How to Make a Cozy Wet Felted Hot Water Bottle Cover

Updated on March 4, 2019
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Wet Felted Hot Water Bottle Cover
Wet Felted Hot Water Bottle Cover | Source

Hot Water Bottles

Some of us are old enough to remember the old fashioned brass and metal bedwarmers which are more often than not only seen in local auctions or antique shops these days. There is no doubt that these bed warmers were hard wearing and very efficient conductors of heat. They are now much valued by collectors of today. They were replaced by Stonewear bottle warmers and later by the modern rubber hot water bottle. Designers continue to seek additional ways to improve their features but the rubber hot water bottle remains a firm favorite, especially with woman and children.

This tutorial provides you with an opportunity to create a cozy cover for the modern hot water bottle. The fibers used in this wet felting tutorial are soft and natural. The end result is a well-fitting cover that is both hugable and soft to the touch. Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 250 - 280 grams Botany Waste which is more often than not a delicious 'lucky dip' of Merino Wool fibers with a few decorative fibers included.
  • Or, 250 - 280 grams Merino wool roving: In colors of your own choice
  • Embellishment for decoration, such as a few silk fibers which can be added to the surface of the hot water bottle cover.
  • A Standard Hot Water Bottle
  • A Template
  • A heavy-duty bamboo blind
  • An old towel
  • Warm, soapy water in a squeeze bottle
  • Paper on which to create a water bottle design
  • A sheet of foam underfloor layment, bubble wrap or plastic on which a template can be cut from. Laminate underfloor layment is the perfect choice for this template because it can be re-used many times over
  • Scissors: Make sure you have a sharp pair!
  • A narrow strip of leather. (Mine came from an old belt)
  • A Tumble Dryer (Not essential but it minimizes the time and effort spent to complete this project)
  • A Scanner or Printer (Handy but not essential)
  • 2 Small circles of Felt left over from a previous project or you may use 2 circles of leather.

How to Make the Template

  1. Draw around the Hot Water Bottle as shown and add a surround of about 1 inch before cutting out the paper template.
  2. Put the template onto a scanner (if you have one) and set it to print at 145%, (actual size plus 45% which should take care of the shrinkage which will inevitably take place.
  3. If you do not have a printer/scanner to hand draw the template as shown in the 2nd image which is shown below.
  4. Tape the printed pages together to form one template.
  5. Use the paper template to create a template cut from underfloor layment, bubble wrap or thick plastic sheeting.

Draw the Template!

Draw around the hot water bottle with a felt tip pen.
Draw around the hot water bottle with a felt tip pen. | Source
Add on the approximately 2 1/2 " to the sides and approximately  5 1/2" to the long sides as shown. that is if you do not have a printer to hand.
Add on the approximately 2 1/2 " to the sides and approximately 5 1/2" to the long sides as shown. that is if you do not have a printer to hand. | Source

1. Prepare the Working Surface

  • Place an old towel down onto a waterproof surface.
  • Put a large heavy duty bamboo blind down onto the towel.
  • Put the prepared template down onto the heavy duty bamboo blind

Botany Waste

A small sample of Botany Waste from World of Wool.
A small sample of Botany Waste from World of Wool. | Source

2. Side 1 of Layer 1

  • Put down an even layer of Merino Wool fibers as shown on the template below.

The template being covered in Merino wool fibers.
The template being covered in Merino wool fibers. | Source

3. Wet With Warm Soapy Water

  • Sprinkle the project using warm soapy water from a squeeze bottle.

Wetting the fibers with warm soapy water.
Wetting the fibers with warm soapy water. | Source

4. Cover with Bubble Wrap or Underfloor Layment

  • Wet the surface to facilitate easy movement of the fingers when rubbing the surface.

Wetting the surface of the underfloor layment to facilitate easy flattening of the fibers below.
Wetting the surface of the underfloor layment to facilitate easy flattening of the fibers below. | Source

5. Rub the Surface Well

  • Flatten the fibers by pushing down on them and rub well until flattened.

Rubbing and smoothing down the wet fibers
Rubbing and smoothing down the wet fibers | Source

6. Remove the Bubble Wrap or Underfloor Layment

  • Gently lift the bubble wrap from the wool without displacing the fibers below.

Lifting off the layment to check the flattened fibers below.
Lifting off the layment to check the flattened fibers below. | Source

7. Turn the Template Over

  • Fold the loose fibers over the edges of the template
  • Use your fingers and a little warm soapy water as needed.

Neatening the edges of the template
Neatening the edges of the template | Source

8. Side 2 of Layer 1

  • Cover the 2nd side with an even layer of Merino Wool Roving.

Cover the 2nd side with fiber and wet with warm soapy water.
Cover the 2nd side with fiber and wet with warm soapy water. | Source

9. Side 2 of Layer 1

  • Cover and wet the surface of the 2nd side.

Wet the surface to provide easy movement
Wet the surface to provide easy movement | Source

10. Rub Well

  • Force the water out towards the edges by pushing down on the surface.
  • Rub well.

Rub the surface of the laminate to flatten the wet fibers below.
Rub the surface of the laminate to flatten the wet fibers below. | Source

11. Flip the Template Over

  • Flip the template over and prepare to neaten the edges.

Source

12. Neaten the Edges

  • Fold the loose fibers over the edges of the template.
  • Use your fingers and a little warm soapy water as required.

Flip the template over and neaten by folding the wet wool over the edges.
Flip the template over and neaten by folding the wet wool over the edges. | Source

13. Repeat Layers 1 and 2 Two More Times

  • Continue as before until you have 3 even layers of fiber on both sides.
  • The layers should we fairly thick, and even without any holes as shown below.

Cover both sides of the template as before.  Repeat until you have 3 even layers of fiber on both sides.
Cover both sides of the template as before. Repeat until you have 3 even layers of fiber on both sides. | Source

The Template Covered With 3 Layers on Both Sides

3 layers of Merino wool fibers have now added to both sides of the template.
3 layers of Merino wool fibers have now added to both sides of the template. | Source

14. Roll Inside a Large Bamboo Blind

  • Roll the project inside the bamboo blind.
  • Roll gently at first so as not to displace the fibers inside the mat.
  • Increase the tightness and the firmness of the rolling motion as the fibers begin to tighten.

Roll the project loosely inside a large bamboo blind.  Roll very gently at first so as not to displace the fibers.
Roll the project loosely inside a large bamboo blind. Roll very gently at first so as not to displace the fibers. | Source

15. Turn the Project Inside the Bamboo Blind

  • Keep on turning the project inside the bamboo blind to ensure that the fibers shrink evenly from all sides.

Keep on changing the direction of the roll.to facilitate even shrinkage from all sides and roll more firmly as the fibers begin to tighten under your fingers.
Keep on changing the direction of the roll.to facilitate even shrinkage from all sides and roll more firmly as the fibers begin to tighten under your fingers. | Source

16. Roll until the Template Starts to Buckle

  • Shrinkage inside the bamboo blind will soon become evident.
  • The template will start to buckle as shrinkage takes place.
  • Perform a 'pinch test' to ensure that the fibers cannot be plucked between your fingers.

The wool will shrink and the template will buckle and curl upwards.
The wool will shrink and the template will buckle and curl upwards. | Source

17. Put the Project Into a Tumble Dryer

  • Alternatively, you can put the project under hot and then cold water.
  • Rinse until the water runs clear and then either drop the project onto a hard surface (the floor) or sink top.
  • Or you can hit the project hard against an outside wall.
  • Hit it from all directions so that even shrinkage takes place.

A 'pinch test' reveals that the fibers no longer move under your fingers.  Further shrinkage is required either in a tumble dryer to as described above.
A 'pinch test' reveals that the fibers no longer move under your fingers. Further shrinkage is required either in a tumble dryer to as described above. | Source

18. Shrinking in a Tumble Dryer

  • Put the project into a tumble dryer.
  • Heat is not required (It is the bashing against the sides which facilitates shrinkage) but if you don't have a cold setting (as I don't have) it will make no difference.
  • Check the contents of the tumble dryer every few minutes to ensure that it does not shrink too much.

Pop the project into a tumble dryer.  Check every five minutes to see if it has shrunk to the desired size.
Pop the project into a tumble dryer. Check every five minutes to see if it has shrunk to the desired size. | Source

19. Rinse and Remove the Template

  • Cut an opening as shown below and extract the template.
  • Put the project back into the tumble dryer for a couple of minutes to seal the cut edges.
  • Alternatively, you may like to use a little soapy water and your fingers to seal the cut edges.

Extracting the template from inside the wet felted water bottle cover.
Extracting the template from inside the wet felted water bottle cover. | Source

20. Cut 2 Circles of Felt From an Off-cut of Felt

  • Cut 2 circles of thick felt from a waste piece of contrasting felt
  • The purpose of these 2 pieces of felt is to add strength and to prevent unnecessary wear and tear in the tie area.

Placement of the 2 Circles of Felt

2 Felt pieces (left over from a previous project) can be cut into rounds and placed on each side of the neck of the water bottle.
2 Felt pieces (left over from a previous project) can be cut into rounds and placed on each side of the neck of the water bottle. | Source

21. Attach the Leather Ties

  • Make 2 holes in the center of the 2 circles using a leather punch.
  • The punch can be used to make 2 tiny holes through which the leather ties can be threaded through using a large sewing needle such as the one shown here.

Cut 2 round pieces of felt as indicated.
Cut 2 round pieces of felt as indicated. | Source

Sewing on the Leather Ties

Use a large needle to sew from the rear of the hot water bottle cover to the front and through the 2 circles of felt.
Use a large needle to sew from the rear of the hot water bottle cover to the front and through the 2 circles of felt. | Source

Making Small Holes With a Leather Punch

Cut 1 tiny hole in the center of the 2 felt pieces using a leather punch or tiny scissors.  Placement can be sourced using a large eyed doll needle.
Cut 1 tiny hole in the center of the 2 felt pieces using a leather punch or tiny scissors. Placement can be sourced using a large eyed doll needle. | Source

Shrinkage!

Comparing the shrinkage which took place during the wet felting process against the paper template.
Comparing the shrinkage which took place during the wet felting process against the paper template. | Source

22. Fill and Insert the Hot Water Bottle

  • The end result is a cozy hot water bottle which is held inside by the leather strips.

The filled hot water bottle seen inside the wet felted cover. The water bottle is held in very securely by the leather strips.
The filled hot water bottle seen inside the wet felted cover. The water bottle is held in very securely by the leather strips. | Source
Wet Felted Hot Water Bottle Cover
Wet Felted Hot Water Bottle Cover | Source

More Wet Felting with Sallybea

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Sally Gulbrandsen

    Comments

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      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        5 months ago from Norfolk

        Thanks for the feedback Marj. It is appreciated.

      • Cooking Jam profile image

        Muhammad Abdullah 

        5 months ago

        Wow ! Such a unique article ...

        Well, you don't see something like this everyday ...

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        6 months ago from Norfolk

        Hi Donna, I would not do it that way. I made the hole big enough to insert a filled hot water bottle after I made the cover. The leather (thongs) should be (sewn) right through the cover just by the (shoulders) of the cozy cover. It worked very well. I appreciate your stopping by to comment, thank you so much:)

      • purl3agony profile image

        Donna Herron 

        6 months ago from USA

        Hi Sally - This is a great project! Can you fill and empty the water bottle while it is inside the felted cover? Once inserted in your felted cover, is the water bottle still removable?

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        6 months ago from Norfolk

        I am fine thank you, after what has been a very stressful period. Hopefully, it is behind us now and I can get back to doing what I like to do. Thank you for your continued support, I am very grateful..

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        6 months ago from Olympia, WA

        It's always nice to see an article by you pop up, Sally! I hope you are well, my friend.

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        6 months ago from Norfolk

        Thank you Poppy, glad you like it.

      • poppyr profile image

        Poppy 

        6 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        Hot water bottles! That's really nostalgic. This is a super cute design.

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