Saturday, March 2, 2013

***Cat Cave***




Cat Cave...the perfect felted vessel that serves as a comfy hiding or sleeping place for kitty, as well as a piece of felted art...My inspiration came after visiting family and learning that their cat likes to sleep on top of the bookcase in the living room. I started thinking how cool it would be to have a felted vessel serve not only as a place for the cat to spend time, but it would also look like a nice piece of art on top of the bookcase.

Felted Cat Cave


Here are the steps I followed to make my cat cave using the resist method.

1.  Cut out a 20-inches across round piece of thick cardboard for the resist and place it on top of a piece of bubble wrap, bubble side up. (The final project after shrinkage will be approximately 15-inches across and it will take approximately 6-8 ounces of wool roving.)

2.  Place thin pieces of wool roving around the edge of the resist making sure half of the wool is hanging over the edge.

 
3.  Place rows of wool roving horizontally to cover the resist.


4.  Cover with a piece of tulle and sprinkle with warm, soapy water just enough to wet the wool. After all the wool is wet, gently rub olive oil soap on top of the tulle. 


5.  Gently rub the top with the tips of your fingers in a small circular motion. When wool has started to felt together, remove the tulle.


5.  Lay down another piece of bubble wrap, bubble side up, and flip over the resist and bubble wrap.

6.  Remove the bubble wrap and then with wet, soapy fingers wrap the overlapping fibers onto the top of the resist.


7.  Like before, place thin pieces of wool around the edge of the resist making sure half is hanging over the edge.


8.  Place thin pieces of wool in horizontal rows to cover the resist. 

 
9.  Like before, cover with a piece of tulle and sprinkle with warm, soapy water just enough to make the wool wet. After all the wool is wet, gently rub olive oil soap on top of the tulle. Now both sides of the resist have a layer of wool. 

 
10.  Repeat this process on both sides again. This time lay the wool fibers in vertical rows to fill the middle.
 
11.  The next two layers will form the outside of the vessel. At this point, you can mix or blend wool colors or add decorations.
 
 
12.  Make two more layers of wool in the same way as before only on the last layer, do not overlap the edge, just lay the wool to cover the top of the resist. Now there are 4 layers of wool on both sides of the resist.
 
 
13.  After the last layer of wool has started to felt together, remove the tulle and put a piece of bubble wrap on top with the bubble side against the wool. Sprinkle a little soapy water on top of the bubble wrap and gently rub the top in a small circular motion for 5 minutes, making sure to also cup your hands around the edge.  Turn everything over and rub the other side for 5 minutes. Repeat another 5 minutes on each side making sure to periodically reposition the bubble wrap so the bubbles are in different places.
 
 
14.  Roll up everything using a pool noodle and tie it together.
 
 
15.  Roll gently 30 times. Unwrap and turn the project 1/4 turn, roll up and roll another 30 times. Repeat rolling (30 times) and 1/4 turn for 4 times. Turn the project over and repeat the rolling (30 times) and 1/4 turn 4 times, gradually increasing the pressure. Repeat until the resist starts to buckle.
 
16.  Carefully cut a hole where desired being sure to only cut to the resist and not through it. Gently pull the resist through the hole. Rub the cut edge with soapy fingers to join the fibers together.  
 
17.  Put the project between two pieces of bubble wrap, bubbles toward the wool, and roll 30 times each 1/4 turn. Run your fingers inside the project to make sure no fibers are felting together. Turn over the project and repeat rolling 30 times each 1/4 turn.
 
18.  Complete fulling and shaping using your hands or a tool such as a metal spoon. You can also use the bubble wrap to create friction with the wool to be able to shape the project. The area of wool that was at the edge of the resist will need to be worked out to remove any wrinkles.
 
 19.  Rinse the project alternately in hot and cold water several times. Soak the project in vinegar water (1 tablespoon vinegar/1 qt. water) for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Gently squeeze, but do not wring it out.

 20.  Re-shape the project and set on a rack to dry.
 
 
 Here is the finished project...
 
Felted Cat Cave
 
Felted Cat Cave - Vessel

 
 I hope kitty enjoys the Cat Cave....
 
 
 
 

 

 

45 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this Lisa! Do you know approx how many ounces of wool it takes?

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    1. Depending on how thin and the size of your pieces of wool, a project this size takes approximately 6-8 ounces of wool roving. Have fun!

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  2. please a making cat cave in video, youtube or vimeo... please! :)

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  3. Thank you for so detail steps ! I search for long time to make the one for my cat.

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  4. This is interesting! My thoughts are to crochet it and them put in hot water to shrink. There was a fad to make hats and purses several years ago, and I will try this first.

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  5. Thanks for putting this together - I've just made a 'mouse cave' with my felting starter kit, and can now confidently order wool to make my cat a cave. Very useful, thanks again.

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    1. Where did you purchase your mouse cave starter kit?

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  6. Thank you for these instructions!

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  7. This came at such a perfect time. I just received my order from West Earl Woolen Mill and I am SO excited to start the process. I have two friends in Tucson who have kitties who will be caveless no more :) Now to find some lovely colors to add in!

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  8. Just finished making the cat cave with my daughter. It came out great. It did take a lot more time and energy than I thought it would - you make it look easy. :-)

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  9. Love it ♥ http://felting.craftgossip.com/2014/04/23/felted-cat-cave-tutorial/

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  10. Perfect, just what I was looking for! What was the diameter of the hole you cut in step 16? Thank you!

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  11. The diameter of the hole in step 16 is approximately 3 inches. It stretches out quite a bit depending on the thickness of the wool. You can always trim it if the hole is too small, but you can't shrink it back, so I recommend starting with a fairly small hole (2-3 inches) and go from there.

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  12. Instead of cutting a hole, can you just do the wool roving towards the middle but leave an empty spot where the cardboard is not covered? I feel like it would save materials. Thanks though! I don't have a cat, but I'm thinking of making a purse like this, or ordering extra wool and making a cat cave for my friend's cat. thank you!!

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  13. Oh also, I noticed your bird house and was wondering, what if it gets wet? Will it mold? Or shrink? Please do reply. :) Thanks!

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  14. Oh wait, one last thing. I was wondering if you have ever been to the sheep and wool festival. It's amazing! There's sheep herding, needle felting lessons, FOOD, and lots of shops there to buy little trinkets, big trinkets, or just to get ideas! It's in the state of Maryland. Okay, now I'll stop bugging you. :) Thanks!

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  15. Anonymous - I think it will be harder to felt leaving an empty area versus making a slit or cutting a small hole. It will be harder to keep the area around the hole the same thickness of wool. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

    Regarding the birdhouse, it made it through the winter without shrinking or getting moldy...so far, so good.

    I have not been to the sheep and wool festival. One of these days I hope to go to one and maybe even take a felting class.

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  16. Thank you for such a detailed tutorial you are very generous

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  17. Hi Lisa,

    I did it! My kitty cave came out great! I wish I could attach a picture, but alas, it didn't work. Anyhow, I do have a question. While my first effort was marvelous, the second try didn't quite work out so well. Even though I went back and needled in/wet felted more wool, the cave does not want to stay 'open'. I am sure I got too impatient and managed to lay down too-few, too-thick layers and made the edges too thick. Part of my trouble is that I have a chronic pain condition and at times, instead of just putting the project down and letting myself rest, I feel compelled to keep going. Being in pain does nothing for one's concentration either. In any case, what can I do to help ensure that my caves develop adequate structural integrity so they don't collapse?
    Thanks SO much for this terrific tute!

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    1. I'm glad your kitty cave came out great. Yes, if there are not enough wool layers or the layers are not thick enough, it can causing sagging depending on how large your cave is or how large the hole is. Also, if there hasn't been enough agitation during the fulling process the fibers won't have shrunk together enough. You could try re-wetting your cave and then throwing it on a counter or in the sink multiple times to shock the fibers. This will hopefully cause the fibers to shrink, which will firm up the sagging area. Thanks for trying my tutorial!

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    3. Lisa, I made a beautiful kitty cave based on your instructions and misunderstood the part about squeezing but not wringing the water out of the wool. I pressed it out firmly and my kitty cave collapsed into a beautiful large pancake after a few hours of kitty napping-everything else was just as you had instructed. I noticed another site said to run water over and through it and then let the water drain from it so that you would keep the shape throughout the process after initially forming it. I believe my vigor doomed me. I see that you suggest "throwing it multiple times" and I will try that and then wonder if I filled it with something like bubble wrap to hold the shape and blew it dry with a hair dryer if that might shrink the fibers enough to possibly hold it's shape? If not I am going to have to run wire through it to hold it up because the cats right now refuse to go in the pancake but find it a cozy pad to sleep on :/ I will make another but don't want to fail again at this. Is the fulling process done when you are soaping up the fibers to mesh them or in the rolling of the fibers near the end? I so appreciate your help. Thank you!

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  18. Really pleased to find this as I've just been asked if I can make one! I've done small pots with this method but never anything this large. I normally stuff a pot with a tea towel to hold the shape as it dries out, but I notice you don't stuff this. How hard is the felt and how solid is the shape? What would happen if the cat jumped on top of it?

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    1. The amount of fulling you do and the thickness of the wool layers will determine the stiffness of the vessel. I usually work the wool enough to shrink the cave so it is stiff enough to hold its shape. Rinsing with hot and then cold water aids in the process, too. After the vessel is the shape and stiffness you want, you can insert a bath towel or something to aid in keeping its shape while it dries.

      As far as a cat jumping on top of it, the cave will probably collapse somewhat (depending on how stiff the finished product is), but I'm sure kitty will find it fun trying to get into a smaller opening.

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    2. Thanks, that helps. I'm going to have fun trying this out.

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  19. Where can I buy the wool? Thank you!

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    1. I purchase my wool from the local yarn shop. A lot of yarn shops have a wool roving section with felting supplies. Etsy is a good on-line source. I've used Carin Engen's hand-dyed merino wool and it's wonderful. (https://www.etsy.com/shop/CarinEngenFiberArts)

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  20. http://www.worldofwool.co.uk/index.php Cheepest place to buy a wool.

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  21. What are the dimensions of the cave? My cat is pretty big...

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  22. This cave was approximately 15-inches across finished (resist measured 20-inches). Another cat cave I made was 23-inches across finished with a 30-inch across resist. It can be seen here: http://lisasfeltedart.blogspot.com/2014/01/cat-cave-wildflower-weed.html

    Shrinkage varies depending on how thick you lay the wool and how much fulling you do. The more you shock the fibers, the tighter they will be and the more it will shrink.

    Hope this is helpful.

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  23. Thanks, I can't wait to try this!

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  24. Hi. Thanks for the tutorial. Can i know how do you hold the shape? do you use any mold or model to give the roud shape? thanks in advance

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    1. During the felting process, the wool will become tighter and tighter and the cave can be shaped into a 3-dimensional vessel. Once you get it the shape you want, you can put a towel inside, or something to help maintain the shape, while the wool is drying. Hope this is helpful.

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  25. Hi, where can I buy the supplies, like olive oil bar, tulle, and wool

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    1. I purchase my wool from local yarn shops. They usually have a selection of felting supplies and wool roving. You can also purchase wool, etc. on Etsy. I purchase my olive oil bar soap at the local health food store, but I'm sure you can get it at grocery stores, too. You can buy tulle at a fabric store. Hope this helps.

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  26. Hi, I'm researching this hobby and how to make this- im wondering what micron wool you recommend using? I saw a good deal online for 29.5 micron, which is high, but I figure for this purpose maybe it's not necessary to be soft/high quality? Also, is it OK to mix microns , for example using the 29.5 micron in white and layers of a color in a 21 micron, will they stick to each other? Thanks and sorry if these are dumb questions :) I'm so excited to make this for my kitties

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    1. For making cat caves I use a coarser roving (higher micron) than Merino wool. [Merino is approximately 19.5-21 for fine; 17.5-19.5 for super fine; less than 17.5 for extra fine.] The 29.5 micron sounds good. I don't think you would have a problem with the 29.5 and 21 micron felting together, but you do want the cat cave (vessel) to be stiff enough to hold it's shape, so using too fine a wool will not work well. I usually use the same type/micron roving for the bulk of the vessel and then I may use various others for the outside layer of design/decorations. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!

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  27. I agree with your comment above. Courser wool works MUCH better than Merino, which doesn't have the body to hold the shape well. I just finished a cat cave out of Maori wool, which really worked well. It felts a bit slowly, so I did part of the fulling in the dryer with no heat. Much easier. I would also try Icelandic, a medium wool and a bit easier to find. Here is a nice chart to help you pick a wool: http://spinanon.ladefoged.org/wool.htm

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  28. Thank you for this tutorial. How long does the entire project take?

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  29. Depending on the size you're making, approximately 4-6 hours, plus drying time.

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  30. Wow. I love to see creative projects like this that anybody can tackle. There are a lot of awesome cat beds out there... But it never hurts to try your hand at a DYI project like this. Great share!

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  31. Hi Lisa- you wrote: "For making cat caves I use a coarser roving (higher micron) than Merino wool". So would micron of 31-35 be too course and if so what would be best- thanks

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    1. 31-35 would work fine. The coarser the wool, the better the cave will maintain its shape.

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  32. Hi there- Great tutorial- Can one use regular soap like Jergens as I can't find olive oil soap. thanks

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    1. Thank you for checking out my felting blog...Besides olive oil soap, I also use Dawn dish soap and it works fine.

      Below is a link for olive oil soap you can purchase on Amazon, if you are interested...

      https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-My-Face-Soap-Olive/dp/B005P0WFDA/ref=sr_1_8_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1485559575&sr=1-8&keywords=olive%2Boil%2Bsoap&th=1

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