Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental, and always interesting.
How to Make a Wet-Felted Coin Purse
Wet- and needle-felting techniques are used to create this charming coin purse. A cute sew-on metal frame completes the project.
I hope that, along the way, you will learn a few techniques that you may not have encountered elsewhere. I aim always to make wet felting interesting and easy for everyone.
What You Need
- A small quantity of white wool roving
- A small quantity of colored roving
- One 90-mm polystyrene ball
- One 70-mm polystyrene ball (can substitute with a small balloon)
- Grated olive oil soap or dishwashing liquid.
- Sushi mat
- Tape measure
- A small sharp pair of scissors
- Sewing needle
- Felting needle
- Embroidery thread
- Tea towel or hand towel
- Salad spinner
- A small balloon
1. Pull Off Roving to Cover the Ball
Start by pulling off a piece of white wool roving which should fit comfortably around the ball with just a small overlap. The loose ends should then be needle felted to the ball.
2. Needle Felt the Roving to the Ball
Wrap the white roving around the ball. It should lie as flat as possible against the sides of the ball.
Tuck it firmly around the ball, and needle felt the loose fibers to the ball. Ensure that the layer is evenly spread throughout with no thin spots anywhere.
Thin spots should be filled with slivers of fiber.
3. Cover Both Ends in White Wool
Add more wool fibers to both ends of the ball, as indicated in the images below. Smooth the fibers down with both hands and needle felt the wool to the ball.
4. Cover With Colored Fibers
Repeat the first layer, but this time, cover the white layer with a layer of colored wool. You may wish to use several colors!
I combined a few different fibers using a pair of hand carders, as shown below.
5. Smooth Down the Fibers
The freezer bag is a non-essential item, but one can be used to effectively help smooth down the fibers. I find it easier to roll the ball on a sushi mat. I feel I am less likely to disturb the fibers using this method.
A sushi mat is highly recommended, not only for this project but for many small projects.
Freezer Bag Method
If you want to try the freezer bag method, add a little water to the bag and then place your wool-covered ball into the bag. Gently massage the ball with your fingers held around the bag until the wool becomes smooth. Retain it in the bag in the bag until fully felted, or take it out and roll it on a tea towel or a sushi mat.
6. Wet the Wool With Hot Soapy Water
Apply hot soapy water with the sponge. Complete this stage by pressing down the wool with your fingers as you move around the ball. It should be wet but not saturated.
7. Roll Gently on a Sushi Mat
8. Dry With a Salad Spinner
I love using a salad spinner for small projects like this. They are great for taking out excess water from a project. They are also very helpful when it comes to felting. Put the project into the salad spinner and spin until the mechanism begins to feel stiff. This is a sure sign that the wool is becoming a little dry and that too much soapy water has collected in the bottom of the container.
Lift the colander part of the strainer and dip the ball back into the soapy water below. If there is too much water in the bottom, pour it out and repeat the spinning process.
Every now and then, take the ball out, wet it again, and roll it between your hands. Doing it this way will ensure a lovely smooth finish.
In no time at all, the ball will soon become felted.
Now, who said that salad spinners were made just for drying lettuce leaves?
Spin for about thirty seconds, and check the contents; if too dry, wet again from the contents in the bottom of the salad spinner. Roll between the hands every now and again.
9. Rinse When Felted and Then Roll the Ball on a Kitchen Towel
10. Add the Decoration
Needle felt as desired—examples are contained in this tutorial.
11. Wet With Hot Soapy Water to Felt the Needle-Felted Designs
The needle felting areas will need felting in order for them to be incorporated into the rest of the wool. Wet with hot soapy water. Rub gently at first and then roll hard on a sushi mat or kitchen towel until felted.
Once they begin to felt, you can try the salad spinner again for faster results.
12. Rinse and Roll
Finally, rinse in hot and then cold water and roll on a tea cloth or put in the salad spinner.
13. Measure the Opening
Measure 6 cm across the top of the ball to make an opening for the coin purse.
14. Place a Marker
Place a marker; in this case, I used the needle and the tape measure. Cut along the edge of the tape measure. The distance should measure approximately 6 cm for a purse this size.
15. Cut the Opening With Small, Sharp Scissors
16. Pull the Cut Open
Stretch the cut area slightly until you can see the area below. Make sure all the fibers have been cut right through to the ball below.
17. Wet With Hot Water and Remove the Ball
Take the ball to the sink and run hot water over it.
As you do this, you will feel the ball stretch under your fingers. Gently ease the ball through the opening.
18. Add the Smaller Ball or the Balloon
Once the ball has been removed, rinse the project under running water until the water runs free of soap. Put the small polystyrene ball into the cavity left behind. There will be room to spare.
Or add a small quantity of water to a small balloon, and blow it up, just enough to allow you to insert it into the cavity. It should be blown up to about the same size as the 70 mm ball which you may have purchased, especially for this project.
Please see the images below.
As seen here, I used the balloon out of preference for the polystyrene ball.
19. Massage the Opening
Begin massaging the purse with hot soapy water. Concentrate on the area around the opening at first.
You will soon feel the fibers contract as the fibers shrink back to the required size.
20. Rinse With Hot and Cold Water
Finally, rinse in both hot and cold water.
If using the polystyrene ball, remove the ball before it becomes too tightly enclosed in the cavity. If this happens, you will have to put it back under hot water and stretch it to get it out.
Note: This will not happen if you use a balloon.
21. Full the Project
Full the project. This can be done by hitting the project against the edge of the sink or a waterproof table. You will soon feel and see the fibers shrink back.
22. Gather Your Sewing Materials for the Frame
Gather together embroidery thread and scissors. Open the curved metal frame and place it over the cut edges, as shown here. Use the scissors to tuck the cut edge under the lip inside the frame.
Be careful not to pop the balloon with your sewing needle.
23. Sew on the Curved Metal Purse Frame
Sew in the small metal arched kiss frames with embroidery thread. These little frames add the perfect finishing touch to this project.
The video included below, though spoken in Chinese, does a superb job of describing how to do this.
Use a small sharp pair of scissors to push the edges up into the frame before stitching.
Try Not to Burst the Balloon!
I leave the balloon inside until I have sewn on the arched frame.
Any excess water can always be removed with the salad spinner, and the project can be left to dry, either with the balloon left in or out.
Share Your Comments
I love to receive comments or answer any questions you may have on any of my felting tutorials.
I hope you enjoy making this project as much as I did.
© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 28, 2019:
You are very welcome Lalaine, I hope you enjoy making these little felt coin purses.
Lalaine on November 28, 2019:
It's so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 29, 2019:
Thank you Gloria, the feedback is much appreciated.
gloria minetto on January 29, 2019:
Beautiful tutorial, explained very well.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 17, 2017:
Je vous en prie. Je vous souhaite un succès avec votre projet.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 22, 2017:
You are very welcome Jeannette. It is always lovely to receive such positive feedback.
jeannette on February 22, 2017:
Thank you for this lovely tutorial. I love the idea of a pretty little change purse.
I hope to make this using your instruction. They are very detailed and I think will be easy to follow.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 22, 2016:
I am glad you enjoyed this tutorial. This project is mostly wet felted with a just a little needle felting. In fact you could probably get away with just wet felting it if you did not wish to add the spots to the coin purse.
Interesting to hear about your Mother and her needle felting. Most of my own work is wet felted though I do sometimes like to use needle felting to add embellishment or detail as was done with this project.
I have not had a problem with moths and don't know if they are prevalent in Naples, Florida but would imagine that you would be pretty safe if you keep your wool in a large sealed plastic container, preferably not in plastic bags as humidity may felt the wool. I find that wool is best kept in thick paper bags inside a large plastic container with a lid.
I hope you decide to experiment with needle or wet felting. Felt is a wonderful medium to work with.
Marilyn Pahl on December 22, 2016:
Enjoyed the tutorial on making this darling little coin purse. I came from Toledo, Ohio and my grandmother years ago did needle felting as her profession. She made birds, flowers, vines/leaves for a millinery store. Her work was in high demand, and she had her own studio at home that had a window with an eastern exposer. I live in Naples, Florida and would love to work needle felting, but concern myself with semi-tropical weather here. Should the wool be in air-tight containers? Will I have a problem with bugs?
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 11, 2016:
Glad you like them. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Stacy Birch on April 11, 2016:
These remind me of old fashioned bags, so pretty.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 08, 2015:
Be careful Suzi, this hobby can be addictive! If I can encourage others to learn how to do wet felt then I will have done my job. It is always nice to receive a HOTD and this one was no exception. Your visits are always valued and appreciated. Thank you so much
Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 08, 2015:
What a fab craft Sally, so new to me! Love this style of coin purse and definitely on my to do list now. Thanks for exceptional detail on all stages, much appreciated! Delighted you received so many comments and a worthy HOTD!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 08, 2015:
I hope that you enjoy making them these little coin purses as much as I did. Small is definitely very cute in this case.
Kierstin Gunsberg from Traverse City, Michigan on April 07, 2015:
Very cool tutorial! I love to wet felt but I haven't been all that ambitious in my endeavors so far. Someday I'll have to give this