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How to Make Wet Felted Coin Purses (14-Step Photo Tutorial)

Sewing a tiny clasp to a wet felted coin purse with contrasting embroidery thread.

Sewing a tiny clasp to a wet felted coin purse with contrasting embroidery thread.

Wet Felting in a Tumble Dryer

A reader once wrote to me wanting to know how she could salvage a Bird Pod which she had made, and which was covered in thin spots or holes, from going into the bin. I suggested at the time that she try needle felting additional wool fibers to the thin areas of the pod and, once completed, 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 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 go wrong!

A Faster, Easier Way to Wet-Felt

Wet felting does not have to be time-consuming—with a tumble dryer, it is possible to make multiple items in one sitting.

What's more, 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, and wooden wool carders can be used to comb waste fibers together to make your own projects just like this one.

A small group of felt coin purses in the making.

A small group of felt coin purses in the making.

A group of wet felted coin purses which were all made at one sitting, alongside two polystyrene balls.

A group of wet felted coin purses which were all made at one sitting, alongside two polystyrene balls.

Things You Need for This Felting Project

  • 10 Party Balloon (Small round ones work best.)
  • 10 Arch Kiss 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
  • Bubble-wrap
  • Scissors
  • 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.)

Step 1: Prepare the Waste Wool

Begin by preparing the waste merino wool. Combine the colors as desired or use wool roving bought especially for felting.

Waste Merino Wool Fibers

Waste Merino Wool Fibers

Step 2: Blend 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 have an individual touch.

My own wool carders have an individual touch.

Wooden Wool Carders and some blended waste woolen fibers

Wooden Wool Carders and some blended waste woolen fibers

Combing some of the blended waste woolen fibers on the wooden carders.

Combing some of the blended waste woolen fibers on the wooden carders.

Step 3: Get the Size Right

In the image below are two 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%.

Two polystyrene balls. This image gives one an idea of the amount of shrinkage which is likely to take place.

Two polystyrene balls. This image gives one an idea of the amount of shrinkage which is likely to take place.

Step 4: 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.

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.

Partially fill the balloon with water and blow it up to the same size as the larger of the two balloons.

Partially fill the balloon with water and blow it up to the same size as the larger of the two balloons.

Step 5: 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.

Comparing Balls to Balloons.  A piece of Bubble-wrap is shown tied up inside the knot.

Comparing Balls to Balloons. A piece of Bubble-wrap is shown tied up inside the knot.

Step 6: Spray the Balloon With Hot, Soapy Water

Start by spraying the balloon down with hot, soapy water until it is thoroughly covered.

Spray Hot Soapy Water onto the Inflated Party Balloon

Spray Hot Soapy Water onto the Inflated Party Balloon

Step 7: Wrap the Wool Fibers Around the Wet Balloon

Carefully wrap the dry wool fibers around the wet balloon.

Cover the wet party balloon with carded fibers

Cover the wet party balloon with carded fibers

The wrapped party balloon

The wrapped party balloon

Step 8: Spray Fibers and Rub or Roll

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.

Smooth down the fibers by rolling the balloon on a wet bubble-wrap surface.

Smooth down the fibers by rolling the balloon on a wet bubble-wrap surface.

Multiple coin purses in the making

Multiple coin purses in the making

Wool covered party balloons

Wool covered party balloons

Step 9: Put the Wool-Covered Balloons in Tights

Gently drop the balloons into the tights and cut and knot both ends.

Getting ready to put the fiber covered balloons into tights.

Getting ready to put the fiber covered balloons into tights.

Put the balls one by one into the legs from a pair of tights.

Put the balls one by one into the legs from a pair of tights.

Step 10: 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 them 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 back on and place in the tumble dryer. Felt for a few minutes and then remove the stockings again.

The fibers adhere very easily to the existing felt, and the holes and thin spots will disappear.

Party Balloons covered in tights

Party Balloons covered in tights

Step 11: Release Some of the Air and Water

Remove and untie the knot with the help of the knitting needle. Release the air and water to reduce the size to about thirty percent as shown in the images below.

Release some of the water and air, knot the balloon and replace it back in the tumble dryer

Release some of the water and air, knot the balloon and replace it back in the tumble dryer

Knotted balloons with air and water removed. Notice the slack.

Knotted balloons with air and water removed. Notice the slack.

Step 12: 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.

Step 13: Release Remaining Air and Water

Slit the opening and remove the balloon. Cut the opening to fit a small coin clasp. Stretch to fit the clasp with your fingers.

Felted coin purses with ballons removed and slits readied for clasps.

Felted coin purses with ballons removed and slits readied for clasps.

Gently stretch the opening until the clasp fits.

Gently stretch the opening until the clasp fits.

Step 14: Attach the Arch Frame and Sew on With Embroidery Thread

I like to use a contrasting color of embroidery for this step, as it adds pretty detail to the final product.

Arch Kiss Frames

Arch Kiss Frames can be purchased from Amazon or eBay. 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.

Attach a coin purse clasp with embroidery thread.

Attach a coin purse clasp with embroidery thread.

Complete your purse by attaching the coin clasp frame with embroidery thread.

Complete your purse by attaching the coin clasp frame with embroidery thread.

Fixing Things When They Go Wrong

Here are a few tips to help you troubleshoot any issues you may have when making this project.

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.

Need a change in color? Simply add some more fibers to the felted coin purse and tumble dry for a few minutes, remove some of the air and release some of the air.

Need a change in color? Simply add some more fibers to the felted coin purse and tumble dry for a few minutes, remove some of the air and release some of the air.

Remove 30% of the air and water and put back into the tumble dryer to felt.

Remove 30% of the air and water and put back into the tumble dryer to felt.

Share this Tutorial

More Wet Felting With Sallybea

Please Feel Free to Contact Me

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

Comments

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

Rebecca, thank you very much! It is always lovely to receive such positive feedback. If you find the time it would be lovely to hear how you get on. Enjoy!

Rebecca Scudder from Upstate New York on April 26, 2018:

These are lovely tutorials. I'll try the wet felted coin purses as soon as my frames arrive from Amazon. Thanks for writing them.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 13, 2018:

You are very welcome Karen, it so nice to receive such great feedback, thank you.

Karen from Columbia, Missouri, USA on February 13, 2018:

Thank you so much Sally! This is fabulous! Your tutorials are so thorough and easy to follow!

Karma Veranda on March 21, 2017:

This is a wonderful tutorial and the photos make it so easy to follow.

Is there any concerns about putting wet soapy balls in the dryer? Maybe some cleaning concerns afterwards?

I've been known to damage appliances in the delirium an art project.

I had my balls tucked in their pantyhose cocoons and ready to go before this question occurred so I hope someone can answer this quickly. The family get's a little sarcastic when they find a sink full of moms projects. "What type of noodles go with the furry meatballs?"

Thanks,

Karma

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 13, 2016:

Yes I do, I thought I had done that a long time ago. Thanks for that. I will change it DeeAnna.

DeeAnna on November 13, 2016:

You wrote in this tutorial -- "...The diameter of the one on the left is 10 inches (25cm). The diameter of the smaller one is 9 inches (22cm)..."

Sally -- did you mean "circumference" rather than "diameter"? The coin purses do not look as if they are 9-10 inches across. The distance around the ball (circumference) of 9-10 inches seems much more likely.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 10, 2016:

Hello Jane,

You are very welcome. Please come back to explore more of my felting tutorials. In particular I think you will enjoy making wet felted soaps and a large purse/bag in the tumble dryer:)

Best wishes,

Sally.

trypanosoma on March 10, 2016:

Thank you for your friendly andf fast information. In my tumbler are now 4 new purses. They are a little bit bigger than yours, but it's okay and I'm very very happy about them. I'm in the flow!

It is really a great tutorial - and for FREE! Thank you again and happy felting.

Jane

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

Hello,

I rather suspect that your English is better than mine. I should have said that 25cm is the circumference and not the diameter. I will have to correct my error. I meant to say that this measurement is the distance all the way around the ball and not that across the ball. The purses are small, they about the size of a small fist. If your coin purse has turned out too large, try shrinking them again in the tumble dryer. The polys ball is a child's party balloon, not blown up very much but with a little water inside.

I have written a handbag tutorial using the same method, using a recycle handbag frame for the handle. You can check that one out if you would like a larger bag. My apologies if I 'took you down the garden path'. Unfortunately felting is not an exact science but with the help of the tumble dryer you should be able to shrink you project as much or as little as you would like to. I hope you make many more purses with lots of success:) Kind regards,

Sally.

trypanosoma on March 09, 2016:

Thank you so much for this great tutorial. I could manage it and now I have two purses! But they are bigger than yours. So I have a little problem with the diameter of the balloon. 25cm as diameter? And than the tiny purse? The photo shows two balls in your hand. (Balloon and polys. ball) I think they are smaller than 25cm. My English is not so good, maybe I have something missunderstand?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 07, 2015:

Glimmer Twin Fan

I would say that this has been one of my greatest successes so far. Making the little coin purses in bulk has to be the easiest and cost effective way to make beautiful gifts for the masses. So nice of you to stop by to comment, thank you very much.

Sally

Claudia Porter on September 07, 2015:

So lovely Sally. I can imagine making a number of these as gifts for friends. I keep telling myself to try felting and I never seem to get around to it. I'm glad you keep producing these beautiful hubs so I can be reminded!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 06, 2015:

Hi Nadine,

Glad you enjoyed this one. I generally post my hubs once they have been published and hope that it will makes a difference to traffic. I think we should use every avenue at our disposal.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on September 06, 2015:

Your pictures so do the trick! I love learning about any kind of crafts. I saw that you have posted your craft articles on Google+ Good for you!

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

Nell Rose

I hope I get them published one day Nell. Nice to know that you enjoyed this hub. I very much appreciate the visit and your taking the time to comment, thank you.

Sally.

Nell Rose from England on August 31, 2015:

I saw what Billy said above, and your reply and I do hope you get all these down somehow, they are so darn clever! I would not have the patience for it, but its amazing! well done! nell

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 29, 2015:

DDE

Hello Devika,

So lovely to hear from you. Hope you do get around to doing this project, it really was a most successful one too. Thanks for the vote up.

Best wishes,

Sally

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 29, 2015:

a well thought of idea. Creative and something I would like to do myself. Voted up!

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

FlourishAnyway,

You did not miss that, I inserted the capsule to make it easy for you:)

Sally

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

FlourishAnyway,

No, I put the link in just for you.

Kind regards,

Sally

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 24, 2015:

Sorry I missed that. Thanks!

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

FlourishAnyway

I appreciate the very kind comment. The kiss clasp frames are easily sourced through Amazon or E-Bay. I have provided a link to this type of frame for you above, details above, remember though to look for the correct size for your purse. The balloons can be blown up larger for different size purses or bags. I wrote another hub on How to Wet Felt a Shoulder Bag on a Ball. This could be made using the same method.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 23, 2015:

Beautiful job, and I'd love to do something small like this that reuses merino yarn. Can you easily find the metal coin purse clasps?

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

KoffeeKlatch Gals

That is the plan. I do hope to write a wet felting book. It would be good to find a publisher first. Glad this found this fascinating. I very much appreciate your taking the time to stop by.

Best wishes,

Sally.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on July 12, 2015:

This is awesome. I was fascinated all the way through. I have never tried wet felting before so I was dropping in to have a little look. I am hooked. I agree with billybuc, you might want to think about writing a book about wet felting.

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