DIY: Felted Soap

Felted soap is the cat’s pajamas. It’s like having a washcloth built around your soap! The best part is that you can make it yourself.

felt soap

You’ll need:
wool (I got mine from this shop)
bar of soap
bowl filled with hot water
scissors
paper towels

felting soap

How to:
1. Cut a piece of wool that is long enough to wrap around the bar of soap. (“Wooly” commented below recommending tearing the wool instead of cutting for easier felting—I plan to try this next time!) Wrap it around the soap with the ends on the bottom side. You can mix different colors of wool to create different patterns. I went with two shades of grey to coordinate with our bathroom.

felt soap

2. Dip the wool wrapped bar of soap in the bowl of hot water, and make sure it is completely wet. (It will smell a bit like the sheep at the state fair!)

3. Rub the wet wool in small circular motions, applying more hot water when needed. The wool will start to shrink around the soap. Once the wool is clinging to the soap rub the whole bar of soap firmly between your hands to create a thick lather.

4. When the wool is smooth and adhering to the soap take it to the sink and run hot water over the soap. This will rinse the lather away and finish shrinking the wool over the soap.

felting soap

5. Wrap soap in a paper towel and squeeze dry. Allow the felted soap to dry completely.

I love how they look like river rocks.

29 comments

  1. Steph

    This is a very interesting project! Can you reuse the wool after the soap’s gone? This would be a great gift for someone who has everything… like a grandmother who has too much “stuff” already. :O)

    These would also be great to sell at farmer’s markets!

    I wonder how this would work with different types of hair… llama or alpaca, for example. It probably wouldn’t shrink very well, huh?

  2. Wit & Whistle Post author

    I guess you could try cutting a hole in the end of the felt pocket once the soap is gone and stuffing a new bar of soap in there. It might work. : )

  3. Wooly

    Great idea! Just a little input;
    If you cut wool straight over with scissors it may be hard to felt the wool ends into each other. Try tearing the wool instead of cutting to ease the felting. :)

  4. Wit & Whistle Post author

    I think any kind of soap will do, as long as it lathers up nicely. I’ve only tried this with Dove soap and it worked great.

  5. Wit & Whistle Post author

    I purchased two 1 oz packages from the seller mentioned above. Each 1 0z package contains a 48″ length of wool. I felted two bars of soap and have well over half of my wool left over.

    The assorted colors of 12″ lengths she sells should be plenty long to do a few bars of soap. You just need it to be long enough to wrap around the soap.

  6. Outback Fibers

    Outback Fibers has a wide variety of colors of felting wool for this kind of project. The Felt Kit is perfect for making felted wool. You could also buy a small amount of wool. Over 70 colors of wool are sold in as little as 2 oz.

  7. Babak

    umm… excuse me, heterosexual male here… why would you want to do this to soap? I mean, what value does it add? other than make the soap unusable by covering it with a protective layer of wool?

    In any case, for the ladies who really want this look but are willing to take a short cut. Just get a Middle Eastern boyfriend and hand him your clean bar of soap before he gets in the shower.

  8. Wit & Whistle Post author

    Haha! Eww thanks for the mental image Babak!

    Of course the soap is still usable with the wool over it. The wool acts like a washcloth and lets the soap get nice and lathery without getting slippery (no more dropping the soap). It also helps exfoliate your skin.

  9. anne

    You can also wet felt little sculptures (I just made a 3-d waterlily and added a pin back — as an art teacher I can get away with this). For the felting junkie, you can also dry felt with barbed needles (sharp!) using a foam block under it — you can make little tapestries onto burlap or wool. Regarding colors, I just bought amazing multicolored roving from frabjous fibers in Vermont. This is my favorite winter sport.

  10. Becky

    Hi

    Love this project, went straight out and bought wool roving and soap. My mum and I have been rubbing in the kitchen with our first 2 bars, just about to try the second 2 bars.

    It took about 15mins, we found we got bald patches on the ends but apart from that it’s turned out great!

    Thanks for telling us about it
    Becky

  11. anne

    I just made 5 while watching the Olympics. I’m mailing some to relatives. Thanks for the great idea — practical beauty, usable art..

  12. anne

    If you wrap the bar one way (vertically), then add a second layer the other way (horizontaly — perpendicular to first layer) it might hold together better (technique for regular wet felting– crisscross layers to prevent holes, although they happen anyway). Some of mine ended up with cords like soap on a rope (dreadlocks).

  13. Luiza

    I did a bar of Dove and it’s lathering not easily. Maybe I used too much wool or it is suppose to be like that? Any suggestion?

  14. Wit & Whistle Post author

    Luiza – It takes a good bit of rubbing to get my Dove to lather up. I think it’s probably normal. Even a bare bar of Dove doesn’t seem lather as much as other soap.

  15. Sandy

    I just found this diy the other day and have been soooooooooooo excited to try it!! I just finished my first bar and plan on giving it to a friend as a thank you gift for a birthday party she threw for me. I can’t wait to make more as gifts this holiday season!!!

  16. Kate

    Any tips on combining colors for stripes? I bought two beautiful colors of wool and want to use them together. Thanks for the instructions!

  17. Wit & Whistle Post author

    Kate – I’ve never done stripes, but I would wrap my dry base color around the soap and then wrap the stripes around that. Then instead of dipping the soap and wool in the hot water I would slowly dribble hot water with my fingertips onto the wool. This should help set the stripes in place before you really start rubbing the wool to felt it. Good luck!

  18. Tracy Zhu

    I use felted soap a lot. It solves the problem of slimy soap, makes the soap last longer, and I don’t have to launder wash cloths. The scraps of wool that are left over when the soap is gone are great for cleaning & buffing leather shoes. So felted soaps are more than just great gifts – they are also quite practical.

    Sorry about the shameless plug, but check out my website for an example of beautiful multicolored felted soap. The soap itself is handcrafted as well using the cold process method, and I think the product is just divine. But making them yourself is a great DIY project!

  19. Satoi

    wow ! what a great idea, I have just found this website.I got to ask my mother in law to buy some wool for me from Australia. She is coming back. thank you for sharing this. I have a question that I have heard that soap is better to keep dry after using. by this wool wraping , will it make the soap wet all the time? or I have to dry the soap with paper towel and squeeze dry when every I finish using the soap? I recently make a lot of Cold Press Soap, I really like this wrapping skill, I would like applied on it as a gift pack.

  20. Tracy Zhu

    Satoi, it actually dries on its own just fine, so you don’t have to do anything special. I would just make sure it doesn’t sit in water in between uses. As long as it can drain the wool will dry on its own and you won’t have any issues with mildew.

  21. Claire

    I tried this with really wooly yarn, but I don’t think it worked because whenever I run it under water the yarn falls off!

  22. It's Me Again!!!

    Here’s a good gift;

    Make 3 or 4 bars of felted soap then at a ceramic shop, paint a nice little dish to store them in!

    Would be cute for a Spring Cleaning gift, or around fair time, when the children are preparing their animals for the show ring!!! (Trust me, they get dirty!)

    Thanks,
    Me

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