Wet Felted Laptop Sleeve
Wet felted laptop sleeve
I have been very lucky to be the recipient of a new MacBook Air, so instead of buying a sleeve to protect it, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at wet felting a laptop sleeve. Everyone seems to be toting around a laptop, ipad, notebook or mobile phone of some kind these days so this is the perfect gift idea and it is very easy to adapt this method to any computer or phone as long as you have the dimensions of the device. Do not be put off by the length of this tutorial, It is relatively easy and the steps are mostly repetitive, so give it a go and lets get felting….
Supplies needed for wet felted laptop sleeve
- Paper pattern
- Computers dimensions
- Old towel
- Calico for resist pattern or thin plastic
- Bubble wrap or packing plastic of some type
- Muslin, curtain or any thin material that will allow water to pass through freely
- Wool tops in your chosen colour/s
- Grated soap (I use olive oil soap but you can use whatever you have handy as long as it lathers well
- Juice bottle with a few holes in the lid
- Warm water
- Sink to rinse wool sleeve under
- Scissors, pins
- Garbage bag or plastic drop cloth
Instructions for making your own computer pocket
1. Measure your computer, then add depth of your computer to height measurement and add triangle of desired height to eventually fold over to close your pocket (My measurements are for a 11 inch Mac air).
3. Pin paper pattern to calico
2. Add approximately 30% to all these measurements to allow for shrinkage and mark out your measurements on paper. In this tutorial I added 30% to both sides of the sleeves. I think this was too much and I had to really work the felt to get it close to the required size. Next time I will only add 15% for each side, 30% total increase in width.
3. Pin paper pattern onto calico and cut out.
4. Remove paper pattern from your template.
5. Place down garbage bag or drop cloth over your work surface, cover with towel and then place your bubble wrap or plastic on top.
6. Add soap to warm water in juice bottle and gently shake until soap dissolves and water has become cloudy. Add additional soap until water is cloudy.
7. Pull off sections (10cm x 5cm approx.) and lay horizontally on work surface roughly the size of your calico template. This first layer will be the back, outside facing for your pocket.
8. Check size regularly. Make the wool 5cm larger than your calico template on 2 sides and bottom of your template where your pocket will close. But you do not need extra at the top triangle where pocket will fold over.
9. Once you have a nice even coverage on your first layer, repeat this process laying the wool vertically. Continue changing directions for each layer until you feel you have the required thickness, This will vary depending on what you are making and the type of wool you are using.
10. For my pocket I used 4 layers of wool on the main rectangle section of my pocket and three layers on the triangle fold section as I wanted this to be a little thinner as it will not be used to protect my laptop.
11. I also wanted the inside to be a different colour, similar to an envelop lining so for my last layer of wool I used a different colour. This last layer will be inside your pocket and on the fold.
12. Place calico template on wool.
13. Using your bottle of warm soapy water, slowly wet the calico template with water.
14. Press down with bottle on calico and gently squeeze, pushing air out and spreading the water right up to the edge.
15. Try to keep sides and bottom edges dry. Ensure the wool is wet. Gently rub calico to ensure you are getting a good soapy lather. If not rub some extra soap onto calico now and add more grated soap to your warm water now.
16. I am going to trim the top edges of triangle and first 2cm of each side now. ( I would not usually do this but for this pocket I would like a fairly straight edge but still want it to look organic so am cutting it early in the felting project. We will see how it works at the end)
17. Ensure your hands are dry and fold dry edges of wool over the calico template, ensure that you do not fold over the edges of the calico template. This will be the side seam of your pocket.
18. Pull off sections of wool (10cm x 5cm approx.) and lay horizontally on work rectangular section of calico. Try and keep layer even. This first layer is the inside layer of your pocket which you may choose to do a different colour to your outside if you wish.
19. Only cover the rectangular section and leave the triangle area free from wool as this will fold over and close your sleeve when completed.
20. Once you have a nice even coverage on your first layer, repeat this process laying the wool vertically. Repeat until you have desired thickness. Again I had a total of 4 layers, 2 horizontal and 2 vertical layers for this section.
21. Cover wool with muslin, curtain or thin material.
22. Starting in the centre, wet down the wool with warm soapy water. Slowly pushing the air out of the wool and spreading the water right up to the edges. Take care not to move the wool around too much, especially near the edges.
23. Check that the wool is thoroughly wet through. If not continue wetting down until it is.
24. When the wool is completely wet, gently fold the edges under to the other side. Take care on the corners that the wool is evenly spaced and is of an even thickness. If not, now is the time to either gently remove some strands of wool or re-position until it is even.
25. Now begin gently massaging your wool ensuring you have a good soapy lather. Try not to move the wool too much at this stage. You can slowly become more vigorous and begin rubbing left and right, up and down.
26. Every now and then, remove the net and do the pinch test. If the fibres stay together you are ready to remove the netting and turn wool over and repeat the process on the other side. If fibres start to separate you need to continue rubbing until they can withstand the pinch test.
27. Now it is time to start rolling. Gently roll your wool sleeve in bubble wrap.
28. Wrap and roll the whole thing in your towel.
29. Secure with elastic bands and begin rolling. Roll for at least 100 times, unroll your packages, turn 90 degrees and re-wrap, roll for another 100 and repeat the process.
30. After rolling 100 times twice unwrap your sleeve and place hand inside along the side seam.
31. Begin gently massaging both sides and the bottom seams, take care that no holes, ridges or bumps form.
32. Continue massaging and rubbing the seams becoming more vigorous until they are smooth and can withstand the pinch test.
33. Wet down your sleeve again with warm soapy water and look at the shape. Mine is larger on the right side. So I will re-wrap in bubble wrap and the towel and this time I will roll focusing most of the pressure on the right side.
34. Unwrap and check size of sleeve. If sleeve is almost the right size, turn inside out and remove template. Using the pinch test, ensure the inside is well felted. If not you need to wet down your sleeve with warm soapy water and vigorously rub all over until it is well felted.
35. Turn right side out. And check size. To check the size I used a tupperware lid that was almost the same size as my laptop so I did not have to place my laptop onto of the wet felt or continuously measure.
36. When your sleeve is only 1-2cm larger than your laptop you can stop rolling. If it is still too large, wrap and roll 100 times, unroll, rotate sleeve. wrap and roll 100 times. Continue repeating this process until it is the right size.
37. Rinse the felt in water to remove excess soap.
38. Wring out excess water and leave sleeve to dry overnight. I inserted the tupperware lid inside to help retain shape but it is not necessary.
39. Once your sleeve is dry, you can decide if you would like a fastener to close it or simply tuck the triangle flap into the sleeve. I decided on a button. Decide on position for button and sew on. Check position and cut a slit in the flap.
40. Insert your laptop and your sleeve is complete.
Mine is not perfect. Next time I would make the triangle flap larger and I would only add 30% to the sides combined as I had to work the felt a long time to get it too the right size. Overall I am happy with the result and so is my laptop.