How To Make Felted Wool for Crafting

Easy tutorial on how to make felted wool from thrift store sweaters for boot cuffs, hand & mug warmers, pillow covers, and more!

How To Make Felted Wool | On Sutton Place

For a while now, I have been trying to work with what I already have…and repurpose as much as I can. Not too long ago, I came across a couple of projects that called for felted wool. At first, I thought what I needed was wool felt. After doing a little more research, I discovered that felted wool and wool felt are NOT the same thing. Confused?

So was I! It’s really very simple though. Wool felt is purchased like fabric. From a bolt by the yard, in squares, or sometimes in strips. Felted wool can be made simply by throwing a thrift store wool sweater, or any wool fabric, in the washing machine!

Why would you want felted wool? BECAUSE IT DOESN’T UNRAVEL. The cut edges do not need finished off in any way. When I found this out, I was determined to learn how to make felted wool, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

How to Make Felted Wool

1. Find old sweaters that are at least 80% wool. 100% wool is best, but they are hard to find in the thrift stores. (I found a couple of perfect sweaters in my husband’s closet, but he refused to part with them.) My trip to Goodwill resulted in just 3 sweaters that I could use.

How To Make Felted Wool | On Sutton Place

2. Turn your sweaters inside-out. Using the normal amount of laundry detergent, wash them on the hot wash/cold rinse cycle. Select the largest load size, so you have lots of water swishing around.

3. Dry them on the hottest head setting that’s available on your dryer. Remove them from the dryer as soon as they are finished. You may have to iron them in order for the wool to be flat.

That’s it! Now you are ready to transform your felted wool sweaters into all sorts of wonderful things…plus you will be repurposing something, which is always a good thing.

You might also like:

DIY Felted Wool Boot Cuffs

DIY Christmas Garland from Wool Felt Balls

DIY Wool Felt Star Garland

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  1. Frances Hessler says:

    I have a collection of wool squares and such. Can I felt it? If so the same way?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Frances…I would try one or two squares of your wool first. Wash them, and see what happens. Go from there. Good luck!

  2. gloria wyssbrod says:

    Ann, can cashmere be felted?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes I think it can but honestly I have not tried. I think I have a very old gray cardigan that is cashmere if I haven’t donated it already. I can try and let you know? Or if you try it let me know if it came out OK.

  3. Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says:

    Oh my! I wish I had kept that wool sweater that I accidentally washed and it shrank up to baby size! Can’t wait to see how you use felted wool.

  4. Suzy @ Worthing Court says:

    I never, ever knew this was so simple to do! I think that I already have an old and scratchy wood sweater in my closet that I can use and I’ll be checking out the thrift stores too. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Jennifer @ Town and Country Living says:

    Omigoodness, I love this!!!! I just bought a bunch of felt for some projects and never even knew there was something called felted wool. I can see so many uses for this and my wheels are spinning. Thanks for sharing this, Ann. Perfect timing! Going to visit Goodwill this weekend!

  6. Nana Diana says:

    I have been going to do this for a while…and I even have some old wool things set aside. Maybe that will be a good project for me next week. Can’t wait to see what you do with your felted wool- xo Diana

  7. Lorraine Nolte says:

    Hi Ann,

    Happy New Year! Not sure how you reuse these sweaters. I was wondering if wool blankets could be used. I often see these in thrift stores. ?

  8. I used to work with a lady that made things from felted wool. I can hardly wait to see what you create, Ann.

  9. Jeanette Duke says:

    I have done this with a thrift store sweater but have not made anything with it yet. I thought I would make a purse and felt some designs on it and haven’t got up the nerve to start it. Can’t wait to see your creations!

  10. Anne Boykin says:

    Hi Ann, Wow, I’ve always wanted to make something with felted wool too! Thanks for the how-to.

  11. I’m looking forward to your project! In my closet is a 50 year old ski sweater, 100% wool, gorgeous colors, and I’ve never been able to part with it. Now it has a productive future ahead of it – Thanks!

    1. Jan as much as I’m looking forward to trying this technique on some less special sweaters i have , I’m not sure i would “damage” a 50 year old sweater that still has good color. Could you cut and sew it into a pillow without shrinking it and possibly distorting the colors.?

  12. Felt wool is awesome as upholstery!! My sister uses it all the type for projects. I didn’t know it was that easy. Cool!!

  13. Oh, that striped sweater would make a sharp pillow cover, hint, hint. Eager to see your talent at work.Keep warm!

  14. debbiedoos says:

    So cozy and what a neat idea Ann!

  15. Dori Troutman says:

    Ann – I’ve always wanted to experiment with a felted wool project. I can’t wait to see what your first project is. Yesterday I tossed an old Eddie Bauer sweater in the good will pile – I just went and checked and its 80% wool!!!! Saving that! Now I need to do a project. Thanks for this great post. Hope your new year is off to a great start. ~ Dori ~

  16. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    LOVE this! Felted wool has such a great feel too! Can’t wait to see you project tomorrow!

  17. There is a craft store near me that makes felted wool, it is so easy to work with and I normally make slippers from it.

  18. Simple enough! Now I’m interested to see how you use the felted wool.

  19. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    I am looking forward to seeing what you make with your felted wool!