Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Felted Soap Instructions

In the previous post I included two links to pages with instructions for felting soap.  The basics are about the same everywhere, but I thought it would be helpful to share our experience as well.  And I decided to take lots of pictures along the way to illustrate how we made our felted soap.

First, I started with Yardley Cocoa Butter soap.  It lathers up really nicely.  As of two weeks ago, it could be purchased from Walgreen's online for 99 cents per bar.

Washed alpaca fiber

Alpaca fiber carded with hand carders. 

Blue alpaca dyed with commercial dye.  Green alpaca dyed with Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid.

Wrap the fiber around the bar vertically.
Then wrap the fiber around the bar horizontally.

Lay some colored fiber on top, if desired.  

Grab a knee-hi from your drawer.

Carefully stretch the knee-hi over the fiber-wrapped soap to hold the fiber in place.  The knee-hi is not essential to making felted soap, but it makes the whole felting process much easier and much faster.

Dip the soap into a bowl of the hottest water you can stand.  For me, that's our hottest tap water.  Squeeze the nylon around the soap bar to get the water all the way in.  Rub the bar firmly with your fingers, back and forth or in circular motions, to start felting the alpaca fibers.  

Continue rubbing all around the bar for about three minutes.  You should get a pretty good lather going.  (Sorry, I forgot to take this picture.)

Carefully remove the nylon.  The fiber around the soap may still be wrinkly.  Continue rubbing all around to work out the wrinkles.  You may need to dip your soap in the hot water a few times as you work.   

When all the wrinkles have been worked out, set the soap aside to dry. 

Up to this point, you have probably been wondering when the angora comes in, because, after all, this is a blog about raising angoras.  Well, just be patient.

I made a few bars of soap felted with a mix of angora and alpaca.  I decided that in the future, the fibers would have to be well blended before felting a bar of soap again.  The felted soaps are pretty ugly, so they aren't pictured.

I really wanted to like the bar of soap felted with 100% angora.

Angora fiber dyed with Lemon-Lime Kool Aid.

Carding the fiber

100% angora on this bar of Ivory Soap.  I just didn't like it.  It's not got enough scrub power for me.  But it might be perfect for those with delicate skin, like babies or the elderly.

But because this is a blog about angoras, I still had to work in angora fiber. 

So this is one of my first attempts at needle felting.  The bunny is angora; the rest is alpaca.

I like this one better.

In case you were wondering how I did the bunny, I'll show you.

First, I found some clip art online.  I put a sheet of copy paper on the computer screen and traced the clip art.  My idea had been to cut out a rabbit and then trace it, then needle felt.  Well, it is difficult to make an outline on felt that will not show through or bleed through.  (No picture.)

Next, I decided to try placing the outline over the fiber over the bar of soap being felted.

That didn't work, either.

Finally, I tried placing the fiber over the cut-out, over the soap and then needle felting carefully all around the edges before removing the cut-out.  That worked well, if I do say so myself.
I think these bunny soaps are so darn cute.