Have you ever seen wool roving before?
It looks like this and comes in tons of colors and you can make tons of projects with it.
When you felt wool you can use sweaters, or you can start with wool roving like this. Remember when I talked about felting wool and making projects?
Like this wool felt wreath.
And this wool felt acorn garland.
But what about Christmas?
What if Santa and his workshop took wool roving…
…and the elves made this.
DIY Wool Felt Ornament Garland
What Is Felting?
Felting is the process of transforming wool fibers into a dense fabric by using hot water and soap.
In the past with other projects, they’ve always started with a sweater. You could use a sweater for this project.
Let’s walk through sweater felting and then the process of using wool roving for the project.
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 with a sweater?
All you need is 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.
Here’s one of my favorite new felted projects.
How to make a DIY Wool Felt Ornament Garland
- wool roving
- Bar of wool soap (also known as “felting soap”)
- Towel and/or mat
- Scissors (optional)
Step 1: Preparing the Wool Roving for Felting
Now that you have all of your supplies gathered, it’s time to prepare the wool roving for felting. First, measure out a length of wool roving that’s approximately 36″.
Next, lay out the roving and smooth out any kinks or knots in it. Finally, use scissors to cut off any excess yarn so that it matches the desired length.
Step 2: Soak the roving
The next step in felting wool is soaking your prepared yarn in soapy water.
Fill up a bowl or sink with warm water and add a few drops of felting soap into it. Then, submerge the prepared yarn into the water for about 10 minutes until it has fully absorbed the water and soap mixture. After this step is complete, remove the soaked yarn from the bowl/sink and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until all excess liquid has been drained off from it.
Step 3: Start Felting
Once all excess liquid has been drained off from your soaked yarn, you are now ready to start felting.
Take a towel or mat and spread out on a flat surface such as a table or countertop. Place your soaked wool onto the towel/mat and begin rubbing back and forth vigorously with both hands over the entire length of the roving until its fibers start clumping together into one solid piece of felt fabric. Form your ornament pieces from one strand or color and then form the tops of the ornaments with another color of roving.
Keep rubbing continuously until no more clumps form and then rinse off any remaining soapy residue. Press the two parts of the ornament pieces together before letting your ornament dry completely overnight.
Step 4: Thread ornaments together
Using a large embroidery needle, thread the ornaments together with wool twine.
You can see here how the twine was threaded through the top of the ornaments.
You are officially a felter.
Your felt ornaments are ready to decorate.
You can drape them across presents.
Hang them on the tree.
Add them to garland.
The possibilities (just like all those felted projects) are endless.
Let’s get felting.
disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post