A big part of the magic behind our adorable stuffed dogs is the magic of wet felting. All of our plush dogs and cats use the wet felting process as part of their handcrafting. Wet felting is an ancient art form where pure water, natural wool, and soap are combined to make a unique and durable fabric. While a big pile of wool might look fluffy and soft, you'll see something very different under a microscope. Wool fibers are actually covered with tiny "scales", or sharp little microscopic barbs. When that wool is warmed and moistened, and the PH of the wool is increased (by the soap), all of those little scales stand up. When the wet soapy wool is agitated, the scales lock together. The more the wool is roughed up, the more they lock. And that's how a big pile of fluffy wool is turned into a soft, tight, durable piece of felt!

scale_1 Our wet felted dogs and cats go through the same basic process to create their unique plush. We use the highest grade, softest, natural merino wool. We combine it with fresh water and natural olive oil soap. The coats on all of our plush dogs and cats are made using this magical wet felting technique. It's a big part of why ShelterPups look different, and so much more realistic, than any other stuffed animal you've ever seen. It's also why our plush animals are so soft and so durable.

ShelterPups plush stuffed animals are each handcrafted by blending different colored wools together, then wet felting them into one-of-a-kind plush dogs and cats. After we create the plush coat for our wet felted dogs, we then further use the magic of natural wool to sculpt the dog. Wool fibers have memory and allow us to hand sculpt all of our plush dogs. This process is often called soft sculpture. Every ShelterPup is a soft sculpted, wet felted plush dog!

Try it at home!

Wet felting is magical, and fun. Best of all it is something that kids of all ages can do at home in the kitchen. All you need is wool, soap, warm water, and a little elbow grease. One fun thing to try is making your own little tennis balls for your plush dog, right in the kitchen sink! Just take a little bit of natural wool and wrap it around a small ball, like a bouncy rubber toy ball. Fill a bowl with some warm water and add a little natural soap. Dunk the wool covered ball in the soapy water, then massage it gently over the sink. The longer you massage the ball, the more you will see the wool begin to tighten up. Keep going. The more you agitate the wool during the wet felting process, the more the fibers will lock together. This part of the wet felting process is called "fulling". The "felting" part of the wet felting process is where the fibers initially connect together. During fulling, these connections grow stronger and stronger as you agitate them. You can full as long as you wish; there is really no such thing as over-fulling felt!

A true masterpiece!

The end result of is a soft yet durable piece of felt. This ancient fabric art make the most incredible plush dogs because it uses real hair (wool), natural colors, and natures blending process. Instead of sharp, harsh, artificial looking chemical dyes, our wet felted dogs look natural with natural color gradients and blending that make the ShelterPups plush animals look so, so realistic!