How to Make Wet Felted Coin Purses: A Free Tutorial
A Wet Felted Coin Purse
A Group of Coin Purses in the Making
A Group of Wet Felted Coin Purses + Two Polystyrene Balls
Using a Tumble Dryer for Wet Felting
Wet felting does not have to be time-consuming. It is possible to make multiple items in one sitting with a Tumble Dryer.
Buying waste yarn or using scraps from previous felting projects can keep the cost down. Waste yarn can be purchased so reasonably on e-Bay or Amazon.
Wooden Wool Carders can be used to comb waste fibers together to make your own projects just like this one.
Let Us Start With a Query From a Reader
A reader wrote to me recently wanting to know how she could salvage a Bird Pod which she had made from going into the bin. Her end result she said was a Bird Pod which was covered in thin spots or holes.
I suggested at the time that she tried needle felting additional wool fibers to the thin areas of the Pod and once completed she could wet it with hot soapy water and put it back into the tumble dryer to felt.
I now realize that there is a much easier solution available and it is one which does not require a needle felting tool.
This project proved to me that not only can felting be done very quickly in a tumble dryer but it can be used very effectively to remedy things which can sometimes do go wrong!
Things You Need to Do This Felting Project:
- 10 Party Balloon (Small round ones work best.)
- 10 Coin Purse Frames (bronze or silver)
- Waste Merino Wool Fibers
- Wooden Wool Carders
- Hot Soapy Water (Olive oil soap is kind to the hands.)
- Spray Bottle
- Used Tights or Stockings
- A Tumble Dryer
- Sewing Needle and Embroidery Thread (in matching or contrasting colors)
- Fine Knitting Needle (To help undo knots and to help push the cut edge of the felt up into the frame before sewing.)
Begin by preparing the waste merino wool. Combine the colors as desired or use wool roving bought especially for felting.
Waste Merino Wool Fibers
Blending the Waste Merino Wool Together
Comb the fibers together as desired and lay them out so that they look like a wool Bat. This makes it easy for you to check the evenness of the layers before you add the fibers to the balloons.
My Own Wool Carders
Wooden Wool Carders
Combing the Waste Woolen Fibers Using the Wooden Carders
Size Does Matter!
The Two Polystyrene Balls and How to Get the Size Right
On the image above are 2 polystyrene balls. These were used to determine the size required to make these tiny coin purses. They were not used for the project. They were used simply to check the dimensions for the purses.
The circumference of the one on the left is 10 inches (25 cm)
The circumference of the small one is 9 inches (22 cm)
The completed coin purse will end up being the size of the smaller polystyrene ball.
You may wish to simply measure the balloon without having an example to hand.
Shrinkage should be expected to be around 30%.
Always use a mix of air and water. Air on its own will expand and enlarge the balloon rather than allow it to maintain its original size and shape. Keep the opening as small as possible to give you a really neat opening.
Fill the Party Balloons With Air and Water
Half fill the party balloon with air and water.. Blow the balloon up to the size of the larger polystyrene ball shown here.
Water and Air Filled Party Balloon + Larger Polystyrene Ball
Tie a Little Piece of Bubble-Wrap Into the Knot
I like to tie a little piece of bubble wrap or cloth into the knot. It makes it easier to undo the balloon when I want to release a little air and water. I use a knitting needle to help facilitate this action.
Tie a Piece of Bubble-Wrap or Cloth into the Knot
Spray Hot Soapy Water onto the Party Balloon
Spray the Balloon With Hot Soapy Water
Carefully wrap the dry wool fibers around the wet balloon. Spray them wet and rub or roll on a wet piece of bubble-wrap. If you notice that the layer is too thin or has holes, add further layers carefully until you are completely satisfied that the balloon is well covered.
Don't make the area too thick near the purse opening as this will make it difficult to attach the purse frame but keep the wool close to the knot. It should just stick out as shown.
Cover the Balloon With the Blended Waste Wool Fibers
The Wrapped Party Balloon
Roll the Balloon Onto a Piece of Wet Bubble-Wrap
The Wet Wool Covered Party Balloon
Multiple Balloons Make for Multiple Coin Purses!
Party Balloons Covered in Combed Waste Fibers
Getting Ready to Put the Balloons Into Tights
Drop the Balloons Into the Tights, Cut and Knot Both Ends
Stocking Covered Balloons
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Time to Put All the Balloons Into the Tumble Dryer
Tumble dry for five minutes. They will felt very quickly. Be careful not to leave them too long as the stockings will adhere to the felt, making it difficult to remove.
At this stage check the balloon for any thin areas and if you see any, cover them with additional fibers. Simply place fibers on the holes or thin areas and smooth the wool down. Put the stocking on and place in the tumble dryer. Felt for a few minutes and then remove the stockings.
The fibers adhere very easily to the existing felt and the holes and thin spots will disappear.
Remove and untie the knot with the help of the knitting needle. Release the air and water, reduce the size to about thirty percent as shown in the images below.
Release Some of the Air and Water
Knotted Balloons, Minus Some of the Air and Water
Put Back Into the Tumble Dryer
Put back into the Tumble Dryer. There is no need to use the tights once the ball has felted. Allow the Tumble Dryer to shrink the balloons until the felt sits snugly against the balloon.
More Wet Felting With Sallybea
Cut the Opening and Release All the Air and Water
Attach the Arch Frame and Sew on With Embroidery Thread
Fixing things when they go wrong
Thin Spots or Holes
Simply add additional fibers. They will adhere to the first dry layer. Put the balloon into a stocking or a 'Freezer Bag' for a few minutes. Once felted (about five minutes in a freezer bag). three minutes in tights. Untie the knot and put the project back into the tumble dryer without the stockings or freezer bag to complete the felting process.
Continue as before by removing thirty percent of the air and water and felt again in the tumble dryer.
The freezer bag will retain the moisture but will still felt beautifully. Experiment and see which method you prefer.
Covered Holes and Thin Spots
Remove 30% of the Air and Water and Put Back Into the Tumble Dryer to Felt
Arch Kiss Frames
These can be purchased from Amazon or E-Bay. Remember to buy the right size for your purse. These should measure approximately four inches across from one side to the other. The actual arch measurements should be approximately 9x6.3cm. This is flexible as you can cut your slit accordingly but choose small ones for these little coin purses.
Complete by Attaching the Arch Frame With Embroidery Thread
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I love hearing from fellow Felt Makers. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share your own felt making experiences with me or with others.
© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen