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Video:How to Felt Soap With Wool

with David Fisher

Felted soap provides a little extra exfoliating scrub in the shower, and making it at home is an inexpensive and simple project. Watch how to felt soap with wool.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Felt Soap With Wool

Hi, I'm David Fisher for About.com. Whether you use a nylon scrubbie or a washcloth or a loofah, many people prefer an extra little bit of scrub in the shower. The technique I'm going to show you today actually encases a bar of soap in felt. It sort of combines it into a washcloth and bar of soap all at once.

Soap Felting Supplies

For this project you'll need:
  • a bar of fully cured soap
  • raw wool - often called roving, and I'm told by a felting friend of mine that merino wool works best
  • hot water, either in a large bowl or in the sink
And while it's optional, I really recommend a washboard, or ribbed mat of some sort. I'm using a sushi-rolling mat. I've heard other people use the ribbed top of a tupperware-type container. Or there are specially made "felting mats" that work really well. It's not required, but it does seem to help speed the process.

Begin Felting the Soap With Wool

Start with a bar of fully cured soap. Lay out the wool so that it's about as thick as a normal washcloth. Wrap the wool around the soap, both lengthwise and widthwise and then lengthwise again so that the bar is completely covered. When the bar is completely wrapped, begin to slowly dibble a bit of hot water onto the bar - just a few dribbles at a time. Use the hottest water you can. You can wear rubber gloves if you want. The hotter the water, the quicker the felting process seems to go.

Drench the Felted Soap

Get it completely wet, but not drenched. As you are wetting the wool and the soap, make sure the wool stays in place and still completely covers the bar of soap. At this point, the soap and wool will kind of look like a wet cat. Gently being to massage the soap and wool together. Be careful not to be too rough at this stage, or you'll expose the soap underneath. As you massage the bar, dibble more hot water onto it. The soap will start to lather up through the wool. And the wool will begin to shrink and form to the bar of soap. Keep gently massaging the bar and dribbling more water onto it every once and a while.

Allow the Wool to Conform to the Soap

Once the wool as started to shrink and conform to the soap, then you can really start rubbing. This is where you can use your washboard, sushi mat, felting mat or other ribbed surfaces that comes in handy. Rub the soap on the mat, making sure that you get all the sides and edges. What's happening here is that the wool fibers are actually knitting themselves together.

After you have rubbed for a while, check the progress of the felting by dibbling some more hot water on it to wash off the lather. You'll notice that the wool has really tightened up and formed a case around the soap. Once the wool has completely formed around the bar of soap and isn't shrinking anymore, you're done. Blot the bar of soap on the washcloth and set it up to dry.

When you're all done, you'll be amazed at how much the wool has felted around the bar of soap. And you'll have a bar of soap and washcloth all in one. This is really a good project for kids too, you can let them weave the different colors around the soap, and make their own custom bar of soap!

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