Wet Felting Instructions
Wet Felting is the process of agitating fleece with soap and warm water to create anything from slippers to phone cases...If you looked at fleece under a microscope you would see thousands of little ‘scale’-like points. It is these points which lock together if agitated – with warm water or a felting needle – and produce felt.
This kit includes everything you need - apart from soap and hot water. If you have sensitive hands perhaps wear gloves when handling the soap. All types of soap work for felting - even washing liquid. Water needs to be hot - but not too hot, you should be able to comfortably work with it - imagine the temperature of a hot bath!
It is the agitation of the fleece that ultimately causes it to felt but the soap and heat from the water play a major part. If your work ever feels too dry add more water and soap, however it's important not too make everything too wet..enough water for a lather to form is fine. The resist is used to prevent the inside of your purse felting together. It is removed halfway through.
Choose a surface that can get wet and make sure you are wearing clothes you don't mind getting a few splashes on. Place a towel on your workspace and put the bubble wrap on top of the towel. Place your resist on top of the bubble wrap. Taking a strand of fleece pull it gently, so it is roughly the same thickness all along and place it horizontally across the resist. It needs to overhang the resist on both edges by about half an inch - enough to comfortably bend around the resist. Continue placing strands across until the resist is entirely covered. Now lay strands of fleece vertically along the resist, again with half an inch over.
Place the piece of netting over the fleece and gently wet it with hot water. Rub a piece of soap over the netting, in a circular motion, without causing too much disruption to the fibre . Take a piece of the spare bubble wrap provided and rub the fleece, again, in a gentle circular motion for about 40 secs. Gently lift the netting, making sure the fleece stays against the resist - it may of felted slightly to the netting - that's a good sign! Just tug it gently back onto the resist.
Place the second sheet of bubble wrap on top - you now have a sandwich of bubble wrap, resist, fleece and bubble wrap. Place one hand gently underneath and one on top and flip - so that the side of the resist without fleece is at the top. Fold over the overhanging fleece from your first side. Then lay new fleece horizontally and then vertically as before - making sure your fleece overhangs about half an inch. Repeat step 2
Repeat steps 1-3. Now you should have two layers of fleece on each side of the resist. Lay out your bamboo roll on the towel and place a piece of bubble wrap on top and then lift your purse onto it. Cover the purse with the netting. Roll up the bamboo mat , tightly and roll it backwards and forwards at least 50 times. Turn the purse 90 degrees and repeat, keep doing this until you have rolled the purse 50 times on all four sides. Turn your purse over and repeat the process! If your purse starts to dry , add a little more hot water and soap. The purse has felted when the resist starts to buckle, this happens because the felt is shrinking.
Removing the resist! - Taking some sharp scissors, cut a line across the purse.
With soapy hands remove the resist and gently rub the inside of the purse. You will see the top has not felted together. With soap and hot water rub the edge of the two open parts of this un-felted lid. Place the netting in the bottom part of the purse - so that the insides do not felt together and put it back on the bamboo mat - add a little more soap and water if you need to and roll 50 times each direction, both sides. It's a lot of rolling! Keep rolling until the purse has shrunk to roughly 10cm. 9) Using your bubble wrap square rub the purse inside and out in circular motions - adding more soap and hot water if needed.- this will further shrink the felt. To attach a button: cut a slit into the front of your purse - slightly smaller than the button. Make sure you felt the inside of this cut to stop the felt coming apart. Simply rub around the cut. Rinse in cold water and squeeze - don't wring - the water out.
Lay your purse flat to dry. You can stretch the purse into shape if it looks odd and the felt will retain this shape when dry. It's best to dry the purse on something that will allow air to circulate and dry both sides. When dry, sew your button on.