This is a fun project for children of all ages, and adults too!
Processed wool (natural, dyed)
Dish soap (Dawn works especially well)
*The Children's Museum of Sonoma County facilitated this project at the Mini Maker Faire in Sonoma County, the images are from that event.*
Start with processed, natural or dyed wool
Take small chunks of the wool (Image 1), then gently pull the wool fibers apart, "fluffing" them (Image 2).
Create a bed of wool by laying the wool fibers on a table. Add another layer, crossing perpendicularly to the bottom layer. Make sure to check for holes. Ideally you won't be able to see through the layers. Add other layers if needed, or add some smaller pieces of dyed wool, making sure to "fluff" each one.
Place the entire pile of wool in a plastic baggy. Add the warm soapy water by dipping the bag into the tub, or using your hands. You just want the wool drenched, but not too much extra water in the bag.
Make sure to zip the bag closed and get most of the air out.
Now for the fun part! With the baggy flat on the table, start agitating it by pushing it back and forth quickly, almost as though you're rolling out cookies. What's happening is that the wool fibers are becoming locked together because of the friction, and aided by the warm water and soap. It'll take a little while! Check it every couple minutes and you should see the wool coming together, and the fibers becoming more intertwined.
The end result will look something like this (the top layer, there are two stacked in this photo). Depending on size and shape you could turn yours into a coaster, wall hanging, tapestry and a small bag or pillow (with some sewing).