Felted Soap - Valentines 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

Every once in a while the pieces needed for a project just come together with no effort. It doesn't happen very often. In fact, it's very rare! This years valentines project was one of them.

I don't remember how felted soap came onto my radar of interesting projects to try.  I can't even remember where I first saw them (the mall? Pinterest?) but the idea was floating around in the back of my head patiently waiting for its turn. I was out shopping for yarn when I found a bag of roving with subtle shades of pinks and streaks of light lilac (on sale no less!) and I immediately knew exactly what I was making for valentines this year.

I made glycerin heart shaped soaps and got ready to felt. Mostly I followed the directions at Mielke's Fiber Arts and this video from Neauveau Fiber Arts. I did not use a felting board but did cover and felt the soap using a nylon. It took a number of practice soaps to get the technique right but soon I was felting away. There were two major adjustments that had to be made for felting a heart shape. Bare spots tended to develop at the bottom point of the heart so extra roving was needed there. The soap mold I used didn't have a pronounced V shape at the top of the heart so I had to shave away soap at the "valley" in order to retained a heart shape after it was felted.

Any claims that you will “save soap” aren't really true. The amount of soap saved by being able to use the last bits are wasted in the beginning when you felt the soap. Plus there is a fair amount of water used in the process of felting. So I figure the whole thing is a "wash"! However, I wasn't really looking for a eco-friendly project, I was just looking for a cool and different one.

I found a great font called "Words of Love" and printed a band with these instructions:

Made with wool, which has natural anti-fungal properties, and unscented glycerin—it's your soap and washcloth all in one! When the soap is no longer, the casing can be reused by drying the pouf and making a slit to insert a new bar of soap or your favorite scented potpourri to use as a sachet!

Use a slotted soap dish to allow air flow and help the soap dry on all sides.

Felting soap was a lot of fun and I love the result.  I've even been using one in the shower and can testify to it's usefulness. I have yet to verify the validity of reusing the pouf after the soap is gone, either with more soap or as a sachet, but I'll update this post when I do.


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