How to Make a Wet Felted Flex Frame Purse or Pouch (No-Sew Method)

Updated on July 5, 2020
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

The completed flex frame spectacle pouch
The completed flex frame spectacle pouch | Source
Merino Wool Roving
Merino Wool Roving | Source

About This Tutorial

This tutorial has been designed to be a no-sew project. The installation of the flex frame is quick, simple, cost-effective and easy. This project should take approximately 3 hours to complete.

The template width is sufficient to accommodate a flex frame of this size. Adjust the length of the template if you want to make a smaller coin purse. You can round the corners of the template if you prefer them this way.

The layers of wool should be kept thin and even. Two layers can be used instead of 3. Once inverted, this pouch will have 6 layers. The small amount of decorative fiber makes it quite thick, but this is a good thickness for protecting a pair of glasses. You could use two layers of wool and one layer of silk fabric (a silk scarf) for a completely different 'Nuno felted' look. I would use the silk fabric on both sides of one half of the template.

The Template

  • The template measures 20" x 5"
  • It can be made from underfloor layment

The template folded in half.
The template folded in half. | Source
The template which is 20" x 5" cut from underfloor layment.
The template which is 20" x 5" cut from underfloor layment. | Source

What You'll Need

  • A template made from underfloor layment. This can be purchased from Amazon. I make all of my templates from underfloor layment. The finished template can be re-used multiple times over and will even survive a spin in the tumble dryer.
  • 1 Flex Frame. I purchased mine from Amazon. These are good quality, very reasonable, quick and easy to install. I used 8-12 cm frames but you can adjust your frame sizes according to your needs.
  • Merino Wool Roving
  • Warm Soapy Water (Olive oil soap is kind to the hands) but in even diluted dish washing liquid can be used.
  • A plastic spray or squeeze bottle.
  • A heavy duty bamboo blind or bubblewrap
  • A Tumble Dryer(Useful but not essential)
  • Bubble-wrap
  • A sharp pair of Scissors

1. The 1st Layer of Wool Roving

  • Cover one side of the template with an even layer of (white in this case) Merino Wool Roving.
  • If you want the inside of the pouch white and the exterior to be green, you should, at the half way mark (where the template is folded in the image above) make one half white and the other half green (for example).
  • When the template is flipped over to the second side, you should then match these colors with the other side.
  • Remember to keep the layers even throughout this project.

Spare template and glasses showing the length of the template.  Shrinkage is calculated.
Spare template and glasses showing the length of the template. Shrinkage is calculated. | Source

2. Wet the Fibers

  • Use the soapy water mix to wet the fibers.

Wetting the Fibers
Wetting the Fibers | Source

3. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubblewrap.
  • This facilitates easy movement of the fingers on the surface of the bubblewrap.

4. Wet the Bubblewrap

  • Wetting the surface of the bubblewrap helps facilitate easy movement of the fingers and palms on the plastic.
  • This should be done throughout the project.

Rubbing the wool until fibers are flattened.
Rubbing the wool until fibers are flattened. | Source

5. Gently Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Take care not to disturb the wet fibers.

Gently remove the bubblewrap from the flattened wet fibers.
Gently remove the bubblewrap from the flattened wet fibers. | Source

6. Flip the Project Over

  • Fold the loose wet fibers over the edges of the template.
  • Smooth down with a little water.

Making the edges tidy
Making the edges tidy | Source

7. The 2nd Layer of Wool Roving

  • Cover the 2nd side with an even layer of wool roving

Covering the 2nd side with fiber.
Covering the 2nd side with fiber. | Source

8. Wet the Wool

  • Wet the wool with soapy water.

9.Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubblewrap with soapy water.

Soapy water on the bubblewrap makes for easy rubbing.
Soapy water on the bubblewrap makes for easy rubbing. | Source

10. Rub Well

  • Rub until the wet fibers have flattened.

Rubbing the surface of the bubblewrap.
Rubbing the surface of the bubblewrap. | Source

11. Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Gently lift the bubblewrap from the wet wool.

Removing the Bubblewrap.
Removing the Bubblewrap. | Source

12. Flip the Project Over

  • Flip the project over being careful not to disturb the edges.

13. Neaten the Edges

  • Fold over the edges as before.

Neatening the edges.
Neatening the edges. | Source

14. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubblewrap and rub well.

Rubbing the surface of the bubblewrap.
Rubbing the surface of the bubblewrap. | Source

15. Maintain Neat Edges

  • Rub the edges as shown to maintain neat edges.
  • This helps prevent a fold mark emerging.

The edges.
The edges. | Source

16. The 3rd Layer of Wool Roving

  • Cover with a (brown) layer of wool roving.
  • If you previously covered half of the template in one color and the other half in another this will leave you with a different color on the inside of your pouch.
  • You may choose from the 2, which one you want to appear on the inside or the outside.

The template being covered with brown wool roving.
The template being covered with brown wool roving. | Source

17. Wet the Wool

  • Wet the wool with soapy water.

Brown wool roving.
Brown wool roving. | Source

18. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface with soapy water as before.
  • Rub well.

Rubbing the bubblewrap
Rubbing the bubblewrap | Source

19. Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Gently remove the bubblewrap.

Remove the bubblewrap
Remove the bubblewrap | Source

20. Flip the Project Over

  • Flip the project over and turn the edges over as before.

Preparing to neaten the edges.
Preparing to neaten the edges. | Source

21. The Last Layer of Brown

  • Cover the template with fiber as is shown.

Wetting the wool roving.
Wetting the wool roving. | Source

22. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Rub Well.

Gently removing the bubblewrap
Gently removing the bubblewrap | Source

23. Neaten the Edges

  • Fold over the loose fibers and rub as before.

The completed 3rd layer.
The completed 3rd layer. | Source

24. Finally, A Thin Layer of Decoration!

  • You may want to add a few decorative fibers as I did. These can be added at the same time as the brown layer.
  • You may wish to cover one half of the template with decorative fibers, (both sides of the half)

Decorative silk fibers.
Decorative silk fibers. | Source

25. Wet the Fibers

  • Wet the decorative fibers.

Wetting the decorative fibers
Wetting the decorative fibers | Source

26. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Rub well as before and repeat on the other side.

Rubbing the bubblewrap
Rubbing the bubblewrap | Source

27. Remove the bubblewrap

  • Gently remove the bubblewrap

28. Flip the Project Over

  • Turn the project over.

The project flipped over.
The project flipped over. | Source

29. Neaten the Edges

  • Turn any loose fibers over the edges.

30. Add Decorative Fibers

  • Complete the final layer of decoration.
  • Please note that I only added a few fibers, just enough to make the brown wool more interesting.

The last layer of decorative fibers.
The last layer of decorative fibers. | Source

31. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Cover and rub as before.

Wetting the bubblewrap
Wetting the bubblewrap | Source

32. Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Gently remove the bubblewrap taking care not to disturb the decorative fibers.

Removing the bubblewrap
Removing the bubblewrap | Source

33. Neaten the Edges

  • Neaten the edges as before.

The neatened edges.
The neatened edges. | Source

34. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface and rub very well.
  • Rub until the fibers become stable and no longer move.
  • They will not be fully felted at this stage.

Rubbing the fibers until they no longer move.
Rubbing the fibers until they no longer move. | Source

35. Rub the Edges

  • Check the edges, neaten them by rubbing them as shown.
  • This helps to create perfect edges.

Smoothing the edges on the sides of the template.
Smoothing the edges on the sides of the template. | Source

A Close up of the Edges

The edges close up.
The edges close up. | Source

36. Roll Inside a Bamboo Blind

  • Roll inside a heavy duty bamboo mat.
  • Do this gently at first but once the fibers are well knitted you can do it much more firmly.
  • Keep on changing the direction in which you roll the project.
  • This will make the project shrink evenly from all sides.

Rolling inside the heavy duty bamboo blind.
Rolling inside the heavy duty bamboo blind. | Source

37. Rolling

  • Keep on hanging the direction of the roll as this allows the project to shrink from all sides.
  • Rolling inside a bamboo mat helps maintain good edges.
  • If you use this method you will never see a fold mark on the edges.
  • The constantly shrinking fibers simply shift to take up the new area.
  • This is the reason why a heavy duty bamboo blind is my favorite wet felting tool.

Changing the direction in which you roll in the bamboo blind.
Changing the direction in which you roll in the bamboo blind. | Source

38. Tumble Dryer Felting

  • Once the template starts to buckle I put the project into a tumble dryer for a few minutes, just to finish off the felting.
  • This is not essential but it certainly does take some of the hard work out of the felting process..

Folded project with plastic glasses case.
Folded project with plastic glasses case. | Source

39. Check for Shrinkage!

  • Check the amount of shrinkage you have achieved against a glasses case if you have one.
  • If i need more shrinkage resort to the tumble dryer for help or put into hot and cold water to shrink it further.

Fibers have shrunk so that the template inside is buckled.
Fibers have shrunk so that the template inside is buckled. | Source

40. Fold the Project in Half

  • Fold and smooth out the project as much as possible and prepare to cut a small hole where the spring clip will be inserted.
  • Remember to cut it lengthwise and not width wise.
  • This is very important.
  • The template is removed through this hole.

Prepare to cut the hole.
Prepare to cut the hole. | Source

41. Cutting the Hole for the Spring Clip

  • The hole for the spring clip should be cut as small as possible, just sufficient for you to extract the template
  • Take care cutting this hole. Too big and it will look unsightly and cut sideways instead of lengthwise it will ruin the look of your project.

The direction of the cut is so important!
The direction of the cut is so important! | Source

42. Remove the template

  • Extract the template with care.
  • I use a small pair of pointed tweezers.
  • Take care and you will be able to re-use the template next time.
  • Rinse the project to remove the soapy water and douse it in warm water with a little vinegar added to it.

A flex frame
A flex frame | Source

43. How to Insert the The Flex Frame

  • Invert one end of the project into the other so that the hole is exactly at the half way mark.
  • This will make the project twice the thickness.
  • Open the spring clip and ease it through the small hole and around the curve at the other side.
  • Insert the little pin provided and bend over the little clips on the flex frame.

Flex Frame Installed Through the Tiny Opening.
Flex Frame Installed Through the Tiny Opening. | Source
Wet felted flex frame spectacle case.
Wet felted flex frame spectacle case. | Source

Coin Purse

Reduce the length of the template if you would like to make a little coin purse like this.
Reduce the length of the template if you would like to make a little coin purse like this. | Source

© 2020 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

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    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      I encourage you to have a go at felting. It is not an exact science and can at times be a challenge but it is a wonderful art form. I love it and I hope that you will too.

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Hi Devika, glad you like this tutorial. I am good thank you and hope that you are too. especially during this very difficult time. Stay safe.

    • profile image

      Devika Primic 

      4 weeks ago

      Sally this is amazing! I find your step by step guide interesting, creative and very impressive. Hope you are well and good to know you are still writing thank you

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Hart 

      4 weeks ago from Lanarkshire

      This is an amazing article with such in depth instructions on how to make the pouch from felting. Thank you for sharing with us. I love how it turned out! This is another reason on my list of reasons to try felting!

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      I often find that it can be difficult to source some items, especially if you are new to felting so I include this information. I appreciate the feedback, thank you so much Mona.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 weeks ago from Philippines

      This is a lovely project. I also appreciate the fact that you included places where we can buy parts needed to make this purse or eyeglasses purse.

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Audrey, I love this art form and do want to encourage others to take it up. It is always good to receive feedback, more so when it is so generously given, thank you so much.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 weeks ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Sally

      Your presentations are the best! You are super talented. Thanks for sharing this marvelous tutorial. Stay safe.

      Audrey

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Cedar, they sure do though sometimes even an old fashioned metal tape measure was cut into pieces to serve the same purpose. I think that most of us have had a little purse with these clips, probably without realising it. I love using them. Thanks for stopping by to comment, it is much appreciated.

    • profile image

      Cedar 

      4 weeks ago

      Excellent tutorial. Didn't know these spring clips existed...inspirational...

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Peachy, thank you so much. Always good to receive some feedback.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      4 weeks ago from Home Sweet Home

      I love your step by step photos, very easy to understand

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Hi Mary, I love these flex frames. They can be used on sewn purses too. I also use them when I make little leather purses. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for letting me know about the flex frame on Amazon. I like the weight of this eyeglasses case as some of the ones provided by the stores are so bulky.

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk

      I am well thank you Billy as I hope you are. I appreciate your support as always. You are amazing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      As always, your skill and talent are on display for all to see and learn from. Well done, my friend. I hope this find you safe and healthy.

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