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How to Wet Felt A Bentwood Chair/Seamless Upholstery
A little about this project
This stunning art project is aimed at those interested in creating a unique piece of art. No sewing techniques are required for this project. Use this Tutorial as an opportunity to experiment with color, texture and a blend of woolen fibers.
- Add silk fibers for sheen or alternatively, add bits of silk scarves or natural fibers to add texture and tones to the mix.
- Use black and white fibers on their own or add a touch of red for a retro look.
- Use spots or stripes to create leopard spots.
- Color the legs or leg supports with a variety of contrasting colors for a wow factor.
This success of this project is only limited by what you can dream up or a lack of suitable fibers. This project should be of great interest to Fiber Artist everywhere.
'Failed' wet felting projects can be added to the mix. This is precisely what I did here. Small bits and pieces left over from previous failed projects were cut into small rectangles and applied to the surface and sides of the chair.
I regularly bid for mixed job lots of wool roving on e-Bay. The result is often a delicious blend of wool roving in a range of colors which can be used for projects such as this one a sensible price.
The pencil roving used for this project was one such buy. It can be used to great effect because the long strips can be wrapped around the cane in a continuous length, making it very easy to complete the first layer.
No two wet felted chairs will ever look the same. The final result is dependent on your personal choice or a blend of colors and fibers which you have available to you.
There is no need to feel pressure to complete this project in one sitting. This chair was created over the space of several weeks. Work small sections of the chair at a time and then proceed to the next when you are satisfied that you have completed it to your satisfaction. The underside of the chair was also felted.
Wet the area to be felted every time you return to the project. The fibers will only fuse together if they are wet.
Items required to complete this Project
- A Bentwood Chair
- A quantity Merino Wool Roving in a variety of colors
- A quantity Pencil Roving to be used for layer 1. Substitute Wool Bats or roving if you have a lot of scraps left over from previous projects.
- Berol PVA Glue
- Warm Soapy Water
- Curtain Netting
- Scraps of 'failed' felt projects or pre-felt made especially for this project.
- A pair of Scissors for cutting the pre-felt or scrap pieces of felt.
- A Palm Sander (not necessary but one could be utilized for speedier results)
A note on the Use of Synthetic Fibers for this Project!
Do not use synthetic felt. Use natural fibers where indicated. You may occasionally use synthetic thread, fiber or wool for decorative reasons only. Synthetic fibers will not felt but can be incorporated into the merino wool fibers for decoration.
Drench the Pencil Roving with a Diluted Solution of PVA Glue
Dilute a quantity of PVA glue with water and mix. Use a sponge or large brush to cover the whole chair with the mix. Allow to dry. It will dry transparent but will allow the fibers to attach themselves permanently to the wooden surface below.
Let the Fibers Overlap the Edge of the Seat
Let the fibers overlap the edge of the seat. A row of pre-felt pieces should be embedded in this fiber on the front, side and back edges of the chair. Please see images below.
A note on Using a Palm Sander for this Project
Remember to use the correct safety procedures required when working near water. Protect yourself fully from electrical shocks by wearing rubber soles and cover the area to be sanded with a thick sheet of plastic. Use electric plugs which will cut out immediately in the case of an accidental shock.
Complete the Felting Process
Take time to ensure that all surfaces of the chair are properly felted. Cover with bubble-wrap and rub thoroughly until there is no movement of the fibers. Use hot and cold water to help the process and finally add another diluted solution of PVA glue to the surface. The glue should sink in completely and dry clear. Allow the chair to dry outdoors.
A little More About Pencil Roving
Pencil Roving is generally used to make 'Dreads' as were used in the video above. I used them to make a Chemo Hat but the same pencil roving can be used in thin layers to make beautiful delicate felt flowers. The pencil roving used in this project came from the same batch I used to complete the lower layer of this Bentwood chair project.
This really is a very useful and versatile product which can be used for a variety of neat projects.
Pencil Roving 'Dreads' Chemo Hat
You feedback is welcomed and invited!
How likely is it that you will ever attempt this project?
© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen