Tutorial: Felting by Hand

This is a tutorial for felting by hand in a sink using an old-fashioned washboard. A washboard makes hand felting A LOT easier! Hand felting takes longer than felting in a washing machine but you have much greater control over the size and shape of your felted item. So don’t get discouraged if it seems like felting is taking forever. It usually takes me about an hour to felt two items. It doesn’t have to take as long, but I like to end up with a super dense felted fabric.SuppliesBefore you start, you will need a plastic tub for felting, a pair of rubber gloves, a pot, and an old fashioned washboard. You can get a washboard at many hardware stores.DetergentYou will also need laundry detergent of your choice. You can also use wool washes such as Eucalan or Soak. Soak is  my favorite for felting.28959034096_dc811b29d1_oIf you are felting something to fit around another object, like a can cozy, you will want something of similar size that is waterproof that you can use to make sure your felted item is the right size. I found that a Kikkoman soy sauce bottle is the same diameter as a standard sized beverage can so I use that to shape my can cozies because they are sturdier than empty beverage cans. I use an empty beverage can to make sure my felted can cozies are the right height.Pour in Boiling WaterTo get started, place your tub in the sink and fill it with a pot of boiling water and an equal amount of hot water from the tap.Boil More WaterImmediately boil another pot of water because you will need it when the water in your tub starts to get cool. You’ll want to keep refilling your tub as you felt.Put in ItemPut the item you want to felt into your tub and let it absorb the water. Then add your second item. I usually felt two items at the same time.28959060686_669b65ce83_oPour some laundry detergent on the items you wish to felt.ExpandingYour items will stretch out when you put them in the tub of hot water. This is normal.

Felt your item as shown in the video above.Felting and ShrinkingYou will notice that your items shrink down as you continue felting.29005661265_681b91e4bf_oIf you need to take a break, you can lay your washboard on top of your tub and put your felted items on top. They will be fine.29005596805_009277c780_oWhen your item is the size you desire, you are done felting!28929434961_06ed0a3804_oCompletely rinse the soap out of your felted item using warm water and gently squeeze the excess water out.
Drying Upside DownLet your felted items dry completely. Using a small fan can speed up drying time. I dry my felted beverage can cozies upside down. If you are unable to dry your items upside down, I recommend turning them over frequently so that all sides have a chance to dry thoroughly.Trimming Felted ItemTip: Use a disposable razor to shave the excess fuzz from your finished item once it is completely dry. Have one disposable razor dedicated solely to this purpose.Enjoy!

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