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How To Use An Electric Sander To Wet Felt A 3D Flower
Take The Necessary Safety Precautions!
Please stay safe and always ensure that you use a 'Ground Fault Adapter' whenever you use any electrical appliance near water. I wear rubber soled shoes as an additional precaution!
The sander I use one which is the palm type which does not have any spinning or rotating parts to it. It also has no dust bag. No sandpaper is used at all during the whole felt making process. I insert the sander into a strong plastic bag and always keep the bag open at the top as I work. This is to prevent it from overheating! I make sure not to cover the air vents. I never allow it to run for long periods at a time! I insert the sander into a strong plastic bag to prevent any water from entering the workings of the appliance. I make sure to cover the project completely, first with bubble wrap and then an additional layer of heavy plastic sheeting, I soak up any excess water, before and during the whole process of the felt making process. I use only sufficient water to wet the fibers and no more! Working with too much water is unnecessary and will sometimes displace the carefully laid out design.
Always make sure to work with a barrier of plastic between the sander and the Project. Use Bubble wrap and a thicker sheet of plastic to cover it. Kitchen wrap can be very useful to keep the 3D layers separate but it is not strong enough to be used on its own!
Using your Sander for Felting
Switch on the sander. Place it down gently on the covering of plastic. Press and lift the sander. Don’t press it down hard and glide it over the plastic, just as if it were a piece of wood! Press down and lift it up. Doing it this way, will ensure that your carefully placed fibers are not displaced! Once you have gone over the whole flower once, turn it over and repeat the process again. The thicker sections of fiber may need a little more attention - such as the area in the middle of the flower. When you have gone over each side once, you can now begin sanding you were 'sanding wood'. You will now be able to glide over the plastic. This should not you no more than ten to fifteen minutes in total. Large projects may take a little longer!
Before removing the plastic, check for stability in the middle area of the flower. If you are completely satisfied that it has fused together, you can remove the bubble wrap and the kitchen wrap from the petals.
Ryobi Operated Sanders
A Ryobi Corner Cat sander which can be battery operated can be substituted for an electric sander! This sander uses a 18v battery. It can be purchased separately if you don't already use Ryobi tools which use the same battery. If you don’t already have one, you will need their additional charger. This may well be the safest way to approach felting. I cannot vouch for the result as I have not used one myself. It would certainly avoid any unnecessary ‘shock hazards’ whilst using electricity.
The 1st Layer of Sepals
Cut a Hole in the 1st Layer of Plastic
How to Wet Felt a Large 3D Flower Using an Electric Sander
- Onto a waterproof surface, lay down a mat or towel
- Lay down one piece of kitchen wrap onto the mat or towel
- Lay down down five green sepals onto the kitchen wrap
- Add a little color for contrast
- Cut a small hole into a center of the kitchen wrap and cover the sepals with the hole centered directly over the center of the sepals.
- Lay down as many petals as you like. Use one or two contrasting colors for effect. Allow as much wool as you would like to have in your finished flower.
- Pace another layer of plastic down with a hole cut in the middle and repeat this process once more.
- You may wish to repeat this process - as many times as you like. Remember that the more layers you add, the more sanding you will have to do!
- Cover with a piece of curtain netting
- Pour hot soapy water down into the center of the flower
- Press the water down and outwards until all the fibers below are saturated with water but not sodden
- Dab any excess water with a towel and remove the net curtaining
- Cover with a piece of bubble wrap and a thicker piece of plastic sheeting
- Use the sander as described above to 'sand' the flower
- Remove the plastic layers once the central core of the flower has been felted properly
- Place the Project in a bowl and pour boiling water over it
- Leave to stand for a few minutes
- Shock with cold water
- Repeat this once more and rinse until the water runs clear of soap
- Throw onto the counter top or table to 'full'
- Squeeze water out of the flower with a towel
- Arrange the petals and put a few stitches through the sepal area to keep the petals firmly in place.
- Leave to dry
What Does Fulling Mean?
Fulling or to 'full' is the process by which felt is made. It is the shrinking, cleansing and thickening of cloth by means of hot soapy water (heat) with applied pressure.
How ToWet Felt A Large 3D Flower Using an Electric Sander
Felting with an Electric Sander
Have you, or would you, use an Electric Sander for Felting?
© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen