At farmer’s markets and fiber festivals, I’m always attracted to the handmade scented soaps and baskets of dyed wool roving. Both are a feast for the senses!
I learned this technique from Jane LaFazio and have successfully made many lovely felted soaps; they make great hostess gifts.Imagine my delight when I discovered you could combine the two to create a beautiful work of fiber art that is also useful: felted soaps. They smell great and the felted wool acts as a natural exfoliant on your skin.
Jane gives detailed directions for making felted soaps in the June/July 2015 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.
You’ll need a bar of hand soap, wool roving (2-4 colors), and hot water.
How to Make Wet-Felted Soaps
By Jane LaFazio
1. Pull a 2″ (or so) wisp from the roving and place it horizontally on the bar of soap. Pull another wisp of roving and cover the first wisp with a thin layer of roving in a vertical direction. Turn the soap over and do the same on the other side.
2. Cover the bar horizontally with a thin layer of roving wisps. Continue, covering the bar evenly by alternating the direction of the wisps of roving. Four layers work well.
3. Holding the bar of soap and the roving with both hands, thoroughly wet the roving under hot water from the faucet. Don’t let go until the roving is saturated. Once the roving is completely saturated, press evenly all over by squeezing the bar with your hands to activate the lather and start the felting process.
4. Once the roving stays in place and starts to felt, gently and evenly lather the bar of soap with both hands. Re-wet the bar after about 5 minutes and continue lathering. Continue this process until the roving feels tight around the bar of soap. Then rinse in cold water and set the bar of soap aside to dry.
Making these soaps has shown me what fun wet felting can be, and gives me an excuse to buy those fluffy whorls of candy-colored roving from local sheep farmers.
Jane has produced a Quilting Arts Workshop video on wet felting techniques, Wet Felting Essentials for Fiber Artists , that I know you’ll love. In it, Jane not only teaches how to wet felt, but also demonstrates how to add hand needle felting and embroidery to create richly textured felted fiber art projects.
Download your copy of Wet Felting Essentials for Fiber Artists now, and have some good, clean, fiber fun.