leftover from upcycling wedding dresses into angel gowns. The stocking or tulle holds the roving in place until you finish felting the soap, but I think the tulle’s texture adds a bit of extra friction which sped up the process the second time around.
When I made these this first time, I rubbed two bars of soap against each other under hot water, alternating rubbing and squeezing the soaps. This took a really long time. You’re trying to mat and shrink the wool roving around the soap. Friction is what works and you want to rub in different directions.
The second time, I decided to use the washboard I found at a yardsale. It helped speed things up! I turned the water off for a lot of the process. I would scrub the tulle wrapped felt soap against the washboard in different directions, squeeze water out occasionally, then open up the tulle to see if the bar was felted enough.
The one thing that’s nice is that you can have young kids help out with the task if your water isn’t insanely hot. We had a couple kids over and each child made their own bar. This is my 4 year old, K, watching as I showed him how to do it. They were fairly entertained with the washboard and I think any project where kids get lots of soap on their hands is a good one, haha.
I LOVE how these turned out. They’re so pretty. And when I tried using them for the first time, it was totally worth all of the time and effort that they took to make. They’re so much fun to use, instead of using a wash cloth or loofah with your soap. Once the soap is all gone, you can still keep the wool to use to scrub dishes or you can cut a slit in there and pop some new soap inside. Very eco friendly!
Here’s a quick video of me felting the soap (the first time)- recorded by the 4 year old so it’s a bit wobbly.
Have you ever tried felted soap? Do you love it as much as I do?
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