Summer Project: How to make a Felt Bowl

Objective: A step by step guide on how to make a felt bowl using merino wool tops!
Time scale: Takes 1-2 hours + drying time!

You Will Need:
Merino wool tops in desired colour(s) – around 30g
Two small pieces of Bubble Wrap
A small piece of  Voile
Hot soapy water – in a sports bottle
A bar of soap
A piece of flexible plastic or linoleum
An old towel
A tea towel or sponge

Lie the towel on a flat surface –
either a table or counter, a large area where you can work easily.

Make the hot soapy water –
2 Table spoons of washing up liquid to a bottle of hot water

Cut the plastic/lino into a large circle –
The size of the circle will be the same size as the bowl
It needs to be made of a flexible material that will not disintegrate when masses of liquid is applied.
It needs to be a shiny/smooth material that the fibres will not bond to
Ready to go….
*Lie one piece of the bubble wrap on the towel (bubbly side up) and place your circle in the centre.

*Pull small sections of the merino wool and start to lie it around the edge of the template. Half of the wool should be on the template and the other half hanging off, as pictured.

*Then fill in the centre by lying the wool horizontally.

*Place the voile or net over the top of the wool. Apply some of the soapy mixture to the voile (which then soaks through to the wool) the wool needs to be wet but not swimming! If you have put too much on, just soak some of the excess up with a tea towel or sponge.

* Lightly rub the bar of soap over the voile.

* Begin to agitate the wool by rubbing the voile in small circular motions, but only the wool on top of the template; leave the edges for now.
Do this for about 2-3 mins, making sure that you have covered all areas of the template.

* Peel back the voile off the wool. Some small fibres may get caught in the voile so gently release them.

* Once peeled back, place the second piece of bubble wrap ( Bubbles against the wool) and flip the wool + template over. It’s important to always flip from the left to the right throughout to keep consistency. Remove the bubble wrap that is now on top.
* Fold down and flatten the edges on the template (as pictured)


Now you repeat this process as before:
*Lie the wool Half-on-half-off the template
*Fill the centre by lying the wool horizontally
*Cover with voile and wet with soapy water
*Rub a small amount of soap over the top
*Agitate in circular motions for 2-3 minutes
Now you have completed 1 layer of the bowl. Repeat these steps again, however when you fill in the centre of the template, lie the wool Vertically!

When you have done this you add a third and final layer.
On the first side do as normal:
*Lie the wool Half-on-half-off the template
*Fill the centre by lying the wool horizontally
*Cover with voile and wet with soapy water
*Rub a small amount of soap over the top
*Agitate in circular motions for 2-3 minutes

However, when you turn the template over to do the second side, you do not need to hang the wool half-on-half-off; just cover the template on its own, then…

*Cover with voile and wet with soapy water
*Rub a small amount of soap over the top
*Agitate in circular motions for 2-3 minutes
Woo Hoo we are nearly there!!
So remove the Voile and put a layer of bubble wrap on (bubbly side down) and then you need to gently rub all over the top on the bubble wrap in small circular motions. You may want to add some of the soapy water to the bubble wrap and your hands to make this a bit easier.
Don’t forget to try to reach the wool wrapped around the sides of the template too!

Do this for about a minute, then take the top layer of bubble wrap off; rotate the template 90 degrees clockwise, put the wrap back on and repeat! Do this till you have done a full turn. Then flip the template over and do the opposite side.

This helps to smooth out the top layer of the bowl, so it will be less “frizzy”

Now again with one layer of bubble wrap underneath and one on top begin to roll up the wool and template. Drain away any immediate excess water in a bowl or jug, then roll the wool back and forth for 30 counts.
Unravel and turn the wool + template 90 degrees clockwise; roll it up and rock it for another 30 seconds. Do this until you complete a full turn, then… you guessed it… flip it over and do the other side!
Phew that was a lot of rolling!

Now I promise you are nearly done…

Mark out a circle in the centre of the wool.
*A small circle will make a vessel or vase-shaped object
*Where a large circle will make a bowl for fruit, or even a hat!!

Making your hands fairly soapy you need to shape the bowl into the desired shape by gently stretching it out.
When you have done this rinse it under Cold water then squeeze it out **Do not pull or twist it** then repeat in Hot water!
Re-shape and leave to dry!

TA – DA !! And that it how to make a simple felt bowl, from merino wool. This is quite a strenuous task, and takes a lot of time and concentration to create a good quality piece, but it can also be really fun too and you get to tell everyone…  “I made that.”

So thank you for reading my “How to” on making a felt bowl. Any questions or comments please leave them below…

Kayleigh x

Harris,G, 2012. Carnival of Felting: Beautiful Accessories for You and Your Home. Collins & Brown.

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