Give the gift of hygge this holiday season with this DIY throw blanket! Gather up a handful of old wool sweaters from your closet or the thrift shop and turn them into felt with the help of your washer and dryer. With just a few steps and some adorable pom-poms, you'll have the warmest throw blanket around to give as gift this Christmas. Plus, this blanket doesn't require any sewing at all so it's perfect for DIYers of all skill levels.
What You'll Need
Step 1: Prepare sweaters
When thrift shopping for wool sweaters, aim for 100% wool (or a mix of cashmere, angora, merino, etc). 80% wool and up typically works well, but you'll get the best results with higher wool content. Also, try to find larger sweaters (not button-front cardigans) so that when they shrink down later you still have lots of material to work with on the front and back. This throw blanket used 5 sweaters, but it doesn't hurt to get an extra sweater or two if you can.
To felt your sweaters, put each sweater into its own pillowcase and tie a knot in the end to keep the sweaters secure inside - this will prevent any loose fibers from clogging up your washing machine. Put the sweaters into the washing machine with about half as much detergent as you would normally use. Select a wash cycle that is long and hot and once it's done, remove the sweaters from the pillowcases and put into the dryer on a high-heat setting for about 40 minutes. When you remove the sweaters from the dryer, they should be smaller and have slightly different texture than when you put them in, like felt. Repeat the wash and dry process for super felted fabric.
It's possible that some wool sweaters just won't felt nicely, despite being 100% wool. Some sweaters are treated with chemicals that prevent them from felting, so if you're having trouble with a sweater then you may have to swap in another one to replace it.
Step 2: Cut sweaters
Lay out your sweaters, cut off the sleeves and set to the side. You won't need them for this throw blanket, but they're great scraps to keep for future craft projects. The sweater shouldn't fray as you cut it but if it is, you'll want to swap in another.
Step 3: Cut squares
Use a measuring tape and chalk to mark 14" squares on the fronts and backs of your wool sweaters and cut out.
Step 4: Make pom-pomsTime to make the pom-poms that will hold the blanket together! Pick a color of yarn that goes with your sweater color scheme and use a pom-pom maker (any size will do) to make 16 pom-poms. Wrap the yarn tightly around each wing of the pom-pom maker and fold them back in. Trim the yarn edge all the way around and then use a 12" long piece of yarn to tightly tie the pom-pom together around the plastic discs. Remove the pom-pom maker and trim the edges to make a neat ball, but make sure to leave the two long tails as is.
Step 5: Arrange squares
Lay out your felt squares in a 3 by 3 grid, or a 4 by 4 grid if you want a bigger blanket and have enough felt squares. Overlap the edges and corners slightly. Cut two small snips into each corner of all the squares. The holes don't need to line up perfectly on the overlapping corners, but try to keep the snips close to the corner.
Step 6: Tread pom-pomsThread the pompom yarn tails through the holes of each of the overlapping felt squares so that both tails come out through the back of the fourth square.
Step 7: Finish blanket
Double knot the tails on the back of the blanket to secure. Repeat this threading and tying though the felt squares on each of inner squares of the blanket, working your way out keeping the layers of felt even as you go. On the outer edges you'll just be tying through two felt squares, and for the corner squares the pompoms aren't holding anything together but are there to complete the pattern. Trim all the yarn tails from the back of the blanket.