Friday, October 14, 2011

How to: Heart Felt Soaps...

Lovely Lady Leanne from Feel At Home brought me over some of her New Zealand olive & avocado oil handmade soaps (with sea salt and infused with essential oils of sweet fennel & Roman chamomile) to felt.

So I thought I would document the process as I notice I haven't blogged about anything for a year or so, which is very slack of me...

1. Choose your soap and some colourful wool roving (merino felts nice and easily).

2. Using a block of foam & felting needles, very lightly needle felt some wool into squares large enough to wrap around the bar of soap.  Two thin layers of wool works well - one ontop of the other, fibers lying in perpendicular directions.

3. Wrap the square of lightly felted wool around the soap and wet it, so that all the fibers are dampened, using the hottest water you can stand (rubber gloves will help)!

4. Using a thin sheet of plastic (eg. cut up shopping bag) - wrap this around the hot, wet, woolly soap so that it makes a parcel.  Then rub this parcel on all sides ontop a bamboo mat or non-slip piece of plastic mat. The roughness makes the warm, wet wool fibers felt together when rubbed.

5. When the wool has started to felt together and feels a little secure around the bar of soap, take it out of the plastic wrapping, get it nice and damp again with really hot water and then get back to rubbing it directly on the uneven surface.  Keep this up for around 15 mins until the wool has completely felted on all sides and fits snuggly around the bar of soap.

5. Rinse off the excess soapy suds under the cold tap and leave to dry on a wire cake wrack. First layer is done!

6. After a few days, when the outer layer is dry, but the soap is still a little moist underneath, it is time to needle felt some designs onto the base layer.  I use a size 38 felting needle.  Careful with your fingers or you will leave blood marks on the felt....

7. Finished!