Felting is usually done through use of a washing machine. It is quicker and easier, but sometimes a washing machine is not available, or you need to felt by hand for some other reason, for example if you need to make it exact dimensions.
Materials for Felting by Hand:
- The wool you want to felt
- Hot water (and a container of appropriate size, such as the sink or bathtub)
- Dish soap
- Gloves (optional)
How to Felt by Hand:
- First you'll want to fill up your sink with enough hot water to cover what you're going to felt.
- Add just a few drops of dish soap. This helps open up the fibers of the wool, making it easier to felt.
- Push the wool around in the sink, using your hands, a stick, or anything else. Make sure to rub it along the bottom of the sink and use your knuckles to help agitate the wool. This is where the gloves can come in handy. Not only will they protect your hands while you are felting, but if they have rough or textured palms the gloves can further agitate the wool. Also, make sure you're doing this to both sides of the wool.
- Continue this for a few minutes, and then pull it out and spread it on a paper towel to check how the felting is coming along.
- If the fibers of the wool don't seem to be coming together, before you put it back in, quickly place the piece of wool under some cold water. This usually seems to help. Also keep in mind that different kinds of wool will felt differently.
- Continue to move it around in the hot water, checking on it every once in a while. Since there are different levels of felting you can accomplish, you will have to decide when the piece of wool has been felted enough.
- Now you have to block your piece. This makes sure your felting project comes out the shape you want it to be. To do this, just pin it down tightly, in the shape you want it, and allow it to dry. For non-two dimensional shapes, such as a bag, you can stuff it with newspaper.