Introduction: Felted Pet Hair Beads

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

  • Kool-Aid
  • Microwave safe containers
  • Spoon and sieve

Step 2: Collect Hair

Pet grooming
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!

Comments

author
lreale made it! (author)2014-07-24

Thanks for the GREAT idea!

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ChrysN (author)lreale2014-07-24

That looks awesome, thanks for posting!

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19kevers (author)2015-12-20

so cool I have a cat

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Lobentley (author)2015-12-02

Your cat is adorable!!! Such a cutie! Love this idea as well.

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dyilove (author)2015-08-21

You are so Creative. What a wonderful remembrance of one's favorite pet! Thank You for posting.

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kaiakuma (author)2014-10-20

Hreat ifea for a pet memoir. Yiu can make a braceket out of their hait to keep with you always. I wish i would have gotten more hair from my dog before he was cremated i would have loved to do something like this

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ChrysN (author)kaiakuma2014-10-20

Yes, it makes a great memento.

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amarcus2 (author)2014-04-28

As a cat rescuer with a home full of shedding felines as well as our beloved GSD, can you imagine what we could make? Whoa Nelly!

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Ruth in Craftsville (author)2014-01-13

This is so creative!

author

Thanks!

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pixelzen (author)2009-10-08

OMG that is the cutest thing I have ever seen! Love it!

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efrs (author)pixelzen2014-01-02

Wonderful! Thanks for telling us what do with all the cat hair ! Last months I started colleting the hair of my 2 cats and now I will try this idea!
Thanks again!

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tomdowntown (author)2009-11-25

they make brushes now that you can attach to the wall or  corner that you're cat will want to rub up against to get the hair off, I was even thinking of using a cheep toilet brush attached near his scrathing post.

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katerlyn (author)tomdowntown2013-08-28

I had instructable on putting catnip in soap container brush....remember to buy high quality...i was reminded here... Two cats did get severe cat acne, i dont know if it was from the dollar store scrub brushes. )

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ChrysN (author)tomdowntown2009-11-25

That sounds like a great idea!

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emarusa (author)2013-07-12

can u do it with horse hair

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ChrysN (author)emarusa2013-07-12

I've only used cat and dog hair and of course wool. You can try it and see for yourself, though I've seen it braided into a bracelet(http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Horse-Hair-Bracelet.)

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Skye2171 (author)2013-06-08

Eww..

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Carollew (author)2012-07-17

I am now looking at my shedding dogs and cats in a whole new positive light. I spun my dog's shaved fur last year and made a scarf. Never thought about the fact that when it gets wet, it smells like a wet dog. These beads look easy to make. I posted it on my blog http://www.carollew.com/blog/.

author
ChrysN (author)Carollew2012-07-17

Thanks, for posting this on your blog! I love your portraits.

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RiverBlackwood (author)2012-01-25

I am just wondering how colourfast the Kool-Aid is? Say you are in the rain and it gets wet, will they bleed all over you?

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ChrysN (author)RiverBlackwood2012-01-25

No, the colour won't run when it gets wet, you can soak it in water and it won't bleed.

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olulpana (author)2010-06-18

To those who know anyone with a hairless cat it would be precious and hilarious to make it its very own cat fur coat from one of your kitties to theirs. Just an idea! Felt on!

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littleangels (author)olulpana2012-01-22

In wanting to learn how to spin yarn from my cats fur - I made a spinner...
The yarn came out looking like dreadlocks, and I now know what it feels like to have a hairball...!
Cat fur is warm, though!

author
ChrysN (author)olulpana2010-06-18

That would be funny, I'm sure those hairless cats get cold and could use a warm coat.

author
midsummermuse (author)2011-09-18

Ah man, my husband was so grossed out when I took a huge ball of hair from my MIL's bichon frise puppy after she was trimmed and felted a good size white ball pet for our cat KT. They loved playing together and it was his favorite toy until it got lost. Never thought of making beads out of hair though! Cool idea and good instruct-able. I just used liquid hand soap and felted it by hand in the bathroom with hot water from the sink and kept stabbing it with a needle. ^_^

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sunshiine (author)2011-08-26

Your cat is beautiful! Pets are so much fun. Thanks for sharing.

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ChrysN (author)sunshiine2011-08-27

Thank you!

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Mauigerbil (author)2011-07-26

I will try this with gerbil fur. My gerbils shed a lot for some reason

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NaturalCrafter (author)2011-05-04

Thanks for sharing all those options. I was wondering when you put the hole in the middle of the bead. After dying but before they are dry?

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ChrysN (author)NaturalCrafter2011-05-04

I usually add the hole after it has dried.

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mooseinakilt (author)2010-10-23

Wonderful idea :) I have a cat that doesn't shed much, but I'm up to my ears in rex rabbit fur. I'd much prefer his fluff to be in necklace form rather than floating around and making its way up my nose.

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ChrysN (author)mooseinakilt2010-10-23

That would make a really soft necklace.

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creative_cait (author)2010-08-22

Have to say, I am a huge fan of this project! I made a ton of these beads out of bith of my cats fur tonight. One orange cat and one calico. the calico beads came out a mix of dark gray and white. Afterwards I took some curved sissors (from my embrodery box) and trimmed off all the random excess fur. They look much more polished this way I found. I am really happy how well this turned out. Thanks!

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ChrysN (author)creative_cait2010-08-22

Good idea to trim them, they do look a bit ragged with bits of fur sticking out. Thanks!

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olulpana (author)2010-06-18

I'm sorry last comment for the night. This is just too funny, a much needed stress relief idea after some really bad migraines. I am now hunting my cats down and mauling them for their shedding fur, like a Benny Hill show. They don't know what has hit them but then they are not complaining in the lest with all the pampering they think I am giving them. Made quite a few already. Thanks for great idea and good stress busting laugh.

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olulpana (author)2010-06-18

To have my very own fuzzy cat balls. Awesome! Sorry, but I am just cracking up. Love the idea!! Loved the download of of the PDF showing the other way to wash the fur!. I guess you just have to be a cat lover to understand the laughter in this. I am making my friend her very own fuzzy doggie ball bracelet. Then she can cherish her pups forever! Good job!

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lala1989 (author)2010-06-14

what a great idea!i just go home and playing with my dog for those bueatiful hair balls~

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velvetkitten (author)2010-04-28

Such a GREAT tutorial and a fantastic idea!  Thank you so very much!  I linked to you through my blog.  ...alicia  freshasakitten.blogspot.com/2010/04/kitty-pom-pom-beaded-necklace.html  

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scoochmaroo (author)2009-10-06

This is the best. I LOVE how you've incorporated so many techniques in this one project. I wonder if I can dye my cat's dark grey hair. I've made several toys for her out of it. Now I can make gifts for everyone!

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author

i tried doing this technique with some raw alpaca wool that i got on ebay super cheap, and it worked really well, thealpaca is also dark grey/brown and i was able to dye it after bleaching it first. :P 

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ChrysN (author)scoochmaroo2009-10-06

You cat is really sweet, I'm sure the beads you make from her hair would be quite pretty.

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kiffakitty (author)2010-03-10

Yes! i'm glad im not the only crazy person who felts her pet's fur and dyes it with koolaid! omg when i saw this i laughed so much! i never tried to make a bracelet out of it though- the problem i usually encounter is that they start to get really frizzy or out of shape after a while- do you have any fabric protector/stiffener that you would recommend to make them last longer?

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ChrysN (author)kiffakitty2010-03-11

I don't use anything on mine, I haven't really had much of a problem with frizzing.  Maybe I don't wear mine as often.

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miacat9 (author)2010-03-10

im going to go find a brush now xD
u could also gather up a bunch of fur then make a toy o:

author
alysssalyn (author)2010-02-25

Your cat looks JUST like my kitty! That soft like a bunny fur... haha.. Where did you get that cat? Just wondering if they are related :P

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ChrysN (author)alysssalyn2010-02-25

I got my kitty from an SPCA in Vancouver.

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b1russell (author)2010-02-12

Thank you for a wonderful idea!  My sister's dog - German shepherd who sheds a LOT, year round - is past old, and getting ancient.  I think I'll make her a bracelet (and maybe a necklace, earrings, buttons, etc. . . .) and save it to present as a memorial after the dog is gone.

Thanks again!

author
nicolemiko (author)2010-01-14

I love this. I want to make some with the dog hair that my parents' dog sheds. I have not found any local place for wool roving and I've been wanting to try felting. Such a great and creative tutorial.

author
ChrysN (author)nicolemiko2010-01-14

Thanks!

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Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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