Family Soap Makers

In an effort to get ahead of the game, last weekend we sat down as a family for three hours of bonding over soap and wool. Our task: make felt soaps for two custom orders and to prepare stock for the holiday craft shows.


If you’ve never seen felt soap, imagine soap in a sweater; the wool acts as a gentle exfoliant while the soap is kept wrapped in the felt. Every last bit of soap is used up, and you don’t have to do the slippery sliver dance in the shower with the last shreds of the bar. We use pure olive oil soap and various types of dyed wool.


Lance softened the soap in the microwave so the bars would cut nicely. Cold soap crumbles all over the place, especially if you try to cut a large bar. Thirty-five seconds on 50% power warms it just enough to slice like butter.

While he and Owen were busy unwrapping, warming and slicing the bars, I started making piles of roving on the table to create pleasing color combinations. Pretty soon, we realized it was most efficient for me to choose the colors, draft the wool and wrap the bars so Lance and Owen could felt them with the hot, soapy water.


Three hours later, we had a colorful pile of felt soaps in four scents: verbena, green tea, lavender and pure olive oil (unscented). Over the last two days, I’ve sold at least twenty bars, but we still have more of the raw materials so there will be a repeat in our near future.

If you are interested in trying this on your own, remember that not all wools felt equally. If possible, look for wool from corriedale or blue-faced leicester (BFL) sheep. Merino works, but it is more expensive than you need. Romney really doesn’t work well. Our local fiber store sells roving by the ounce that is simply called “NZ Carded Wool”; the breed isn’t specified but it works well.

Sets of three soaps are posted in my etsy shop for $15. I’m also offering workshops at my house or yours where I provide the materials and teach what you need to know for $3/bar. Let’s make some bubbles!


8 Responses to “Family Soap Makers”

  1. 1 Sarah Sunday, December 2, 2007 at 5:06 am

    We decided not to do felted soap at our Winter Fair. However, we are about to get a big storm so no school tomorrow or even maybe Tuesday. I’m thinking felted soap as a neighborhood craft. I have plenty of wool—just need to go buy the soap. So…no commercial soap? Buying the natural soap sure ups the price but, I guess that’s what I’d want to use for myself. Off to buy some. This is where I buy my soap: it’s made by a friend of mine.

    Thanks for the reminder of a good project!

  2. 2 kristin Monday, December 3, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    these look like yummy warm gems. what a perfect stocking stuffer!

  3. 3 Lori Monday, December 3, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    Hi, i just read about you at stash studios and i have to tell you this is the coolest thing i’ve ever seen…the colors are just amazing and the whole concept blows me away…and the fact that this is a family project melts me, so sweet!!

  4. 4 Shannon Smith Monday, December 3, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    That is too cool! I noticed it is sold out on the site. Will there be more? I’m keeping an eye on it. My 6 year old would love those.

  5. 5 jackie Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 3:14 am

    It looks like you have been as busy as I have! It is a great idea to cut the big bars in half. I made some felted soap last year, but I think that I went a little heavy on the felt part because after a while I couldn’t generate a lather.

  6. 6 ellen kelley Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 10:17 am

    What a wonderful gift idea..I love the colors and can just imagine how nice they would be to use. Good family project to boot!

  7. 7 Nic Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 7:35 am

    I love it when practical meets beautiful!

  8. 8 paperseed Friday, December 7, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    What an interesting idea!

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