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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 which you may not have encountered elsewhere. My aim is always to make wet felting interesting and very 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
  • 1 90-mm polystyrene ball
  • 1 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

Scroll to Continue

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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 a 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 out and roll on a tea towel or on 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, 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, 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 images below.

As seen here, I used the balloon out of preference to 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

24. Try Other Designs!

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.