Soap In Wet Felting - How To Know If It's Enough

Nov 05, 2020

One of the questions I'm asked most often in my live classes is "is this enough soap?"

Felters who aren't very experienced are often unsure about how much soap to apply to their wool fibers. But there are a couple of clues that can help you avoid drowning your project in foam. And that's what I'll go into today.

Before I get into that, I'd like to say that the best way to avoid getting your project too soapy is to add soap slowly and only add more when you notice it’s not enough.

This is why using soapy water is not my preferred method of adding soap to the wool. I like adding water, getting my hands soapy first and only then applying it to the fibers. This way I have more control over how much soap is going into the wool. If you use this method, the tips I have for you today make much more sense.

You’ll know you have the right amount of soap when:


1. The wool doesn't stick to your hands.

When you’re applying soap with the method I mentioned above, you’ll notice the fibers sticking to your hands at the beginning. As you add more, the fibers will stop lifting.


2. The wool becomes smooth and even.

You’ll reach a point in which the fibers will become smooth and even, because soap acts as a glue. That’s when you know you’ve reached the right amount.


3. You see some foam.

When you start seeing a light foam, that’s enough soap. If there’s a thick cloud of foam, it’s already too much.


But, if that happens, don’t worry. There’s also a way to get some soap out again.

I recommend you have a good sponge at your side when you’re felting. If you start seeing too much foam, grab the sponge and start absorbing some of it. Of course, you’ll get rid of the soap and the water as well. So, slowly add some water, and repeat the process, until you’re happy with the results.

I recommend this method if you’re still at the beginning stage of felting since the fibers will still be too loose to do anything else.

But, if the wool has already compacted enough that it’s safe to grab the whole project, you can simply squeeze the soap out and add water again.

And it’s as easy as that!

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