Felted Wool Fun!

drink coasters made from felted wool sweaters www.mindfulmomma.comI need a new hobby like I need a hole in my head.  But all reason went out the window when I decided that I just had to learn how to felt wool sweaters in the washing machine.

It started with a trip to the thrift store where I bought a few wool sweaters to shrink.  Let me tell you, it felt a little weird buying perfectly good sweaters that I was planning to go home and ‘ruin’ in the wash!  But I got over it.  It’s a fun way to give an old sweater new life!

First I needed some advice.  Betz White (of cupcake pincushion fame) has some info about felting and some helpful before & after photos of sweaters that have been successfully felted.  The advice I took away was:

  • Wash sweaters in HOT water with detergent and dry in a hot dryer.
  • Sweaters can have a mix of animal fibers (merino wool, lambswool, angora, cashmere) but no more than 10% nylon (or they will not felt properly.)
  • Felting works best in a top load washer but can be done in front-load washers as well.
  • If using a front-load washer, throw in a tennis ball to add some friction!
  • You may need to run your sweaters through the wash more than once.  Properly felted sweaters will not fray. I’m guessing that after you’ve felted a lot of sweaters you start to get a feel for how they will turn out.  My 3 sweaters all came out differently because they were different blends.  For instance, cashmere makes a very soft but thin felt and a ribbed 100% wool sweater felts up nice and thick.

I’ve got a front-load washer and I could not find a tennis ball but my sweaters turned out just fine – although I did need to put them through the wash cycle twice.

Now that I had a pile of felted wool – what was I going to do with it?  Make drink coasters of course!


About Micaela

Micaela Preston is a marketing and communications consultant specializing in natural, organic and eco-friendly products and the health and wellness space. Micaela is available as a social media manager, green lifestyle writer, public speaker, brand ambassador and marketing manager.


  1. CodeCrafter says:

    Felting sweaters is so much fun and you can make so many great things. I have seen them made into hats, mittens, purses, blankets and more. By far my favorite use is to take the arms and make them into pants for my toddler. Thick wool sweater pants make great snow pants and thinner ones are great over cloth diapers.

  2. Thanks for sharing this terrific idea! I’ve heard that it’s also possible to make wool diaper covers by felting sweaters. Has anyone tried this? By the way, over at http://greenbabyguide.com, we’ve made it vastly easier to comment than it was in the past. We’re hosting a giveaway right now so feel free to visit. Thanks!

  3. I really like your coasters! I’ve never made felt in this way, but I keep meaning to give it a go. I’ve made felt from shed rabbit fur, which turned out beautiful and soft.

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