Want to learn how to felt wool? It’s so much easier than it sounds. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to felt wool using a washer and dryer.
Do you have an extra 30 minutes that you could use to learn something new?
Something that sounds so much harder than it is?
Something that will make you look like a master crafter?
Those are the best new skills to learn.
The ones that look hard and sound fancy (but are SO MUCH EASIER than you ever thought they could be).
Today I’m going to teach you how to felt wool with sweaters from the thrift store or the attic or even your closet.
I’m going to show you how to make a felted wool wreath for fall.
Are you ready?
Want to get started?
Here are my best tips on how to felt wool.
Q: When learning how to felt wool what type of wool is best for felting?
I love using wool sweaters for felting. Mostly because they are cheap (or free if they came from your closet). You can find sweaters like this at the thrift store or your mother’s house. The key is finding one that’s knitted from mostly wool or all wool.
Here are a few things you want to note when choosing a sweater to felt.
- All wool sweaters are not created equal. You want to check the blend on the label.
- Make sure the sweater has at least 70% wool. If it’s 100% wool, that’s even better.
- Make sure your sweater has a tight-knit. Tighter knits felt better. If the knit is too loose (if you can see through it) there’s not enough weave to felt well.
- Colors typically stay pretty true after felting, so choose a color that works with your project.
Q: What supplies do you need to felt wool?
This is all you need.
A washer and a dryer.
See. I told you. It’s SO MUCH EASIER than it looks. Here are some simple tips to use a washer to felt wool.
- You want to set it on the HOTTEST longest cycle that you have with a tiny bit of laundry soap.
- Felting happens with the friction of the washer, so the longer the sweater is in the washer, the more felting will occur.
- Remember when your mother told you never to wash wool in the washer because it would shrink? That’s why we are washing it here. The fibers of the sweater shrink up, pull together and that’s when felting happens.
- You can also add an old pair of tennis shoes to help agitate the fibers.
Q: Do you dry the wool after you wash it?
Again. Do the opposite of what your mother told you.
When you take it out of the washer, you’ll notice that it’s shrunk just a little.
We want to shrink it even more.
Toss the sweater into the dryer (without the shoes) and dry it on the hottest setting possible until it’s completely dry.
Q: How can you tell when it’s felted?
Sometimes the sweater doesn’t felt as much as you want the first cycle. When you pull it out and look at it, you’ll notice that the fibers still need to be felted more. My sister, Whitney, felts sweaters all the time and she says sometimes you have to wash and dry it at least three times to make sure it’s felted how you want.
You’ll want to check the sweater after you take it out of the dryer.
If you see the wool has tightened and shrunk with a rounded appearance, then you know your felted wool is done.
You will now be able to cut the wool without the edges of the wool fraying.
Q: How to felt wool with wool roving?
Felting with wool roving is another way to felt wool instead of using a sweater.
For example, I have another project on the blog that uses loose wool roving to felt soap. Instead of using sweaters and felting them, you can purchase loose wool roving from the craft store and use it to felt instead. With this project, the soap provides the friction to help felt the wool in place on the soap. It’s often referred to as wet felting.
Q: What projects can you make with felted wool?
That’s where the fun comes in.
There are so many options for felted wool projects. The possibilities are endless. Just think of all the things you would make with felt.
Here are a few projects I have on the blog:
- How to make felted soap
- How to make a felted pumpkin
- How to make felted acorns garland
- How to make a sweater vase
Here’s one of my favorite new felted projects.
How to Felt Wool and Make a Wreath
Step 1: Choose a color palette and felt the wool
Follow the steps above to felt several old sweaters.
You want to choose different colors and textures of sweaters to add dimension to the wreath.
Wash and dry the sweaters as many times as need to get a tight weave on the wool.
You should be able to cut out the leaves without the edges fraying.
Step 2: Paint the wreath form
You want to use an 18″ wire wreath form about 3″ wide for this project.
Spray paint it white if you are using grays and whites like the wreath in this project.
You don’t want the green showing through.
Step 3: Cut out leaves
I have a paper leaf template here that I made for another project.
You could also just free-hand cut each leaf approximately the same size.
Each of these leaves is approximately 4″ long.
You will need 70-75 leaves for this 18″ wreath.
Step 4: Hot glue the leaves to the form
Add a drop of hot glue and wrap the leaf around one of the wires on the wreath form.
Repeat for each of the wires on the wreath form.
Keep adding leaves in the same direction.
Step 5: Keep adding leaves
Continue gluing leaves until you have completely covered the wreath form.
Make sure to alternate colors with your leaves.
When you are almost done your wreath will look like this.
Here’s the finished wreath in all its glory. I love the layers of sweaters and the textures of the leaves on the wreath. It looks so cozy and ready for fall.
And the best part?
I have extra leaves just waiting for a new project.
- basket toppers
- stocking toppers
And to think.
It all started with a free sweater. 🙂