Make your own felt

Felt making is a great tactile activity, this way of making it is easy and you can create some fun patterns and textures.

This guide is part of our Sense Arts, Sport & Wellbeing programme. This activity can be done at a time that suits you, either in your own space or in an educational setting.

Who is this for?

This is a crafting activity for people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities.

Why does this make a difference?

This is a creative activity that helps people explore and expand their creative choices while supporting independence in the activity.

How to do this activity

What you’ll need

Image shows a table top with the materials below laid out on it / --
  • An old towel or two
  • A bamboo mat
  • Two pieces of mesh fabric cut into pieces that are a few inches bigger than
  • A selection of colour and white merino wool tops
  • A squirty bottle with an inch or so of washing up liquid in it and topped with warm water

Note: this activity gets wet – please work somewhere that can get wet and have spare towels on hand if needed.

Add at least one card to your card group

Step 1

Step 2

Image shows hands teasing out some of the white merino.
Image shows hands teasing out some of the white merino.
Image shows the wool top section pulled away entirely and teased out so that it is really thin

You will create the base of the felt using the white fibre, this won’t really be visible at the end but gives the piece structure. Gently pull on the fibre, pulling a small amount away. Then pull it open and tease gently. Lay this on your mesh fabric.

Step 3

A piece of mesh on a table

Repeat this process until you have laid out a layer of wool on the mesh. You should have at least an inch of mesh around the wool which isn’t covered, but you can have more if you want (depends on how big you want the size to be). Make sure the direction the fibre faces is roughly the same direction.

Step 4

A hand pressing the wool into the mesh

You will now do a second layer in white, but making the direction of the fibre goes in the opposite direction. The goal is to not have everything running in the same direction. Make sure there are no gappy spots.

Step 5

Image shows the white wool tops with a bit of yellow added on the right
Image shows the wool tops with shades of pink, blue and yellow in swirly patterns.

Now pick some colours. You will do what you did before, pull gently on the fibre and tease it out. However, now feel free to lay it in any direction you want. Create patterns, shapes, and combine colours. You can layer the colours up, and use as many as you would like.

Step 6

A hand lifting up the top layer of mesh to show underneath

Now move the wool you haven’t used away from your workspace (this is so that it doesn’t get wet and ruined for future projects). Place the second piece of the mesh fabric over the top.

Step 7

A hand holding a bottle of washing up liquid about the mesh

Pour or spray some of the water and washing liquid solution on your wool. A small amount at a time, and pat it down. It should be fairly wet but not swimming.

Step 8

Image shows the hands rubbing the felt and lots of bubbles.

Rub in gentle circular motions on the top of the mesh. Hopefully it will get bubbly. This starts felting the fibres together. When you have rubbed for a few min, peel pack the mesh and check everything is lying flat.

Step 9

A bamboo mat is layed over the mesh
The mesh is rolled up inside a yellow towel and two hands are rolling it over a table

Now for some exercise! Place on the work surface your towel. Then the bamboo mat, then your felt and mesh. Roll it up like a sausage and roll it back and forth, putting some pressure on it. Unwrap, turn the felt around, and repeat. Do this for a few min until the piece is really flat and felted together. The thicker the felt, the more this will need to be done

Step 10

The finished multi-coloured felt

Finally, rinse your piece in cool water thoroughly and leave to dry flat. You are finished!

Step 11 (optional)

Embroidery thread of different colours and a pattern on fabric

You could embroider into the felt when it’s dry or add additional patterns as shown in the image.

You could also use it for different crafts, felt doesn’t fray so you can cut it into any shape you want after and use it for crafts or perhaps if you make thicker felt- coasters?