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How to Make a Wet Felted Cat / Kitten Cave/ a Free Tutorial

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

Wet Felted Cat/Kitten Cave and Sitting Tenant

Testing the Kitty Cave

Testing the Kitty Cave

Kitty

Kitty

Wet Felted/Cat/Kitten Cave - A Free Tutorial

Wet Felted/Cat/Kitten Cave - A Free Tutorial

A Few Notes About This Tutorial

This step by step tutorial is designed to assist the more advanced Felt Maker to create 3D Cat Cave/Kitten Pod or Vessel using a resist shape. The resist can be made from a piece of thin plastic or bubble-wrap or even a piece of cardboard. The latter was used for this tutorial.

A resist is used to prevent the two sides of this project from fusing together, thus a 3D vessel is created.

My personal preference is to use a plastic based resist, something such as a heavy bubble-wrap or a piece of laminate floor cushioning. Cardboard can become water logged during the process and tends to break up in the process, as very nearly happened with this project!

Wet Felted Cat/Kitten Caves/ You Choose!

Things You Will Need to Complete This Project

  1. Merino wool roving
  2. Latex balloons
  3. A resist/template which measures 20 inches in diameter made from Laminate floor underlay
  4. Grated olive oil soap
  5. Bubble-wrap
  6. Curtain netting, sufficient to cover the template
  7. A palm sander which does not use a dust bag
  8. A tumble dryer

A Cheese Grater, Merino Wool Roving and a Resist Shape

Cheese grater, merino wool roving and a resist shape

Cheese grater, merino wool roving and a resist shape

Olive Oil Soap

Olive oil soap.  Kind to the hands.

Olive oil soap. Kind to the hands.

Grate the Olive Oil Soap

Grate the olive oil soap and dilute in hot soapy water

Grate the olive oil soap and dilute in hot soapy water

Olive Oil Soap

Dissolve the Grated Olive Oil Soap in Hot Water

Dissolve a small quantity of the olive oil soap in hot water and pour it into a squeeze bottle or use a sponge to add the soapy water to the fibers.

Dish washing liquid soap may be substituted. Olive oil soap however, tends to be a lot kinder to the hands and also the merino wool roving.

Draw and Cut out the Template

1. Draw and cut out a circle from the laminate floor underlay.

It should have a diameter of around 20 inches. Bubblewrap or cardboard may be substituted, however, cardboard will fall apart and crack if it becomes too waterlogged.

The Resist/Template

Cardboard template/resist which measures 20 inches across - alternative would be to make it out of bubble wrap or floor laminate cushioning.

Cardboard template/resist which measures 20 inches across - alternative would be to make it out of bubble wrap or floor laminate cushioning.

Place the Resist on a Piece of Bubblewrap

Place a piece of bubble-wrap down onto a waterproof surface with the bubbles facing up.

Layer 1

Place a circular layer of wool roving onto the resist shape

Place a circular layer of wool roving onto the resist shape

Allow the Fibers to Extend a Little Beyond the Edge

Begin by laying down the wool fibers. These fibers should extend beyond the edge of the resist.

If you would like to incorporate special details or patterns into your cave, do this on this layer and then turn your project inside out on completion of the project, making this layer your top layer.

I kept my layers plain and did not turn the project inside out at a later stage.

A Circle of Wool Roving

A circle of wool roving

A circle of wool roving

Cover the Template


Put the fibers down in a circular pattern as shown above.

Continue adding fibers in a circular pattern until the whole of the template has been covered.

The Completed Circle of Fibers

One side of the resist completely covered in wool fibers (layer 1)

One side of the resist completely covered in wool fibers (layer 1)

Cover the Fibers Carefully with Curtain Netting

Cover with curtain netting and wet them with hot soapy water

Cover with curtain netting and wet them with hot soapy water

Wet the Fibers with Hot Soapy Water

With the curtain netting in place, wet the fibers below with hot soapy water.

Press down on the project and smooth the fibers dpwm gently with your hands. Press the water out towards the edges but keeping the wool which extends beyond the edges dry. These will be folded over to the other side in the next step.

The Wet Fibers

Press down on the wet wool and smooth down and out towards the edges as shown

Press down on the wet wool and smooth down and out towards the edges as shown

Flatten the Fibers

Flatten the wet fibers until the edge of the template is reached.

Remove the Curtain Netting Gently

Carefully remove the curtain netting

Carefully remove the curtain netting

Removing the Curtain Netting

When the fibers below the curtain netting are wet through and smoothed down, remove the netting very carefully. Try not to displace the fibers as you do this.

Turn the Template Over

Turn the template over and fold the wool fibers over with a little hot soapy water

Turn the template over and fold the wool fibers over with a little hot soapy water

Fold in the Dry Edges

Fold the dry edges over the edges of the template. Use wet soapy hands and a little extra water to smooth them neatly over the edge.

Cover the Template with a New Layer of Fibers

Repeat, cover the second side with a layer of fibers.  Overlap the edges as shown.

Repeat, cover the second side with a layer of fibers. Overlap the edges as shown.

Second Side of the 1st Layer

Cover with a layer of fibers

Cover with a layer of fibers

Cover with Curtain Netting

Cover and wet as before and smooth out the fibers to the edge of the template

Cover and wet as before and smooth out the fibers to the edge of the template

Carefully Remove the Curtain Netting

Carefully remove the curtain netting

Carefully remove the curtain netting

Turn the Template Over

Turn the template over on the bubble-wrap covered surface

Turn the template over on the bubble-wrap covered surface

Fold in the Edges

Fold over the edges and dampen down

Fold over the edges and dampen down

Both Sides of Layer 1 Are Now Complete!

Both sides of the template have now been covered in one layer of merino wool fibers.

It is now time to repeat this process until you have 4 layers of wool on both side of the template.

Repeat Until You Have 4 Layers on Each Side of the Template

Cover the template on both sides with merino wool as before until there are 4 layers on both sides.

The Final Layer (5)

The first layer on layer 5 should extend over the edge of the template as previously shown.

The final layer of the second side should NOT overlap the edge of the template.

Any loose fibers can however be neatened over the edge and damped down with hot soapy water.

You now have five layers of wool on both sides of the template.

Layer 5

Image shows the final layer of wool fibers being taken to the edge but not over it.

Image shows the final layer of wool fibers being taken to the edge but not over it.

Second Side of Layer 5

As can be shown in this image, the fibers have not been allowed to extend beyond the edge of the template.

This last layer should be damped down and any loose fibers should be tidied up before proceeding with the felting process.

You may wish to experiment with a variety of felting methods shown below:-

  1. Felting with a Palm Sander
  2. Rolling the project in a Bamboo Blind
  3. Rolling the project in Bubble-wrap
  4. Using a combination of these methods which may include a Tumble Dryer and a Balloon



Bamboo Mat Versus Palm Sander and Tumble Dryer

If you don't have a sander, you may wish to roll the project in a bamboo blind or bubble-wrap.

The former works extremely well. Remember to keep on turning the project around so that the rolling takes place from several angles. This help maintain the nice round shape of the cat cave.

The template inside will buckle and bend as the felting process takes place. The five layers of wool will take a lot of rolling.

ALTERNATIVELY USE A PALM SANDER!

Cover the wet fibers with a sheet of bubble-wrap, bubble side down and then cover with a thick sheet of clear plastic sheeting as shown here.

Sand with the palm sander until the fibers no longer move beneath your fingers.

You may wish to roll the project in a bamboo blind further until you are certain that the fibers below have been completely felted.

I cheated a little and resorted to a tumble dryer and a balloon when my cardboard resist began to disintegrate!

Palm Sander

Palm Sander (Sand Critter)

Palm Sander (Sand Critter)

Palm Sander

This is the type of sander which can be used to help felt the wet fibers. It should be one of the type which has no dust extractor.

Cover the Project with Bubble-Wrap and a Thick Sheet of Clear Plastic if Using a Palm Sander

Cover with a sheet of bubble-wrap, bubble side down and a thick sheet of clear plastic

Cover with a sheet of bubble-wrap, bubble side down and a thick sheet of clear plastic

Felting with the Palm Sander

Sand the project with the palm sander until the fibers no longer move under your fingers.

Or Use Bubble-Wrap And/Or a Bamboo Blind

Roll in bubble wrap, bubble side down using a wooden rolling pin or use a bamboo mat

Roll in bubble wrap, bubble side down using a wooden rolling pin or use a bamboo mat

Once Felted, Mark a Small Circle in the Wool

Mark a small circle in the wool with a small round object, about three inches in diameter.  I used a roll of masking tape to press the circle with.

Mark a small circle in the wool with a small round object, about three inches in diameter. I used a roll of masking tape to press the circle with.

Mark a Circle in the Top Layer

Mark a small hole in the top layer.

Do this by pressing a small round object into the wool.

It should have a diameter of around three inches. Cut around the mark and remove the small circle of fibers. Be careful not to cut through the bottom layer. Make sure that the edges of the cut hole are sanded or rubbed until they are stable before removing the template.

Don't make the hole any larger than three inches. It will stretch. Better to have a hole which is too small rather than one which is too large.

A small hole can easily be made larger later. Once made larger the fibers can be massaged with hot soapy water until they felt neatly together.

Felting Is Not an Exact Science as I Found Out!

A sander was used very effectively to felt the outer fibers of this project. However, the layers below did not felt as well, partly due to their thickness.

When I cut the hole as shown below I found that the underneath layers were not felted as much as i would have liked them to be.

The cardboard template also became rather fragile during the process.

I decided to carry out some damage limitation. I carefully removed the wet cardboard, pulling pieces through the entrance to the cave and then very carefully placed it into the tumble dryer.

I then inserted a balloon into the cave entrance and blew it up and then knotted the end. I did it this way because blown up, the balloon was larger than the entrance to the tumble dryer.

I was left with some little slack around the balloon which I knew would soon be taken up once the tumble dryer had worked its magic.

I kept on checking on the progress and once all the slack had been taken up by the shrinking fibers, I burst the balloon and inserted a new one. Once again I left some slack which allowed for further shrinkage to take place in the tumble dryer.

There is no doubt that the tumble dryer gives one a much firmer texture to the kitten cave.. This is is exactly what one needs if you are making a cat cave. I have seen many caves made where the fibers clearly were not sufficiently felted. These could be salved by using this method.


If You Don't Have a Tumble Dryer!

Put bubble wrap bubble side down onto both sides of the project.

Roll with a rolling pin or use a rolling pin which you have covered with a sushi mat. Use elastic bands to keep it on or

Alternatively, a bamboo blind can be used very effectively for larger projects such as this one.

Keep on turning the project so that that you are rolling from a different angle. This will help to maintain its perfect shape. The edges of the template might move around a little but this is acceptable as it helps prevent a ridge from forming where the end of the template stops.

The template will start to buckle and bend underneath as the fibers below begin to shrink.

The Inflated Balloon Inside the Felted Cave

The felting process once the felting process has taken place in the tumble dryer.

The felting process once the felting process has taken place in the tumble dryer.

A Balloon Inside the Felted Project

This image shows the cat/kitten cave after felting in the tumble drier. Burst the balloon and remove it from the cave.

Rinse and Dry

Cat cave stuffed with towels and bubble-wrap, left to shape and dry on a cake rack.  Remove the towels and bubble-wrap when it can be seen that the shape will be maintained.

Cat cave stuffed with towels and bubble-wrap, left to shape and dry on a cake rack. Remove the towels and bubble-wrap when it can be seen that the shape will be maintained.

Rinse with Hot and Cold Water

Rinse with hot and cold water and then give the project a final rinse in water which has a dash of white vinegar added to it. Pack with towels, shape and allow to dry on a cake rack. Remove the towels when it is evident that the cave is self supporting.

One Kitten Cave/Now Occupied

One Kitty Cave occupied by a resident

One Kitty Cave occupied by a resident

Questions & Answers

Question: What is the estimated cost of the materials to make a wet felted cat?

Answer: It could cost you as little as £12 if you purchased Botany Waste from World of Wool. For your money, you get 500 grams of wool which sometimes has a little synthetic fiber added to the mix. You don't have to use these for your project, but you could add them to the surface for decoration. If for any reason they are out of stock, put your name down and they will come back to you when it becomes available again. You won't get to choose your colors, but you will get some fabulous fiber in a variety of glorious colors. This is the route I would take for this project to save on cost. I neither work for them or are sponsored in any way, I just find it the most cost-effective way to buy my wool. I seldom buy anything else these days. Alternatively, you could look on e-Bay for merino wool is being sold 'used' but is really wool which might be left over from a project. Unfortunately felting wool is becoming increasingly more expensive. You are likely to get at least two cat caves out of the 500 grams of wool you purchase though it does depend on how large you are going to make your cave. The one here was made for a kitten rather than a large cat.

Question: Could 100% wool quilt batting be used to make a cat cave? If yes, how would I get the two sides to stay together?

Answer: If you mean pure wool which has been carded into batts, I cannot see any reason why you could not use it to make a cat cave. A combination of warm soapy water and friction will fuse to layers together.

Question: What heat level do you use for tumbling the wet felted cat cave in the dryer?

Answer: My tumble dryer is a small one which has only 'hot or cool' settings. I use the hot setting, but many people say that it is the tumbling effect which helps the felting process. I feel that heat helps speed it up. I would suggest that you experiment with different heat levels and use the one which suits you.

Question: Roughly how long does it take to make a wet felted cat/kitten cave from start to finish?

Answer: It probably took me about a morning. Never put yourself under any pressure to complete a project in one day. There is no reason why it can't be done in easy stages! Cover dry fibers with bubble wrap and put a weight on the top to stop them from being displaced by any movement such as a breeze, or someone, or the cat passing by. Wet layers left for a few days will come to no harm. Simply wet them again when you are ready to continue. Don't leave them so long that they grow mold. My limit would be about 4 or 5 days. Most times the wool will need wetting again before I can continue. I hope that helps.

Question: Approximately what weight of wool did you need to make a wet felted cat?

Answer: It really does depend on how large you are going to make your cat cave, but I would estimate that this one probably weighed about 400 grams. To be on the safe side, I would purchase 500 grams of Botany Waste Yarn from World of Wool as the price is very reasonable. You won't get to choose your colors, as it will be a lucky dip. I find that it is wonderful for large or small projects. Just remember that it sometimes contains fibers which are not pure wool. These can be used to enhance the look of your cat cave but cannot be used on their own as they will not felt. Alternatively, you could use wool from a fleece to bring down the cost.

Question: How much wool (approx. in grams) do you need for this project?

Answer: I estimate that I used approximately 200 grams of wool roving for this project. Please bear in mind that my cat cave was designed to be used by a kitten. I would purchase at least 250 grams if it were for a fully grown cat.

Question: I’ve made a felted hat before, using a crochet pattern. The size of hat was very large so I alternately washed and tumble dried until I got the size I wanted. Can it be done this way also? Curious

Answer: I would say that the answer lies in whether or not the wool you used is pure wool or not! Pure wool can be shrunk and shaped to almost any shape you want but if it contains synthetic yarn I think it unlikely. It really will depend on how close the crochet stitches were formed. I have never done it myself so I think it unlikely but you could always experiment with something smaller.

Question: Have you thought about using raw washed sheep fleece or dog fur to create a cat cave?

Answer: Yes, I have used raw washed sheep fleece and also dog fur for another project. The former worked well, the latter was not something I would like to do again. I neither enjoyed the smell of dog fur or liked the result.

© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 23, 2020:

Chitrangada Sharan, you have been such a loyal follower and I am so grateful for each and every visit. Thank you so much!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 23, 2020:

Congratulations for winning the crafty prize. It’s so well deserved. I have been following your work since long. These are beautifully done.

Thanks for sharing the details.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 23, 2020:

These cat caves are very popular with cat lovers:) I was delighted to read that you too are a winner in the crafty contest. Congratulations Bev!

Bev G from Wales, UK on July 23, 2020:

I love these! A few years ago I crocheted a cat cave but none of our cats would go in it. These felted ones look much nicer. Congratulations on winning the crafty contest, Sally. xx

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 22, 2020:

Hi Glenn, I had no idea I had won the contest before I read this. This win comes tinged with a little sadness as this cat, belonging to a dear friend, went missing soon after I made the cat cave. She was a free spirit, and a fearful hunter, but at least I still have the memory and the photos I took on the occasion.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on July 22, 2020:

Wow, I never saw anything like that before. Very unique, and it makes a great gift for cat owners. You did a great job with the clear details describing how to make this Sally. And your pictures add the extra touch that's needed to easily follow along.

Well done, and congratulations on winning the crafty contest with this.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on June 21, 2019:

Hi Kimberly, I hope you do but be careful, this art form can be addictive:)

Kimberly Schimmel from Greensboro, NC on June 20, 2019:

Wow! This is wonderful. I have fulled knitted objects, but never done straight felting. If I ever do, this will be my reference point.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 26, 2018:

Hello Gwen,

It really does depend on how big you are going to make it. I would estimate about 250 grams but I have never made a large one. It also depends on how thick your layers are and even the type of wool. I suggest buying Botany Waste Wo0l from World of Wool which is very reasonable and although you don't get your own choice of colors, you will get 500 grams for about £12. Not sure where you are based though. I hope that helps.

gwen on January 26, 2018:

How much merino wool do I need to make a cat cave for a large cat?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 11, 2017:

It sounds to me as if you either did not Felt the cave hard enough in the first place or you did not use thick enough layers. I would suggest putting it into the tumble dryer for a few minutes at a time if you have one. Check its progress often and then when it is hard enough wet it again and pack firmly with towels with plastic bags or even balls or balloons. Alternatively, you could wet it again with soap and water and roll inside a heavy-duty bamboo blind until the wool felts a bit harder and then you can rinse, hit on a hard surface and pack it again with towels or plastic bags until it is dry. I hope that helps.

Shari on December 11, 2017:

What do you do to get it to hold its shape. I made a cat cozy following your instructions except for the drying and the cat cozy does not hold its shape. Do you have any suggestions as to what can be done? Thanks

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 10, 2017:

I would suggest that you roll the project inside a large bamboo blind if you are a beginner at felting. If not please read my instructions carefully for felting with a sander. https://discover.hubpages.com/art/How-to-Wet-Felt-...

Martha's typepad on October 10, 2017:

I am a little confused about the use of a sander. Do you use sandpaper? directly on the wool?

sign me,

Perplexed.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 06, 2017:

Hello, I use mine on the normal drying program. Others use it on cool or cold. It is really the bumping around that causes the wool to felt so a little experimentation will be required depending on what sort of results you want. Just keep on checking the contents of the dryer often to prevent it from shrinking too much. I think you will find that hot or warm will make the item felt quicker.

Casey on October 03, 2017:

What type of dryer cycle do you use? Temperature?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 06, 2017:

I would appreciate that. I am sure you can sprinkle some cat nip on the wool, do it in the final rinse instead of throughout the making of the cat cave. If the cat is large, make the template bigger, always easier to shrink something down than have it too small.

Barb on September 06, 2017:

I'm going to try it----my daughter has a large Maine Coon cat that loves to sleep in a plastic bag! I'm wondering if I could sprinkle some cat nip on the wool as I am "building" the cave? Will let you know how it goes!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on August 13, 2017:

Unfortunately or (fortunately) I sold the only one I had left today:) I could have weighed it and given you the finished weight of it. Not sure where you live but you could buy a 500-gram bag of Botany Lap Waste from World of Wool and you will have plenty and some over for the price of only £9. I am in no way affiliated with World of Wool.

CJ on August 13, 2017:

How much roving does this take?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 14, 2017:

You can use a sander to do the felting but remember to use all the safety precautions associated using this method or alternatively do the felting by hand. Every project is different as even the thickness of the wool will makes a difference.

Ximena on May 12, 2017:

Hello, how long must the sander pass and what is its function?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 04, 2017:

If you think you cat cave won't fit into the dryer with the balloon you can always put the project into the dryer, including the template and let it shrink. That is assuming you have used a plastic template (or bubble wrap). Thereafter take it out of the dryer, cut the entrance hole and remove the template, rinse well hole and put it back into the dryer for a few minutes to seal the cut edge. Thereafter fill the cat cave with something like towels or plastic bags so that it keeps the cave shape whilst it is drying. I hope that helps.

Tdavigan on April 03, 2017:

Thanks for the additional info. So far the project is a success. I'm on the last step (felting in the dryer). I'm noticing that I have some puckers around the edge. It's not totally dry yet, but I was nervous about going too much further. Should I have less slack in my balloon? I was worried that if I blew up the balloon too much it wouldn't fit in my dryer! Any suggestions?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 24, 2017:

As I understand it a cat which is 16 pounds and over would need a template which is at least 30 inches in diameter though I think that if I were making one for your cat, I would make it even larger than that, especially if you use the tumble dryer method. I have just completed a Pumpkin Cave which will be featured in my Etsy shop next week as a digital download. There I used a template which was 30 inches in diameter. The completed cat cave has a circumferance of 50cm (Pumpkin Shape) and a height of about 12 inches. If you think you cat is even larger than that you might want to go even bigger. There are so many variables such as the type of wool used, whether shrinkage took place in a tumble dryer etc., or even how long it spent in the dryer or whether it was felted by hand. Keep an eye out for my quick and easy pumpkin cat cave on Etsy, I think you may find it even easier.

tdavigan on March 24, 2017:

I'm inspired to make a cat cave! However, my ragdoll kitten is already big for his age and is projected to be over 20 pounds as an adult. How much larger would I cut my resist circle to accommodate a large cat?

LindaLW666 on March 08, 2017:

Fabulous project. i haven't been even considering doing any 'wet' felting projects until I saw this one. I thought wet felting was going to be too involved and complicated! But I think maybe I can do it, now that I have this tutorial to help! Thanks for posting!

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

YY

I would wet the project again and roll it a bit more. I more often than not use a heavy duty bamboo blind to roll my work in. Keep on unrolling it and changing the direction in which you roll the project and you will get the felt a lot harder or you could just roll the project up into a sausage and roll that. You can also roll the project up and hit it against a wall firmly. The fibers will tighten considerably. Rinse it well under hot and cold water and when you have done that, blow up a balloon and put it inside the cat cave and let it dry or use towels as you did before. I think it is all about rubbing and rolling and getting the felt hard enough to become self-supporting when it is dry. It is true that the tumble dryer helps one make a firmer felt but it can definitely be done with some addition rubbing and rolling. Felt is a remarkable fabric, it will take on whatever shape you put inside. It will take on almost any shape with additional if you put something inside and rub using warm water and a good rub with folded bubblewrap. I do hope this helps. Pack it well and allow it to dry and it should be the shape you want it to be.

YY on January 18, 2017:

Hello! Thanks for the tutorial. I have made mine a few days ago and the cat cave does not look as round and tall as yours. My cat cave is very flat (like a flattened hamburger)... Does it have to do with the felting process? I hand-felted it as I do not have a tumble dryer and I have only filled the cat cave with towels and bubble wrap when drying. Is it possible to re-shape the cat cave by pouring hot water over it?

Another question: I will make one more and I would like to know how to make it upright and round as yours!!!!

Thank you !!!:)

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 16, 2017:

I can only estimate that you will need approximately 1 pound of wool roving. My kitten was only a few months old when I made the kitten cave.

Circe on January 16, 2017:

How much roving do you need in ounces?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 04, 2017:

kris 

Firstly, you cover the flat plastic template with 4 layers of wool on both sides of the template.

You lay the project inside a bamboo blind and roll until it passes the pinch test. This is when the fibres will no longer move when you pinch them together between your fingers. This will take quite a lot of rubbing or rolling. I almost always use a heavy duty bamboo blind as it makes light work or the rolling which can take a long time especially if you use bubble wrap instead of the bamboo.

You cut the small hole and shown and remove the template. The small piece of felt will not be required.

You only cut through the top layer of wool which still has the plastic template inside.

Remove the template by pulling it out through the hole.

You put the balloon inside the opening (or it could be a large ball) and blow it up while it is inside the cavity and yes, this is a 2d piece of flat felt before the balloon or ball is put inside and inflated.

The tumble dryer will do the rest of the felting. It will shrink the fibres against the blown up balloon which can then be removed.

Felt takes on the shape of balloon or ball and once it is dry the balloon or ball can be removed. Remember that this project takes a lot of time and a lot of energy to get it to the stage where the ball can be inserted.

I hope that this helps. Let me know if you need further explanation.

kris on January 04, 2017:

H. This is SO great! thank you! I have a question though....you lost me where you cut the 3 inch circle and somehow it molded itself around a balloon and into a ball?

So it's laying flat...

you use the masking tape for a circle..

you...?cut the circle out?

then?

roll the piece in roller/bamboo mat? so it's still flat?

what happens with the circle i cut out?

how does it magically become a ball so that anything can be inserted, much less a balloon?

Thank you!!!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 29, 2016:

Hi carol ahearn

So glad you figured out how to save your project. Often all you need to do is give the fibers a good roll with a bamboo blind or, alternatively you can put it into the tumble dryer for a few minutes at a time.

Nice to know that Kitten has a new resting place. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is much appreciated.

Sally

carol ahearn on October 29, 2016:

my first attempt at a cat pod was a bitloose .so I flattened it again and soaped it again THEN ROLLED IT LIKE CRAZY it is now just as it should be .Thank you for your easy to follow tutorial MY kitten now has a pod to be proud of

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 03, 2016:

Thank you very much. I appreciate the feedback and wish you success with your project.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 03, 2016:

You certainly have well presented instructions. I am not so crafty but will see if I can give this a try. My inside Kitty, Milo, would no doubt love one.

Angels are on the way to you ps

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 24, 2016:

Hello Marion,

I usually use Merino wool roving for making my projects. It felts easily as compared to some other wool.

Recently I have begun opening the roving out and putting it down flat in rows on big projects. Do this instead of pulling bits off the length as was shown here in this tutorial. Open up a length of wool roving by running your fingers down it and then gently open them until they are flat. Place the fibers down in even rows and treat the edges as was shown here in this tutorial. Just turn them over the edges to the other side. Put down another row of roving aligning each row next to the other until you have completed the side. Wet the first layers and do the other side the same. On the 2nd layer place the fibers down now in the opposite direction and even the 3rd if you feel you need another.

One of my favorite tools these days is a large bamboo curtain blind. Use a recycled one or buy one from a car boot or similar for next to nothing. You can use it for so many projects, especially hats. Put the cave into the blind and roll. Rotate the cave often inside the blind roll until you can feel all the layers have felted. More is better than insufficient rolling and it is so easy in a blind.

I buy most of my roving from e-Bay but sometimes from Wingham Wool. I like to buy at least 500 grams at a time when I buy on e-bay. It is much cheaper in bulk even if you have to wait for wool which is listed as 'used'. It will not be used, but sometimes it is wool which is being sold cheaply because the seller gave up on their hobby. I don't worry too much about the color, getting the price is important I know when you are starting out, the cheaper the better. That takes the stress out of you perhaps 'messing up'. You can't go wrong with Merino Wool Roving.

Use your fingers to check for those thin spots before you begin the felting process. If there is any doubt about the evenness of your layers, add more wool to those spots before you move on. I prefer to do another layer rather than end up with thin spots. However they can be filled with some needle felting but I prefer to get it right first time. A project like a cat cave need not be done in one day. Do one layer and return the next day to do the rest if you have to. It won't make a jot of difference.

try to pay as little as I can for wool. I buy the best quality, at least 500 grams to 1 kg at a time and take what I can get in color except if I am making something really special.

I hope that helps.

Sally

Marion Kennedy on April 24, 2016:

Have you ever done the cat cave using batting instead of roving?

I made a bird pod using roving and it was beautiful but a little thin in places. I then made another one using batting but it was too bulky around the top. This was a tryout before embarking on a full size cat cave but once again I was too sparing on the batting and it is very thin in places. I'm still new at this wet felting and am trying to figure out the difference between all the different fibres available and what is a good price to pay.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 03, 2016:

Karen

Thanks for taking the time to comment on this tutorial. Just a little more advice, don't use paper for your template, use a thick sheet of plastic. I have discovered that I can roll the wool covered template inside a plastic roller blind. It takes all the hard work out of getting the fibers to fuse together. After this you can put the project into the tumble dryer to complete the process. Leave the template in while it spins around and once felted properly you can cut a hole in the project and put a balloon into the cavity and put it back in the tumble dryer to shape. Don't forget to add a little water to the balloon. I wish you success with your cat cave.

Karen on March 03, 2016:

wonderful, clear instructions - thank you. I've been wanting to try this for a while now!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 09, 2015:

Rebekah

I think one of the attractions to this art form for me. It is just so experimental! One does not need to conform to any set rules, except the basic ones and I love that.

I think I would just shape the template to the pear shape you are looking for and perhaps felt the entire project with a sander or do it by hand. Make the template from thick plastic or floor underlay rather than cardboard as I did here. The cardboard can disintegrate and make things awkward for you. A lot of rubbing or sanding will be involved but make sure you felt all the layers carefully. I have learned over time that it is sometimes better to felt one layer at a time before adding the next layer. It really does not seem to matter much if you can't manage to complete this all in one sitting. Just continue where you left off the previous day. Wet the wool with more hot soapy water and continue adding fiber and rub or sand as before.

You might look for balloons which resemble more like the shape you are looking for, make the template a similar shape to that of the balloon you choose if you are using this method above.

You are of course limited by the size of the tumble dryer if you do it mechanically as was done here.

When working with balloons remember to always add some water to them before placing them in the tumble dryer. Without water the balloons will expand too much and want to escape from the cat hole entrance. Water adds weight and makes the balloons more manageable too.

I appreciate your taking the time to comment on this hub and I do hope you have fun with this project.

Sally

Rebekah on December 08, 2015:

Fantastic tutorial! I'm wanting to make a couple cat caves as gifts and have been searching for a clear tutorial with excellent photos... This is, by far, the best I've found! Any ideas or tips on how to create a "drop" shape that tapers to a point at the top?? I've seen some amazing, whimsical looking cat caves with that shape shared on facebook and on etsy, but I'm not advanced enough to figure out how to get the shape. I'm planning to make this basic pod shape first as my first and then maybe experiment with more complicated styles and shapes. Thanks!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on August 31, 2015:

Au fait

Not too difficult but might be a good idea to try a smaller project for the first time. I can recommend the coin purses which uses a similar principle. Felting is not an exact science and it does help if you understand how the felting wool will behave under different circumstances.

C E Clark from North Texas on August 30, 2015:

Looks interesting. I've never done anything like this. It's something to think about. Doesn't look too difficult. :)

The music in the video was interesting too.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on June 24, 2015:

DaltonGangMom

I hope you enjoy making this project and that it goes well.

Best wishes,

Sally

DaltonGangMom on June 24, 2015:

Sally,

You've inspired me to make my own cat cave! Great instructions!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 23, 2015:

Simona

Hi,

I weighed the completed Kitten Cave and it weighed just under 400 grams. I hope that helps.

Kind regards,

Sally.

Simona on May 23, 2015:

How much wool roving did you use for this cave?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 09, 2015:

Glimmer Twin Fan

Once you understand how wool behaves when heat, soap and friction are applied to it, it is one of the most creative art forms that I know of. It is true that the results can sometimes be quite unpredictable, but I think it is well worth the effort. I am glad you liked reading about the kitten cave project. Thank you very much for stopping by to comment.

Best wishes

Sally

Claudia Mitchell on May 09, 2015:

You make felting look so incredibly easy Sally. This is a gorgeous project! My parents recently got a cat, but I think this would be way above me. Well done Sally!!!!!

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

Hi Suzanne, lovely to find you gracing one of my pages again. Thanks for the compliment too. I am glad you liked my little kitten pod. I enjoyed making it and very much appreciate the vote up, awesome and pinned.

Best wishes,

Sally

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on April 12, 2015:

How cute is this cat pod? You really are a queen of wet felting and I encourage anyone to check out your profile for all the useful felting tutorials on there. Voted awesome and pinned!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 08, 2015:

peachpurple

Glad you enjoyed this felting tutorial. I had no sooner turned my back and this kitten had climbed obligingly into the kitten cave. So cute! Thanks for your comment.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 08, 2015:

this is so cute, I am sure all kitties would love to snuggle in, great tutorial pictures

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 02, 2015:

FlourishAnyway

Thank you very much. I Appreciate the visit. It is lways lovely to have you grace one of my pages.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 02, 2015:

That is one lucky kitty! I hope he or she has some catnip to nibble on in that felt cave. S/he may not come out all night. You have such unique ideas and thorough instructions. You totally own the wet felting space. Go girl!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 01, 2015:

Falth Reaper

I am afraid the craft industry does not quite work that way. Usually one works long hours for not a lot of financial reward. It is however nice to be able to share the process with others in this way. I am glad I achieved this. Thank you for the tweet, pin G+ and share. It is much appreciated. Have a great Easter.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 01, 2015:

randomcreative

You are very welcome. Thank you for stopping by. Your visit is appreciated and valued as always, Happy Easter to you.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 01, 2015:

MsDora

Thank you so much, you visit is appreciated and valued as always. Happy Easter to you.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 01, 2015:

Wow, Sally, these are amazing! Boy, you should market these and become a millionaire overnight! But now we all know how to make them ourselves : ) Great tutorial and your photos are always helpful, along with your easy to follow along instructions.

You have the market on the most creative crafts that I have every seen here or anywhere.

Up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Beautiful work as always.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 01, 2015:

So fabulous! I know that there are many many kitties out there that would love homemade felted cat caves. Thanks for another great tutorial!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 01, 2015:

Your instructions are expertly laid out in words and pictures, and your finished product is beautiful, creative and unique--as usual. I admire your talent very much.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 01, 2015:

purl3agony

Not sure that I would like to make a people cave though the Mongolians make Yurts which are made out of felt. Now there is an idea!

I think the kitten caves could easily be used as nesting boxes or bird pods if they were made smaller using the same techniques I used here. They would be very decorative in the garden or great hanging up on a verandah between the pot plants.

My best wishes to you for Easter,

Sally

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 01, 2015:

billybuc

You don't have to say anything, just finding you here is always a blessing to me and I am grateful for every visit, Happy Easter to your and yours Billy,

Thank you

Sally

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 01, 2015:

DJ Anderson

Your comments are delightful, I always look forward to receiving them. They are as unique as is the kitty cave. I hope your Easter is a very Happy one,

Best wishes,

Sally

Donna Herron from USA on April 01, 2015:

Great tutorial! These pet caves are so cool and I love the technique you used. I wonder if these pods could have a non-pet use? I wonder if I can make a people cave, so I can curl up inside and take a nice nap? :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 01, 2015:

I never know what to say on these craft articles of yours, Sally. They are so far removed from my life that I lack words. I know you know what you are talking about. That's obvious from the very clear instructions and great pics of you doing the project. I guess, more than any other reason, I'm here because you are a friend and I believe in supporting friends...especially friends who are writers. :) Well done, Sally.

Bill

DJ Anderson on April 01, 2015:

What a fun idea! I do not have a cat, but this is a super

idea for those who have cats.

You come up with the most unique ideas. Your tutorials

would be easy to follow. I may have to go get a kitty!! LOL

DJ.