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How to Make Wet Felted Soaps Using a Tumble Dryer

Updated on October 30, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker. Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is, unique, experimental and always interesting

Wet Felted Soaps

Wet Felted Soaps make great gifts for Xmas presents or even at any other time of the year.
Wet Felted Soaps make great gifts for Xmas presents or even at any other time of the year. | Source

Soap in a Sweater!

Soap in a sweater
Soap in a sweater | Source

What is the Purpose of this Tutorial?

We have all read those ads which promise work from home opportunities to anyone looking to earn an income. Most of these ads offer false hope and promises which will never materialize.

For those of you who love crafting and would love to earn some income from being creative. it will be a long road to prosperity. Far too many people give up on their creative dreams only to replace them with 'real work' because they become discouraged by their inability to produce enough quality items to turn a profit. The aim of this tutorial is to help you discover an easier way to make more quality items in the least possible time.

Wet felted soaps can look beautiful. but they should function perfectly as 'scrubbers' as well. To do this, the fibers need to be put down in a meaningful way which will produce the best results. This takes time, lots of it. Felt making is not a quick process especially when one considers how much rubbing and rolling goes into it to making it.

With this method which I created, you should be able to prepare multiple soaps in one sitting and then tumble dry them together at your leisure.

True, there will be some preparation required to make the little foam parcels but you may be able to source recycled waste foam which already has cavities which were cut into it from the manufacturing stage to cushion a product in transit.

The beauty of my system is that these foam bundles will be used over and over again. It is my hope that you will find this felted soap tutorial useful and that in time it will help lead you down a path to some genuine financial gain. You can sell them at craft fairs, on even from your own Etsy store. If not, give them to friends and family for Christmas or birthday gifts. These soaps make wonderful gifts which will likely be treasured or enjoyed.

Things Needed to Complete this Project:-

Recycled Cushion Foam

A Pair of Scissors

A Sharp Knife

A Long Ruler

A cut-off piece of Stocking

A small piece of Bubblewrap

Elastic Bands

Hot soapy water

Squeeze Bottle

Merino Wool Roving or Tops in a glorious mix of colors especially for felting

Dove Soap or other soap of your choice.

Tumble dryer

Place a Piece of Foam on a Cutting Table

The foam should be about a minimum of 1 1/2 inches thick and not quite dense.

A piece of foam which has been recycled from a seat cushion

Recycled foam seat cushion
Recycled foam seat cushion | Source

Cut the Foam into 2 or 3 Lengths.

Place the soap on the foam and cut into the strip leaving a border of about an inch of each side.

Cutting a length of Foam from the Seat Cushion

Cut off a length of foam.  Leave at least 1 inch to both sides of the bar of soap.
Cut off a length of foam. Leave at least 1 inch to both sides of the bar of soap. | Source

Use a long Metal Ruler to Measure the Foam

Cut the foam into two to three strips depending on the size of the soap. The metal ruler provides a strong line to hold the knife against for cutting purposes.

An electric carving knife can be used if you have one handy.

Cut 2 or 3 pieces from the Foam Cushion

Cut 2 or 3 pieces from the recycled foam
Cut 2 or 3 pieces from the recycled foam | Source

Cut down into the foam to a depth of about 1/2 inch into the foam as shown here

Cut a rectangle into the foam to a dept of about half an inch.  Leave a border of about an inch on all sides.
Cut a rectangle into the foam to a dept of about half an inch. Leave a border of about an inch on all sides. | Source

Cut lines into the foam rectangle which can easily be removed.

Cut lines half an inch deep into the foam avoiding the border area.
Cut lines half an inch deep into the foam avoiding the border area. | Source

Remove the foam one line at a time with a pair of Scissors

Remove one line of foam at a time
Remove one line of foam at a time | Source

Foam removed to a depth of 1/2 an inch to create a hole

Foam removed to a depth of 1/2 inch
Foam removed to a depth of 1/2 inch

How to cover the soap in Merino Wool Fibers

Please follow the instructions below for creating the wet felted soap. The felted soap will act as a loofah, shrinking as the soap shrinks leaving a handy scrubber behind.

Items required to cover the Soap in Merino Wool Roving/Tops

Items required to wet felt a bar of soap, wool roving, hot soapy water elastic bands, piece of bubble-wrap, piece of cut off tights.
Items required to wet felt a bar of soap, wool roving, hot soapy water elastic bands, piece of bubble-wrap, piece of cut off tights. | Source

Gorgeous Wool Roving, Soap, cut off Tights and Hot Soapy Water

Items required to wet felt the piece of soap
Items required to wet felt the piece of soap | Source

Dip the Dove Soap into Warm Water

Dip the soap in warm water
Dip the soap in warm water | Source

Small Squeeze Bottle

Bowl of warm soapy water, squeeze bottle and a bar of Dove Soap
Bowl of warm soapy water, squeeze bottle and a bar of Dove Soap | Source

Squeeze Bottle, Water and a Little Dish Washing Liquid

One needs very little soap with this tutorial as the soap will come through from the woolen fibers below.

First add Merino Wool Fibers to the sides of the Soap

Use the squeeze bottle to add a few drops of water to help ensure that the fibers stick to the soap
Use the squeeze bottle to add a few drops of water to help ensure that the fibers stick to the soap | Source

Add the Fibers carefully

Place the fibers down carefully onto the soap. Drop a few drops of soapy water onto the fibers and smooth down with your fingers to ensure that they stick to the soap below.

Next cover the top of the Soap with Fibers

Dampen the fibers to make sure they don't slip off the soap.
Dampen the fibers to make sure they don't slip off the soap. | Source

Merino Fibers carefully arranged on top of the Soap

Lay the fibers onto the top of the soap
Lay the fibers onto the top of the soap | Source

Dampen the Woolen Fibers carefully with a little Hot Soapy Water

Dampen down the fibers with your fingers.
Dampen down the fibers with your fingers. | Source

Wrap the Fibers firmly around the Damp Soap

Wrap the fibers firmly around the damp soap
Wrap the fibers firmly around the damp soap | Source

Wrapping the Fibers around the Soap

Wrap the rest of the fibers around the soap
Wrap the rest of the fibers around the soap | Source

Add more Fibers to the bald spots and match the other side

Awaiting some more fibers
Awaiting some more fibers | Source

Completing the 1st Layer

The last layer on the second side.
The last layer on the second side. | Source

Wet the Fibers and wrap the Soap

Wet the fibers and wrap the soap
Wet the fibers and wrap the soap | Source

Completing the 1st Layer

Wrapping the soap, completing the first layer.
Wrapping the soap, completing the first layer. | Source

1st Layer Is Now Completed

First layer completed
First layer completed | Source

Layer 2, repeat the 1st layer by putting the Fibers onto the sides

Wetting the woolen fibers on the sides of the soap
Wetting the woolen fibers on the sides of the soap | Source

Close up of the fibers on the sides of the Soap

Fibers added to the sides
Fibers added to the sides | Source

Top Layer

Top layer
Top layer | Source

Wrapped and all ready to go!

Wrapped and ready to go.
Wrapped and ready to go. | Source

Put a cut-off Stocking on your hand

Put the stocking onto your hand and then pull the stocking over the soap
Put the stocking onto your hand and then pull the stocking over the soap | Source

Knot the Stocking so that it can easily be pulled open when required

Knot the stocking
Knot the stocking | Source

A note on the following Step.

Unfortunately. the foam can shed little pieces when it has been cut with a knife which is why I decided to cover the hollow in the foam with bubble wrap before placing the soap in the hollow. I would suggest that you pull a stocking leg over the length of foam after you have cut the hollow to prevent it from clinging to your wool fibers and leave it there.

Use an Electric Carving Knife for cutting the Foam

Place the Soap in the prepared Foam hollow

Placing the soap between the the foam cushioning
Placing the soap between the the foam cushioning | Source

Bubblewrap

I used a small piece of bubble wrap to prevent any loose bits of foam from getting onto the covered soap. This was a preventative action as the soap is already covered in a piece of stocking.

Fold the Foam in half over the Soap

Fold the foam in half
Fold the foam in half | Source

Secure the Soap with Elastic Bands which have been pulled tight

Secure the Soap firmly inside the foam wrapping it with Elastic Bands.
Secure the Soap firmly inside the foam wrapping it with Elastic Bands. | Source

Energy Saving

Please prepare all your soaps and then insert them into a tumble dryer at once. Better still, pop them into the dryer at with your laundry in the last stage of drying process to help conserve energy in order to make this project as cost effective as possible. The soaps should felt in about 10 - 15 minutes. Check the contents of the dryer after 10 minutes and if the soap is not quite ready, continue felting for another 5 minutes.

Remove the Soap from the Stocking and check the contents

Check the contents of the stocking after 10 minutes by removing the soap from the stocking.

If it has stuck to the stocking, gently tug the wool away. . Put the soap back into the stocking, knot and plunge the soap into very hot water as shown and then into cold water. Repeat twice more, rinse under a cold tap, dry with a towel and put it onto a radiator to dry.

Dip the Felted Soap in a Bowl of very Hot Water

Dip into a bowl of very hot water once the felted soap has been removed from the tumble dryer
Dip into a bowl of very hot water once the felted soap has been removed from the tumble dryer | Source

Then dip into very Cold Water

Dip into cold water and then repeat the hot and cold water process again.
Dip into cold water and then repeat the hot and cold water process again. | Source

A row of Soaps drying on the top of a Radiator

A row of soaps drying out on a radiator.
A row of soaps drying out on a radiator. | Source

Wet Felted Soaps

Wet Felted Soaps using a variety of wool including some Merino Wool Roving which includes some Silk Fibre
Wet Felted Soaps using a variety of wool including some Merino Wool Roving which includes some Silk Fibre | Source

The completed Soaps in their Sweaters and one which has a personalized Label

The completed soaps wearing their sweaters.
The completed soaps wearing their sweaters. | Source

Your opinion matters!

Which type of felting do you find the most interesting

See results

I hope you enjoyed this Tutorial!

I look forward to receiving any feedback or suggestions for any future projects which you might like to see.

Sally

More wet felting tutorials by this author

© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 months ago from Norfolk

      Careful Martie, take one step forward and you won't be able to stop:)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 months ago from South Africa

      Wet felting is for sure my next hobby!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      Diana Abrahamson

      Glad you liked this idea. The end result was excellent and my friends and family certainly enjoyed their gifts at Christmas time. This method certainly saves time and gives a good result.

    • Diana Abrahamson profile image

      Diana Abrahamson 17 months ago from t Francis Bay

      Really love the wet felting soap idea ..hope I can try your method too sometime.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      Thank you so much, it is kind of you to take the time to pop back to this hub.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

      Congratulations on your HOTD accolade!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      RTalloni

      That was nice of you, thank you so much.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      gerimcolym

      I hope you will try it. This really is a fun project and a very rewarding one. Thank you for your very kind words.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 17 months ago from the short journey

      Back to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this neat project that is useful in more than one way!

    • gerimcclym profile image

      Geri McClymont 17 months ago

      An excellent and very detailed tutorial on wet felting. I would like to try this, as well as felting in a tumble dryer, which I fell in love with when I attended an art festival several years ago. The personalized label on the finished soap adds a very nice touch. Congratulations on HOTD - well deserved!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Kristen,

      Thank you very much. Yes, this is a 'soapy' project - the end result really is worth the time and effort, besides, the soap smells so nice.

      Your support and encouragement is appreciated as always.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      MarieneB

      Thank you very much. Felting is a fascinating craft, not a predictable one for sure, but a challenge quite unlike any other craft I have ever attempted. I love it. I am glad you enjoyed the tutorial, these soaps make great gifts, something you can prepare beforehand, just in case you need to make an unexpected present to someone. I hope you will come back to explore the many Tutorials I have written.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 17 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Sally, congrats on HOTD! This is a clever crafty and soapy idea. It looks like fun to do and fun to make.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 17 months ago from Northern California, USA

      This is an excellent tutorial. I have never heard of this craft until now, but I was curious to read about it. What an intense project! The finished product makes it all worth the time and effort.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      VirginiaLynne

      The art of felting is something special, in fact, it is quite addictive. The sky is the limit, you can make anything from booties to fabulous clothing. I hope you give it a go sometime. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Sally.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      janshares

      Hi Jan,

      No the merino wool is soft and beautiful, especially the merino tops, both of which are perfect for felting. I appreciate your visit and the very kind comment. I hope you give felting it a go sometime:)

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 17 months ago from Washington, DC

      Hi sallybea. This is my introduction to wet felting soap. I didn't understand the concept at first but I think I get it now. All I could think about is, "won't that merino wool itch when rubbed against the skin?" I did read your reply to Donna which was helpful. Congratulations on a well-done hub receiving another HOTD nod. Excellent tutorial.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 17 months ago from United States

      I've never done wet felting but you've made this tutorial so clear that I think I would feel ready to do it. Excellent and clear directions! I love doing new crafts and have seen the felting at my craft store but haven't known what to do with it. I may have to try this!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Donna,

      Always a lovely surprise to wake up to find I have an HOTD, especially today. Thanks for coming back to comment. Your support is always valued and appreciated.

      Sally.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 17 months ago from USA

      Hi Sally - This is one of my favorite tutorials. Congrats on your HOTD! Well deserved!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 18 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for the sweet comment. Not sure if my projects will go viral but one can live in hope:) I do however expect I to reach the 200,000 mark very soon. I hope that your neighbour has had some success with her slippers.

      Blessings to you. dear Jo.

      Sally.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 18 months ago

      Happy New year Ms. Sally! Once again, I am delighted in reading your fun and creative projects. :-) Also, a neighbor of mine has taken on learning from your projects and attempted to make felt slippers for Christmas gifts!! Praying that your projects will go viral this year :-)]

      It is way better than Martha Stewart shows. (smile )

      Shared...blessings hugs dear lady (((((( Sally ))))))

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 18 months ago from Norfolk

      Glimmer Twin Fan

      Happy New Year to you too.

      The soaps came out beautifully and I too gave them as gifts for Xmas. The recipients seemed delighted, which made them a very rewarding gifts to give away.

      I am sure your mother loved hers.

      Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. Every visit is valued and very much appreciated.

      Sally.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 18 months ago

      Hi Sally - Happy New Year! This is a great project and as a Christmas present my daughter bought something like this for my mother. It's a lovely gift and using the colors you chose for the pics it's gorgeous!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      FlourishAnyway

      Glad you like this idea, remember it is here where you first saw it:)

      Have a great Xmas and a Happy New Year.

      Sally

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 19 months ago from USA

      I like this soap idea and the tumble dryer method.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      Nell Rose

      Glad you enjoyed this tutorial, Nell. I had fun creating it. Not only do the soaps look beautiful but they do appear to last longer.

      Nice of you to stop by to comment, thank you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 19 months ago from England

      How fascinating! and what a great tutorial. Its something I had never really heard or seen before, so I learned something new!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      ChristinS

      That is interesting, I have seen beautiful hand made cold pressed soaps on eBay while looking for bulk soaps to felt. You are perfectly placed to both sell and these yourself. Try rubbing the wet soaps on bubble wrap to create the same effect if you don't want to use the tumble dryer.

      Sally.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 19 months ago from Midwest

      How interesting. My mother does the fiber arts - felting, spinning, knitting, weaving etc. and I've made handmade soaps for years and we've never thought to put them together :) very detailed hub, one day I'll have to try this.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      MsDora,

      Definitely smiling and I an always pleased to have you returning to another of my tutorials. Thank you MsDora, I think you know that your, visits mean a lot to me:)

      Sally.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 19 months ago from The Caribbean

      Sally, your mention of income opportunity conjured up the image of a "Sally's Wet Felt Creations," of course with an adjoining apprentice lab (smile, please). I read your comment in which you said you are happy doing what you do, so I'm happy for you too. Just want to register how much I admire your craft.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      DDE

      Hi Devika,

      Thanks very much for your kind comment. I do like to take a different approach with my felting and it is my hope that by doing this, it will encourage others to look at their felting with an open mind.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 19 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Incredible! I enjoyed learning from your well-presented hub. Good ideas and with your creative mind you can approach any idea to make it a worthy one.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      Larry Rankin

      Larry, glad you found this tutorial informative. Very kind of you to stop by to comment, thank you.

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Donna,

      No, the wool feels quite soft and quite silky against the skin but this does depend on the type of fibers you decide to use. I like merino roving/tops because these fibers felt very easily and of course, the wool comes in such glorious colors.

      The soap will lather as normal except it will come out through the felt.

      I have experimented with more expensive soaps. I sometimes buy them from thrift or charity stores when I see them, but I really enjoyed the way the Dove soaps performed in this tutorial. I especially liked the way the soap lathered so easily through the wool.

      The soaps use up only a small quantity of wool roving. You will be left with just a small scrubber as the fibers will continue to shrink as the soap is being used up. You can always use what is left over to clean the bath or basin with, but I think these are cheap enough to make without having to concern yourself about further uses:) Knowing you, I think I could be proved wrong:)

      The soaps make lovely cost effective gifts. 2 Dove soaps cost me £1. How little there is that now that one can buy for £1! Add to them a few gorgeous fibers and you have something quite special to sell or gift away.

      The soaps not only look very decorative in a bowl in the bathroom, but they also leave a lovely perfume in the air. I especially like the coconut and lavender soaps which one can buy.

      Of course, you don't have to use a tumble drier! You can always prepare the soaps and rub them on a nice piece of bubble wrap until they are felted all the way through. Give it a go, I think you will enjoy this project.

      Sally

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 19 months ago from USA

      Hi Sally - Your felted soap sweaters are so cute! I've been wanting to try to make some of these and your tutorial and photos are so easy to follow. But I have two questions:

      1. When washing with the soap in a sweater, is the felt rough against your skin?

      2. After the soap has been used up, can you use the felt for anything? Or is it too soapy to be used for a different project?

      Thanks!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very informative.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      R Talloni,

      I am so glad you found this tutorial helpful. I have been doing exactly that, making Christmas gifts:)

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 19 months ago from Norfolk

      Hello Billy

      You are so kind, fancy, that, you keep these in a folder! You really are so much more organised than I am.

      I have begun looking at your e-book suggestion. It took me down the road to some thoughts about a kindle edition! With a little research, I discovered I could have a kindle app on my tablet, things are beginning to look very interesting.

      You have a great weekend and I hope the sun shines for you, Billy. Thank you so much for your valued support, it is appreciated.

      Sally

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 19 months ago from the short journey

      Thanks for sharing this very cool method. Your tutorial is clear and easy to follow. Really, such a great idea for gifts!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, if I knew anyone who wet felted, I would share this and all of yours with them. As it is, I keep them in a folder and wait for that day when someone I know mentions this craft. Well done as always.

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