A little while ago I was browsing the internet and I happened upon these neat, sculptural felt cat "caves" and I thought they were really interesting and I immediately wanted to make one myself. I've never done this technique before - wet felting with loose wool roving - I've only ever done knit things and then felting them in the washing machine... so this was an interesting experience. This video is sort of a tutorial, but more of a "watch me make this and I talk you through what I did." Because of this, there are probably mistakes in there so if you see anything that I'm doing wrong, please let me know so I can correct anything!
Also, check out these two older projects where I spoil my cat some more:
Supplies! The cardboard is cut to 25 inches in diameter. It can be anywhere between 20 to 25, but my cat is a big guy so I went with the larger one. Please note that the amount of wool shown is only half of what I used.
I put down a piece of bubble wrap, bubbles up, put down the cardboard and attempted to take thin chunks of wool and placed them around the edge of the cardboard, hanging over halfway, and then I placed the inner pieces horizontally.
I covered everything with tulle...
...sprinkled all over with the hot soapy water...
gently rubbed over the tulle with the olive oil soap...
And in a circular motion, I rubbed all over the wool until it began to felt together.
I removed the tulle and then I covered with another bubble wrap layer, bubble side down. Then in one swift movement I flipped everything over.
With soapy wet hands I flipped the wool that was sticking out from the edge over back onto the cardboard.
Then I repeated step 1-6. So now there's one layer on each side of the cardboard.
Now I placed wool around the edges like before, but instead of placing the chunks down horizontally, I went vertically. I then repeated the steps 2-6 again. And then repeated this again on the other side! So now there are two layers on each side.
I placed the wool around the edges like before, but for the inside I went back like the beginning and placing the chunks horizontally. Then steps 2-6 were repeated yet again. Flipped the piece over and repeated everything again. Now there are three layers on each side!
This layer looks a bit crazy, but it's because I ran out of enough solid colored wool so I attempted to do an abstract rock sort of design. Don't worry, I ended up flipping it inside out so the black layer would be the outer layer. Anyway, I did these chunks of wool over the edges again and vertically aligned. For the most part. And then repeated this on the other side. HOWEVER, for that last side I did not put the wool chunks lining the edge; I only did the vertical pieces in the middle.
I placed the sheet of bubble wrap onto the wool and squirted some of the soapy water on top. Then I proceeded to rub in a circular motion all over for about 5 minutes. The soapy water helps your hand to just glide around on the plastic without getting caught. I flipped over and repeated. And then I did that two more times.
Then I rolled everything up on my PVC pipe and secured it tightly. Then I got to rolling. I rolled this thing for about a minute or two, then I unrolled it, rotated the piece a quarter, rolled back up and rolled for another 1 to 2 minutes. Then I repeated this process two more times. So I ended up turning the piece a total of four times. I flipped the felt over, rolled it up and repeated all of this on the other side. When the cardboard started to buckle, it was time for me to cut the hole.
I cut the hole. I meant to cut it more on the edge but I got excited to move onto the next step that I just cut a circle without thinking about it. Since I cut the hole small, however, I was able to salvage it. I soaped up my hands and used the hot soapy water to rub around the cut edge to help felt it better.
Then I reached inside and carefully pulled the cardboard, which was now sopping wet, out.
I rolled everything back up onto the PVC pipe and got rolling. I just repeated the rolling process I described earlier.
However, before I flipped it over to roll the other side, I made the executive decision to flip it inside out right then.
Then I resumed rolling.Now it was time to shape this thing and get it to shrink a bit. I used a small metal bowl on the inside to help shape the edges. I just rubbed on it through the outside with a handful of wet, soapy bubble wrap. When it was the right shape (or really, when I was over it and wanted to go to the next step) I brought it to the sink and rinsed the water out, alternating between hot and cold water.
I made a water/vinegar bath with two gallons of water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar and I soaked the cave for 15 minutes. After that time, I rinsed it out again and squeezed out some of the water in the sinkThen I brought it back to the table and rolled it up with a towel and the PVC pipe to squeeze out even more water.
I put it on some cooling racks to help dry it out and stuffed it with towels to help keep its shape while drying.
Once dry I cut the hole to a bigger size. I think the cut edge looks pretty cool because you can see all the layers. Also, I didn't need to felt it like I did earlier because the felt is much tighter and interlocked now, so it holds itself together.
Here's the finished piece, sitting on top of a piece of cardboard that has a circle drawn on it to show how big the cardboard circle I started with was. Pretty crazy! It shrunk about 8 inches.
Like with the shelves, I had to use a little bit of cat nip to show him that this new weird blob thing is actually pretty cool and he should check it out.
It seemed to work.
I hope you all liked this little walk through tutorial thing! I'm okay with how it came out. I don't think I'd try making another one really soon, but I can see myself wanting to try again in a few months or so. It serves its purpose, though, and doesn't look hideous or anything, so I'm happy!