Wash a wool sweater in the washing machine and you’ll see it shrink to child-sized. This, my adult-sized friends, is called felting. Agitating wool in water causes the fibers to bind onto each other and shrink. The great news is that this binding action creates a dense, soft material whose raw edges won’t fray.

I’ll show you how to convert an old sweater into a scarf, and you can use this same felted wool for other crafty creations. (Felting works best with 100% wool sweaters.)

The next time your favorite wool sweater accidentally slips into the wash and shrinks to oblivion, take another look. See it as raw material for your next craft project. You might even start shrinking sweaters on purpose.

Project Steps

Felt your sweater.

Put your sweater in the washing machine on the hottest setting. Add a small amount of detergent, and wash.

Then dry on the hottest setting.

Trim and cut.

Trim off any hem along the bottom.

Cut a continuous spiral around your sweater about 6″ wide. You’ll want your scarf to be about 50″ long.

Embellish your scarf.

Turn on your craftiness to personalize your scarf. Embellish it with yarn and other fabric scraps. Weave yarn through the scarf by cutting notches along the edges about 1″ apart, then threading the yarn in and out of the holes.

Bundle up in your cozy new creation.