Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Felted Soap

Looking for something quick and easy to make and give this Holiday Season?  Felted Soap makes a wonderful gift that even non fiber (are there such a thing?) people will love. 

 To get started you will need assorted colors of feltable roving. 

I have a big bag that came from Stony Mountain Fibers in Charlottesville, VA.  Barbara Gentry, the owner, has a lovely assortment of wool roving in all sorts of colors displayed in cubes along one wall of her shop.  I went through and put a random assortment of colors in a bag just for making soap and needle felting. 

You will also need the following:

Bars of soap  Obvious, I know, but you will still need them.  This batch came from our last vacation.  It's Crabtree & Evelyn and it was a nice hotel.  That's all Im saying!

Heat resistant kitchen gloves.  Mine are latex free.

A large glass container that can go in the microwave.  I use an 8 cup glass measuring cup.

Step one: fill the glass container 2/3 full with water and heat in the microwave until steaming but not boiling.

Step two: take small pieces of roving, about  twice as long as the bar of soap you are using, open them up and lay them on top of each other.  Randomness works best and gives the most interesting results.

You want to make sure the roving is thick enough so that for the next step no part of the soap will show through.

Step three:  Determine which side of the roving you want to show on the finished soap and place that side down.  Place the bar of soap on top of the roving.

I wasn't kidding about the Crabtree & Evelyn.  Nice, eh?

Step four: Wrap/wind the roving round the soap leaving a bit hanging over the side edges:

I smooth the roving out just a bit with my hand before the next step.  Make as many as you like, it's fun!

Step five: This is the fun part!  Put your heat safe/resistant gloves on. *note each soap is done one at a time
Making sure your water is very hot, submerge the roving wrapped soap into the water.  It is important to hold the soap so at the beginning the roving doesn't loosen up or become unwrapped.  I cradle the soap in my hand. 

Now using both hands agitate the roving on the soap.  This can be done in the water or above the water.  Re submerge the soap as necessary to keep it wet and help in the felting process. (If the roving is not felting quickly try shocking it in ice water then back to the super hot water)
When the roving is firm and appears to be felted around the soap, rinse under cold water.

Step six: Lay your finished soap in a well ventilated area to dry.  A baking rack works well.  I use an old window screen on top of a clothes drying rack.  The soaps should be dry within 24 hours.  If you live in a humid area it may take a bit longer. 

When they are dry they are ready to give!

No comments:

Post a Comment