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How to Make Wet Felted Soaps Using a Tumble Dryer

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.

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.

Soap in a Sweater!

Soap in a sweater

Soap in a sweater

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.

Recycled foam seat cushion

Recycled foam seat cushion

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.

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.

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 recycled foam

Cut 2 or 3 pieces from the recycled foam

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.

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.

Remove one line of foam at a time

Remove one line of foam at a time

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 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.

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

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

Dip the Dove soap in warm water

Dip the Dove soap in warm water

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

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.

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

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.

Next cover the top of the Soap with Fibers. Dampen the fibers to make sure they don't slip off the soap.

Merino Fibers carefully arranged on top of the Soap

Merino Fibers carefully arranged on top of the Soap

Dampen the Woolen Fibers carefully with a little Hot Soapy Water

Dampen the Woolen Fibers carefully with a little Hot Soapy Water

Wrap the fibers firmly around the damp soap

Wrap the fibers firmly around the damp soap

Wrap the rest of the fibers around the soap

Wrap the rest of the fibers around the soap

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

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

The last layer on the second side.

The last layer on the second side.

Wet the fibers and wrap the soap

Wet the fibers and wrap the soap

Wrapping the soap, completing the first layer.

Wrapping the soap, completing the first layer.

The 1st Layer Is now complete

The 1st Layer Is now complete

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

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

Close up of the fibers on the sides of the Soap

Close up of the fibers on the sides of the Soap

Top layer

Top layer

Wrapped and ready to go.

Wrapped and ready to go.

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

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

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

Placing the soap between the the foam cushioning

Placing the soap between the the foam cushioning

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 over the Soap

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

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

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 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

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.

A row of soaps drying out on a radiator.

A row of soaps drying out on a radiator.

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

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.

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

Your opinion matters!

More wet felting tutorials by this author

Questions & Answers

Question: What temperature setting do you use for the tumble dryer?

Answer: I use the lowest temperature on my tiny tumble dryer. It only has two settings but I do not think that temperature is as important as the vibration that happens within the drum of the machine.

Question: Have you tried this with handcrafted soaps? I do rebatch and melt and pour. The latter is pretty soft compared to a hard milled or “store” soap. Do you have any ideas?

Answer: I have only tried this with store-bought soaps but think that if you use the foam there should be no reason why they should not survive. Perhaps you could try an experimental batch.

© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 16, 2019:

I see no reason why your 'special' soap won't work. I have used a lot of different kinds of soap and all were successful. I love to use quality soaps, especially those who give off a nice perfume when they are left in a soap dish in the bathroom:) I very much appreciate your very kind comments re this article. Thank you so much.

aflocas on January 16, 2019:

Thank you! You are wonderful and also your ideas and projects.

I'm going to do this tutorial with a special soap with pure lanolin will it be felted well? Would it be better to do it with another soap that does not have lanolin?

You can do more tutorials, you are very special and your way of seeing life I love it!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 20, 2017:

It is my pleasure. I hope you won't give up. I love working with this medium. It is definitely not an exact science and can sometimes be a challenge but that is what makes it so interesting.

Christine B on October 20, 2017:

You are very helpful, thank you! Like you said, I will try with other brands, and won't give up! :)

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 19, 2017:

I almost always use Merino wool roving but it is possible that the wool you are using still contains a fair amount of natural lanolin which might prevent the soap from foaming. It may foam better as some of the lanolin in the wool is with time washed away. As I understand it the simple explanation for why certain soaps foam is that they contain chemicals called foaming agents but one needs a layer of water and air to create foam and the wool may be preventing it from doing that. I wish I could be more helpful but I can only suggest that you try a few different brands until you find one which you like.

Christine B on October 19, 2017:

After my first one, made with my own cp soap, I tried a Dove, to be sure it was not my soap... I still have the same problem. Would it be my wool? I bought it at Michael's, can't know exactly what it is, it's only written "100% wool" on the product, but it's in the felting department...

Thank you so much for helping me with this! :)

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 19, 2017:

Hello Christine,

I think it might be your choice of soap, What type of soap are you using? I tend to use very good quality soaps which later pretty easily. The wool needs to be quite wet to lather well. I look out for soap which is being sold very cheapy at local car boots or thrift shops. Olive Oil Soap or even Dove soap lather pretty well. I appreciate your stopping by to comment, thank you.

Christine B on October 19, 2017:

Hi Sally, your tutorial is great! I made few felted soaps and I love it!! But maybe I do something wrong, I can't get any bubble out of it!! a little lather, that's it...?? Do you know what could it be? Thanks for your help!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 02, 2017:

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

Martie Coetser from South Africa on April 02, 2017:

Wet felting is for sure my next hobby!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 14, 2016:

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 on February 13, 2016:

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

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 09, 2016:

MsDora

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 09, 2016:

Congratulations on your HOTD accolade!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 09, 2016:

RTalloni

That was nice of you, thank you so much.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 09, 2016:

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 on February 08, 2016:

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

Geri McClymont on February 08, 2016:

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!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 08, 2016:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 08, 2016:

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 from Northeast Ohio on February 08, 2016:

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

Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 08, 2016:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 08, 2016:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 08, 2016:

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:)

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on February 08, 2016:

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.

Virginia Kearney from United States on February 08, 2016:

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!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 08, 2016:

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.

Donna Herron from USA on February 08, 2016:

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

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 04, 2016:

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 on January 04, 2016:

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 ))))))

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 02, 2016:

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.

Claudia Mitchell on January 02, 2016:

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!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 21, 2015:

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 from USA on December 21, 2015:

I like this soap idea and the tumble dryer method.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 17, 2015:

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 from England on December 17, 2015:

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

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 17, 2015:

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.

Christin Sander from Midwest on December 16, 2015:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 13, 2015:

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.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 13, 2015:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 12, 2015:

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

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 12, 2015:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 11, 2015:

Larry Rankin

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

Sally

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 11, 2015:

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

Donna Herron from USA on December 11, 2015:

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 from Oklahoma on December 11, 2015:

Very informative.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 11, 2015:

R Talloni,

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

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 11, 2015:

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 on December 11, 2015:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2015:

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.