Wet Felting Basics & Simple Projects

What is wet felting?

This is a method of using soap, warm water and agitation to tangle fibres together to create felt. It is different to needle or dry felting. You may have already accidentally wet felted your favourite woolly jumper by washing it on too hot a wash, felting the fibres and shrinking them.

What fibres are suitable for wet felting?

Most of our fibres are suitable for Wet Felting, with the exception of our Lanolin Rich Core Wool, and our natural dyed fibres. Synthetic fibres such as our Angelina fibre and Sparkly Stuff are slippery and therefore need to be mixed with wool so that the wool will help to hold the slippery fibres in place. Our Starter Wet Felting or Fairy Wool Mix is ideal for beginners to wet felting.

What equipment do I need for wet felting?

The minimum you will need is:

  • soap (try our Handmade Soap Pieces, olive hand soap or even a gentle washing up liquid such as Ecover),
  • hot water (as hot as you can stand, cooler if felting with children),
  • fibres to felt
  • an old towel
  • a Wooden Roller can also speed up the felting process.

What projects can I do with wet felting?

We have basic tutorials for a few ideal first projects to make a ball (or worm for children), or a picture.

    How to make a picture:

    Wet felting is an ideal way to make a picture. You can also wet felt a background, and then use needle felting to create finer details.

    There are many ways to wet felt and you will find your own favourite methods. Here is a simple method to make a picture for which you will need:

    • soap (Handmade Soap Pieces, olive hand soap, or a gentle washing up liquid such as Ecover),
    • hot water (as hot as you can stand, cooler if felting with children)
    • a spray bottle if you have one
    • fibres to felt
    • an old towel
    • a sheet of pre-felt - this makes an easy and strong base for your picture
    • a top and bottom piece of our Wet Felting Mat (you can fold it over or cut into 2 even pieces) which are slightly bigger than your pre-felt (old bubble wrap packaging is also perfect!)
    1. Lay the pre-felt onto a layer of Wet Felting Mat or bubble wrap (bubbles upwards)
    2. Using thin layers of colour, just enough to cover the background, layer up the picture onto the pre-felt, starting with the background first, such as sky, mountains etc, then work your way forwards through the picture.
    3. Wet the whole picture with a mixture of warm/hot water mixed with a little soap (a spray bottle is good for this).
    4. Lay another layer of Wet Felting Mat or bubble wrap over the top. Spray a little of the water mixture on top to help your hands slide.
    5. Start gently rubbing over the Wet Felting Mat or bubble wrap, very gently at first, in little circles. Once you have rubbed over the whole picture, you can go again, a little stronger this time. Repeat, building up the strength of the rubbing as the fibres begin to felt. You can lift the Wet Felting Mat or bubble wrap to check on your picture below.
    6. Try pulling at a few fibres to see if they are felting together.
    7. Once the felt is fairly strong and the fibres are fixed into place, both layers of Wet Felting Mat or bubble wrap plus picture can be rolled up, with an elastic band placed on each end.
    8. This 'sausage' can then be rolled backwards and forwards 20-30 times.
    9. Unroll the sausage and look at your picture, which will have shrunk horizontally. Pull the picture back into shape a little, then turn it a quarter turn and roll it back up.
    10. Roll the sausage 20-30 times. Repeat turning and rolling two more times.
    11. Rinse your picture, first in water as hot as you can stand (cooler for little children), then in very cold water.
    12. Press dry with a towel, then pull into shape and leave to dry.
    13. a Wooden Roller can also speed up the felting process.
    Balls and worms are great first projects and children find them very fun to make!
    You will need:
    • Wool tops /roving
    • Bowl of warm/hot water that you can put your hand in, with a few drops of washing up liquid in
    • Old towels
    I would recommend having a bowl of warm water with just a few drops washing up liquid in, felting happens better with less soap and bubbles. Keep topping up /changing the water every now and again to keep it warm. Rinse with fresh water at the end. You can squeeze out excess moisture in old towels, to help dry.
    To make a ball:
    Take a length (30-50cm) of the multi-coloured wool and split it along its length so that you are working with less fibre at a time. When making the balls, roll up the wool really tight, wrapping in different directions as though you were winding up a ball of string (rather than round and round on the same spot). If the ball goes out of shape or the fibres are going all over the place, you can tame them with a felting needle (better to have a few trained adults doing this part than letting a load of children loose with the needles!). When you first begin felting, dip the ball in the water, then begin rolling very gently, until the outsides are firmed up, then gradually increase the pressure. To test if the ball is felted, throw it at the table - if it bounces, its done! When finished rinse with clean water. Press out excess moisture on a towel. 
    To make a worm:
    Take a length (I used about 30cm) wool tops. Split into 3 or 4 down its length. This will make 3 or 4 worms. Dip the wool into the bowl of soap and water. Rub back and forth between the palms of your hands to felt the wool, you will begin to feel it go tight and felt together. When finished rinse with clean water. Press out excess moisture on a towel. 

    Suitable project for beginners, or even a project to share with a child (younger ones can do the wet felting part - lots of fun! it is very satisfying and addictive making these pom pom balls! You can make the balls as big or small you like by using different amounts of wool. 

    You can needle felt them completely, or needle felt them halfway and then wet felt them as in the instructions below. You could even put them in the washing machine, but don't expect them to always come out perfectly circular!

    Pom Poms


    Wool:  Mini ball = 1g, Larger ball = 10g of dyed wool batts - our mixed Rainbow packs are perfect for this!

    Extras: Thin waxed linen thread or similar to string up, darning needle

    Tools:  Felting needle: medium (#38) , Wool Felting Mat

    Optional if wet felting: Soap & hot water, plastic lunch box


    Take a pinch of coloured wool, a bigger pinch creates a bigger ball, which is easier to start off with. Fold the pinch in half.

    Fold the edges in.


    Roll up. Hold this ball closed  on your felting mat with your less dominant hand .

    Begin to stab your medium felting needle into the wool, starting with the last loose fibres you wrapped around.

    Then begin stabbing the needle in to felt all over. The tiny notches on the needle catch the fibres and tangle them together.

    Wet felting: Add 2-3 drops of washing up liquid and a splash of hot water into a lidded lunchbox with your felt ball (or a few balls) Shake the lunchbox for 30 seconds, be careful of the hot water!

    Take the ball out (it may still be hot!) and very vey gently begin to roll the ball between your palms. You will feel the ball slowly tighten up after about 30 seconds, slowly start to increase the pressure.

    After about a minute your ball should be feeling much firmer. You can see if it is fully felted by throwing it, if it bounces it is ready! Rinse the soap out, squeeze the water out, and dry somewhere warm.

    When dry, thread up your needle and push it through the middle of the ball.

    Thread up lots to create a beautiful display.

    You can also space them out. Beautiful pops of colour to decorate your space!