Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Felted Soap

You couldn't ask for a more simple, enjoyable, and fun project! And I'm not just talking about something for the kids.

To use these fuzzy creations, you simply get it wet under running water and rub the fiber to lather up the soap. When you're finished, wipe off the excess soap suds and let it sit to dry.

Felted soaps are a gardener's best friend. Their fuzzy texture with its built-in soap dispenser makes cleaning fingernails a breeze! In fact, these soaps are better than a loofah.

So how does one make felted soap? Read on!

Step 1
Using a bar of soap, you're going to wrap it in fiber. I've used roving made from alpaca neck and legs that I dyed green (and in later photos it "magically" turns purple :-) but you can use any carded clean fiber. I wouldn't use uncarded fiber because it tends to create a lumpy fiber covering.
Step 1: wrap soap with fiber

Step 2
Using a gentle stream of water, wet the fiber and soap. As you are doing this, scrunch the entire thing to work up a soapy lather. An alternative is to add some soap foam from one of those hand soap dispensers that put out foam soap. This will get things started faster. Be careful not to shift the fiber in a way that creates holes. I've found the fiber felts pretty quickly so be sure to cover any bare spots right away. If you do end up with bare spots, you can try adding some more dry fiber. Sometimes this works, and sometimes this doesn't. It seems to depend on the type of fiber used. Step 2: wet and scrunch

Step 3
Felt. To wet felt (and not all fibers will felt - be sure to start with a feltable fiber like alpaca), fibers must be exposed to soap and agitation. Another component often found in wet felting is extreme temperature changes. Thankfully, we don't need that component in this process. So once you have a soapy lather, rub the bar of soap along its edges. The more you agitate the fiber, the more it will felt making a strong covering for the bar of soap.
Step 3: felt

Step 4
Rinse off the excess soap lather.

Step 4: rinse

And you're done! Let it sit out to dry.

Done!  Felted Soap


Sue said...

What a great post! I always wondered about making these soaps- I really think your directions are clear- the pictures great. Thanks for sharing! Oh, did you switch out the green fiber or was it some kind of a reaction?
Sue Ives

Kimberly said...

Thank you! Yes, I had to do the project twice because I needed additional photos so it looks like I switched soaps in the photos. If you look in the photo for step 2, you can see the finished purple soap on the edge of the sink.