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How to Wet Felt over a Bentwood Chair/Seamless Upholstery

Updated on August 20, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker. Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is, unique, experimental and always interesting

Wet Felted Bentwood Chair

Creative Wet Felting
Creative Wet Felting | Source

Pencil Roving to Complete the First Layer

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
  • Bubble-wrap
  • 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 of using 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.

A Bentwood Chair

A Vintage Bentwood Chair
A Vintage Bentwood Chair | Source

A Selection of Bright and Colorful Wool Roving

Selection of wool roving in as many complementing colors as possible.
Selection of wool roving in as many complementing colors as possible. | Source

Pencil Roving

Pencil roving
Pencil roving | Source

Wrapping the Legs with the Pencil Roving

Wrap the legs of the chair with pencil roving.
Wrap the legs of the chair with pencil roving. | Source

Wrapping the Legs with a continuous length of Pencil Roving.

Wrapping the pencil roving around a dampened Bentwood chair
Wrapping the pencil roving around a dampened Bentwood chair | Source

Wet the Fibers with a Sponge

Wetting the fibers with a sponge.
Wetting the fibers with a sponge. | Source

Use Warm Soapy Water to Wet the Fibers

Use the sponge to saturate one leg at a time
Use the sponge to saturate one leg at a time | Source

Cover the Wet Fibers with Bubble-wrap or Curtain Netting

Cover the wet area with bubble-wrap and rub with wet fingers.
Cover the wet area with bubble-wrap and rub with wet fingers. | Source

Rub the Wet Surface of the Bubble-wrap until the Fibers Felt together

Rubbing the fibers with wet fingers.
Rubbing the fibers with wet fingers. | Source

The Felted Fibers

Wetting the fibers, covering and rubbing results in the effect shown here.
Wetting the fibers, covering and rubbing results in the effect shown here. | Source

Alternatively use Curtain Netting to Cover the Fibers

It is sometimes and advantage to see the fibers below.  Rub until the fibers below  until they begin to attach themselves to the netting.
It is sometimes and advantage to see the fibers below. Rub until the fibers below until they begin to attach themselves to the netting. | Source

Rub with a folded Piece of Bubble-wrap

Rub the wet fibers with a folded piece of bubble-wrap
Rub the wet fibers with a folded piece of bubble-wrap | Source

Cover the different areas of the Chair with Pencil Roving

Covering the different areas of the chair in an orderly manner.
Covering the different areas of the chair in an orderly manner. | Source

Making sure that even the crooks and crannies are the underside of the Chair are covered in Fiber.

Cover the work and make sure that the wood below cannot be seen.
Cover the work and make sure that the wood below cannot be seen. | Source

Spread a layer of Berol PVA Glue onto the flat seating area

Spread a thin layer of PVA Glue onto the surface of the circular seating area.
Spread a thin layer of PVA Glue onto the surface of the circular seating area. | Source

Continue winding the Wool over the glue covered surface of the seating area

Winding a long length of pencil roving around the seat area.
Winding a long length of pencil roving around the seat area. | Source

The seat area covered in Pencil Roving

The pencil roving makes it easy to make a circular patter around the seat area.  Take car to cover the surface so that the wood does not show through.
The pencil roving makes it easy to make a circular patter around the seat area. Take car to cover the surface so that the wood does not show through. | Source

Wet with soapy water, cover the seating area with curtain netting, rub with folded bubble-wrap.

Rubbing the wet fibers below the curtain netting with a piece of folded bubble-wrap.  Rub until the fibers no longer move.
Rubbing the wet fibers below the curtain netting with a piece of folded bubble-wrap. Rub until the fibers no longer move. | Source

The felted pencil roving

Felted roving on the seat area.
Felted roving on the seat area. | Source

Layer 1 completely covered with pencil roving

The chair has now been covered in Pencil Roving
The chair has now been covered in Pencil Roving | Source

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.

Cover the seat with a fine layer of contrasting loose fibers and then place the prefeled pieces on top.

Covering the seating area with a fine layer of contrasting merino wool fibers and then a layer of pre-felted cut pieces.
Covering the seating area with a fine layer of contrasting merino wool fibers and then a layer of pre-felted cut pieces. | Source

Note the fibers which have been placed below the pre-felted pieces and between them.

The fibers placed below and between the pre-felted are there to assist attachment of the pre-felted bits to the base of the chair.
The fibers placed below and between the pre-felted are there to assist attachment of the pre-felted bits to the base of the chair. | Source

Cover with curtain netting, wet and rub with a piece of bubble-wrap

Cover the fibers and wet with hot soapy water.  Rub well with fingers or sand with an electric sander.
Cover the fibers and wet with hot soapy water. Rub well with fingers or sand with an electric sander. | Source

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.

Rub with a square of folded Bubble-wrap

Wet the fibers and cover with curtain netting and rub with bubble-wrap
Wet the fibers and cover with curtain netting and rub with bubble-wrap | Source

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.

Fibers are beginning to attach themselves to the layer below

The fibers have begun to attach themselves to the layer below.
The fibers have begun to attach themselves to the layer below. | Source

Cover the rest of the Chair with Fibers of your choice.

The completed chair which has been covered in merino roving.
The completed chair which has been covered in merino roving. | Source

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.



You feedback is welcomed and invited!

How likely is it that you will ever attempt this project?

See results

Pencil Roving 'Dreads' Chemo Hat

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.


© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      Sulabha

      Thank you.

    • Sulabha profile image

      Sulabha Dhavalikar 6 months ago from Indore, India

      Ok. I'll do.

      I liked your Hub on 'Having born a twin...". I just read it.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      Sulabha

      I would start with small pictures or flat pieces of Felt, to start with, and then move onto bigger things. Learn how the wool behaves under your fingers first. Felting is not an exact science but I promise that you will have a lot of fun creating with this medium.

    • Sulabha profile image

      Sulabha Dhavalikar 6 months ago from Indore, India

      Ok. If you say I'll start with wall hangings.

      When I was young I liked doing art and craft things. Then other things became important. And now having a bi-focal lens, even putting a thread in a needle is difficult.

      But I will start now.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 6 months ago from Norfolk

      Sulabha

      One is never too old to learn how to doWet Felting. I promise you that it is really very easy. Start with a small piece of flat felt and when you understand how wool behaves when you rub the fibres with warm soapy water and friction you will realise what a wonderful medium it is to work with. The challenge is to create things which are 3D and have no seams. That is when it becomes felting really does become an Art form. Having said that, you can create wonderful wall hangings or pictures with a flat piece of Felt. I really do hope you give it a go. I appreciate the visit and you for stopping by to comment, thank you.

      Sally

    • Sulabha profile image

      Sulabha Dhavalikar 6 months ago from Indore, India

      Dear Sallybea,

      I wish I had met you when I was in my 30's. It's not possible for me to learn (though I have not given up.) Every time I pass on your link to my daughter and would-be daughter-in-law. They have a nimble touch.

      And so I hope to see your creative touch in my home some day.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Thank you Devika, it it always a pleasure to have you grace on of my pages.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi sallybea your work is entertaining and creative.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      ChitrangadaSharan

      The chair certainly makes a statement and I am delighted with the way it turned out. The beauty of doing something like this is that there is no pressure to finish it in one day. Also, one can use up bit and pieces of woolen fibers which were left over from other projects. Better still if you don't like the effect you can always cover it again with new fibers:)

      Your visit and comments are much appreciated, thank you.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Faith Reaper

      Glad you enjoyed my one of a kind piece of art. Your visit and comments are much appreciated as always. Thank you so much.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 8 months ago from New Delhi, India

      This looks so cool!

      Loved your project and your hub is very well presented and illustrated.

      Love the colour combination as well.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 8 months ago from southern USA

      This is gorgeous and so creative, Sally! It is a one-of-a-kind art piece. You've changed a boring chair into a masterpiece. Your instructions and photo are alwys easy to follow and beautiful in seeing the process step-by-step.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Larry Rankin

      It was a project I very much enjoying working on. Your appreciation of it is a reward in itself, thank you so much.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 8 months ago from Oklahoma

      Another wonderful art project.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Hi Devika,

      Glad you enjoyed this one. This idea has taken a while to develop but now that it is done, I do love the end result. It has a uniqueness which certainly adds interest to the home. I appreciate you taking the time to comment, thank you so much.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      FlourishAnyway

      You are too kind. As for a creative gift! I think we all have a gift of some kind or another. All they need is time and encouragement to allow them to develop:)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi sallybea! Awesome idea! You started a new project and shared your wonderful ideas on HP always encouraging and interesting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      You truly have a creative gift. This makes me wonder what your home must be decorated like. Well done.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Thank you so much, Billy. You really do have a big heart and I am so grateful for your continued support.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I enjoy any and all creativity, and that's how I feel about your felt projects. I'll never do them....I'll never be able to do them...but I do enjoy reading about the process and seeing the finished product. Well done, Sally!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Venkatachari M

      Thank you very much. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 8 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very useful and informative article.

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