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

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

The completed flex frame spectacle pouch

The completed flex frame spectacle pouch

Merino Wool Roving

Merino Wool Roving

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 three 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 three. Once inverted, this pouch will have six 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.

The template which is 20" x 5" cut from underfloor layment.

The template which is 20" x 5" cut from underfloor layment.

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).
  • Bubblewrap.
  • 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.

2. Wet the Fibers

  • Use the soapy water mix to wet the fibers.
Wetting the Fibers

Wetting the Fibers

3. Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubblewrap.
  • This facilitates easy movement of the fingers on the surface of the bubblewrap.
how-to-make-a-wet-felted-flex-frame-purse-or-pouch-no-sew-method
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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.

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.

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

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.

8. Wet the Wool

  • Wet the wool with soapy water.
how-to-make-a-wet-felted-flex-frame-purse-or-pouch-no-sew-method

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.

10. Rub Well

  • Rub until the wet fibers have flattened.
Rubbing the surface of the bubblewrap.

Rubbing the surface of the bubblewrap.

11. Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Gently lift the bubblewrap from the wet wool.
Removing the Bubblewrap.

Removing the Bubblewrap.

12. Flip the Project Over

  • Flip the project over being careful not to disturb the edges.
how-to-make-a-wet-felted-flex-frame-purse-or-pouch-no-sew-method

13. Neaten the Edges

  • Fold over the edges as before.
Neatening the edges.

Neatening the edges.

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.

15. Maintain Neat Edges

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

The edges.

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 two 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.

17. Wet the Wool

  • Wet the wool with soapy water.
Brown wool roving.

Brown wool roving.

18. Cover With Bubblewrap

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

Rubbing the bubblewrap

19. Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Gently remove the bubblewrap.
Remove the bubblewrap

Remove the bubblewrap

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.

21. The Last Layer of Brown

  • Cover the template with fiber as is shown.
Wetting the wool roving.

Wetting the wool roving.

22. Cover With Bubblewrap

  • Rub well.
Gently removing the bubblewrap

Gently removing the bubblewrap

23. Neaten the Edges

  • Fold over the loose fibers and rub as before.
The completed 3rd layer.

The completed 3rd layer.

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.

25. Wet the Fibers

  • Wet the decorative fibers.
Wetting the decorative fibers

Wetting the decorative fibers

26. Cover With Bubblewrap

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

Rubbing the bubblewrap

27. Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Gently remove the bubblewrap.
how-to-make-a-wet-felted-flex-frame-purse-or-pouch-no-sew-method

28. Flip the Project Over

  • Turn the project over.
The project flipped over.

The project flipped over.

29. Neaten the Edges

  • Turn any loose fibers over the edges.
how-to-make-a-wet-felted-flex-frame-purse-or-pouch-no-sew-method

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.

31. Cover With Bubblewrap

  • Cover and rub as before.
Wetting the bubblewrap

Wetting the bubblewrap

32. Remove the Bubblewrap

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

Removing the bubblewrap

33. Neaten the Edges

  • Neaten the edges as before.
The neatened edges.

The neatened edges.

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.

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.

A Close up of the Edges

The edges close up.

The edges close up.

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.

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.