After seeing felted beads in a craft store, I really wanted to make them, but I wasn't sure where to find wool roving. It was Spring at the time I was looking for the wool, and if you have a pet, you'd know that they shed a lot this time of year. So as I was constantly picking up clumps of cat hair from my carpet, I thought, why not try felting cat hair instead.
In this instructable I will show you how I made a felted bead bracelet from cat hair.
Step 1: Materials:
- Pet hair
- Dish soap and pet shampoo
- Plastic containers
- Paper towels
Optional: if you want to dye the beads
- Microwave safe containers
- Spoon and sieve
Step 2: Collect hair
If your pet tolerates being groomed by you , you can collect the hair from the brush or slicker. If you trim your pet's hair you can use the trimmings as well.
Collect shedding hair
Since my cat doesn't like when I brush his coat, all of the hair that I've collected from him is from shedding. I find little tufts of hair on the carpet (particularly in the Spring), which has provided me with enough cat hair to make a bracelet. Search around the spots where your pet sleeps or you can even use a lint brush an brush your furniture and clothing. (When collecting shed hair make sure it is free of debris, lint, and human hair (I shed a lot too).
The time it takes to collect enough hair varies with the size and breed of your pet. It took me several months to collect enough cat hair to make a bracelet , when I brought it in to work to show my colleagues one of them went home and collected as much hair in just one evening from her Golden Retriever.
Step 3: Making the felt balls
- Squirt some dish soap into your container and fill with warm water, fill the other container with cold water.
- Grab a tuft of your pets hair, bunch it together into a ballish shape and dip into the warm soapy water, remove and squeeze out the excess water.
- Place the soggy tuft of pet hair in the centre of the palm of one hand, place your second hand over top and roll in a circular motion.
- Once the tuft of hair is felted into a ball, dip it in the cold water to rinse (the longer you roll, the smaller it gets).
Step 4: Cleaning
You can wash the pet hair before or after it is felted. Since warm soapy water is what helps felt the hair, your best bet is to wash it after you make the balls.
- Use the same two containers as in the previous step, one for warm-hot soapy water and the other for cold water.
- If your pet tends to smell or get dirty a lot, you should use pet shampoo to wash the felt balls. My cat stays indoors and doesn't really smell so I just used dish detergent.
- Wash the felt balls, rinse, change the soapy wash water and repeat until the water stays clear. I did this a couple of times for my cat's hair.
Step 5: Dry felt balls
- After the felt balls are rinsed, squeeze out excess water and place on a paper towel.
- Place the paper towel with the finished felt balls in a warm spot to dry.
Step 6: Dyeing the beads
I prefer the natural colour of the beads, but I wanted to show how you can take this a step further and dye them. Obviously if you a have a dark coloured pet, there is no point in trying to dye it, but if it is whitish or if it is like my cat it sheds only white hair, you can do this.
- For the amount of beads that I had, I used a 6oz microwave safe dish and added ~1/2 teaspoon of Kool-Aid and filled it ~1/3 full (2oz) with boiling water. Stir until dissolved.
- Use one bead first to test the colour. Throw the bead into the Kool-Aid, press it down so that it is immersed.
- Microwave on high for 1 minute (you may need to adjust the time if you are using a larger quantity).
- Scoop the bead out of the Kool-Aid with a spoon, place in a sieve and rinse under the tap with cold water.
- If you are happy with the colour, dye the rest.
- Put them on a paper towel and place in a warm spot to dry.
Step 7: Stringing the beads
Once the felt balls are dry I used a large needle to poke holes into them and strung them with elastic beading string.
You can get creative here and use different colours, different types of beads and spacers. You can also use the beads for necklaces, hairpins, and embellishments, try mixing different colours if you have more then one pet, or dye the hair before hand (see this instructable.) Have fun!