How to Make Boiled Wool

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If you can boil water, you can make boiled wool.
If you can boil water, you can make boiled wool. (Image: boiling water 2 image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com)

Many knitters and crocheters discovered felting by accident when they put a wool creation in the washing machine. Other crafters create felt on purpose to make a solid wool fabric that can be cut into shapes without unraveling. You can create felt by boiling the wool on top of the stove. This method is a little faster than using the washing machine because the water is hotter, but the technique is the same--hot water plus agitation makes the microscopic scales on wool fiber extend and latch on to the scales of the nearest fiber.

Things You'll Need

  • Project made from 100 percent wool
  • Cooking pot
  • Stove
  • Wooden spoon
  • Basin or sink for water
  • Tongs
  • Tray, bowl or baking sheet
  • 2 clean towels

Check the size of the pot by putting the project inside. It should fit comfortably, and have some room to move around.

Remove the project from the pot, and fill it about half full of water.

Bring the pot of water to a boil. Put the project into the boiling water, and push it down with the wooden spoon to make sure it is totally immersed in the water. Swish it around a little, to make sure that it can move around.

Boil the project for about five minutes. Use the tongs to lift the project out of the boiling water and put it on a tray.

Examine the project--be careful, it will be hot. If the fabric has felted to your liking, continue to the next step. If not, return it to the boiling water to continue felting. The fabric will get thicker and smaller the more you boil it.

Fill another pot or basin with cold water. Plunge the project into the cold water. This stops the fabric from shrinking any more.

Remove the fabric from the basin, and squeeze some of the water out of it, but don’t wring it. Spread it out on a clean towel, cover it with another towel, and roll it up. Press on the roll firmly to remove more water.

Spread the project out on a flat surface to dry. Be firm with it, and stretch it a little to remove any wrinkles or creases.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use this technique to felt any project. However, if you want the felted piece to be a certain size, make a gauge swatch and boil it to see how much it will shrink. Then determine the starting size of the project before boiling.
  • Be very careful around the boiling water.
  • The fabric will be hot when you remove it from the boiling water.

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