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How to Make Tiny Polka-Dot Wet-Felted Coin Purses

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental, and always interesting.

A small polka-dot coin purse with a metal arch kiss frame.

A small polka-dot coin purse with a metal arch kiss frame.

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.

Alternate design: A poppy-covered felt coin purse.

Alternate design: A poppy-covered felt coin purse.

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
  • Sponge

Optional Items

  • Salad spinner
  • A small balloon
Merino wool roving and needle felting tool.

Merino wool roving and needle felting tool.

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.

Polystyrene balls and white merino wool roving

Polystyrene balls and white merino wool roving

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.

Attach white wool roving to the ball with a felting needle.

Attach white wool roving to the ball with a felting needle.

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.

Sides covered with white roving, both ends exposed, waiting to be covered with wool.

Sides covered with white roving, both ends exposed, waiting to be covered with wool.

Attaching wool roving to one end of the ball.

Attaching wool roving to one end of the ball.

Smooth down the wool and needle felt into place, just enough to maintain the shape of the ball.

Smooth down the wool and needle felt into place, just enough to maintain the shape of the ball.

The ball covered in white merino wool roving.

The ball covered in white merino wool roving.

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.

I blended the wool, using a wool carder - not required as you can use already prepared colors.

I blended the wool, using a wool carder - not required as you can use already prepared colors.

Sides covered in merino wool roving.

Sides covered in merino wool roving.

Needle felt the wool to the ball, just enough to keep the wool in place.

Needle felt the wool to the ball, just enough to keep the wool in place.

Freezer bag, sponge, felting needle and hot soapy water.

Freezer bag, sponge, felting needle and hot soapy water.

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.

Put a little hot soapy water into a plastic bag and roll gently until smooth. (An alternative to rolling on a sushi mat.  I find the former easier.

Put a little hot soapy water into a plastic bag and roll gently until smooth. (An alternative to rolling on a sushi mat. I find the former easier.

Dampen down the fibers gently with hot soapy water and then  press them flat against the ball.

Dampen down the fibers gently with hot soapy water and then press them flat against the ball.

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

Roll with circular movements on the sushi mat or a tea towel.

Roll with circular movements on the sushi mat or a tea towel.

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?

Salad Spinner - a great felting tool

Salad Spinner - a great felting tool

Cover and spin for for thirty seconds.

Cover and spin for for thirty seconds.

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.

Cover and spin.

Cover and spin.

9. Rinse When Felted and Then Roll the Ball on a Kitchen Towel

Rinse and then roll on a dry kitchen towel.

Rinse and then roll on a dry kitchen towel.

10. Add the Decoration

Needle felt as desired—examples are contained in this tutorial.

Needle felt design on surface if required.

Needle felt design on surface if required.

Needle felting white polka dots on the surface of the felted ball.

Needle felting white polka dots on the surface of the felted ball.

Wet in the hot soapy water.

Wet in the hot soapy water.

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.

Roll on sushi mat until dots are felted.

Roll on sushi mat until dots are felted.

12. Rinse and Roll

Finally, rinse in hot and then cold water and roll on a tea cloth or put in the salad spinner.

Rinse and roll on a dry tea towel.

Rinse and roll on a dry tea towel.

13. Measure the Opening

Measure 6 cm across the top of the ball to make an opening for the coin purse.

Measure 6 cm across the top of the ball - between the dots.

Measure 6 cm across the top of the ball - between the dots.

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

Cut across the top with sharp scissors.

Cut across the top with 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.

Stretch the opening slightly.

Stretch the opening slightly.

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.

Place ball under hot tap.

Place ball under hot tap.

Push the ball downwards and remove the polystyrene ball.

Push the ball downwards and remove the polystyrene ball.

The ball has been removed from the project.

The ball has been removed from the project.

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.

Inflating the balloon with a little water and air to approximately the same size as the small size polystyrene ball.

Inflating the balloon with a little water and air to approximately the same size as the small size polystyrene ball.

Massage with your hands using hot soapy water.

Massage with your hands using hot soapy water.

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.

Rinse in cold water until the ball shrinks to the required size.

Rinse in cold water until the ball shrinks 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.

With the ball still inside, hit it against a table edge or against the sides of the sink until it shrinks back as shown here.

With the ball still inside, hit it against a table edge or against the sides of the sink until it shrinks back as shown here.

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.

Items required to put your project together, scissors, arched purse frame, thread.

Items required to put your project together, scissors, arched purse frame, thread.

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.

I left the balloon inflated so that I could maintain that lovely shape until it dried completely.

I left the balloon inflated so that I could maintain that lovely shape until it dried completely.

The finished felt coin purse.

The finished felt coin purse.

A group of completed, needle/wet felted coin purses.

A group of completed, needle/wet felted coin purses.

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

Comments

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:

Bonjour Chantal

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.

Thank you.

Sally.

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.

Regards

Jeannette

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 22, 2016:

Marilyn Pahl 

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:

Stacy Birch

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:

Suzi HQ

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

Sally

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:

Kierstin Gunsberg

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