- Arts and Design
Wet Felt Making Tutorials and Ideas
Wet Felt Making Tutorials and Ideas.
What with the recent flurry of felt making and the inevitable onset of chillier days we have put together a felt making tutorials, ideas and necessities list in case you are inspired to felt up a quick piece to keep yourself warm this winter.
Felting is an ancient process of matting together animal fibres, usually wool, using friction, temperature and moisture. These days most people use merino wool, which is really soft and felts very easily.
There are two types of felting, wet felting and needle felting. Wet felting is used to make flat sheets and hollow models, solid 3D models are made using the needle felting technique.
We will cover the wet felting method on this page.
Things you need for felt making
Below you will find a list of things you will need to get before starting your felt making adventures.
Felt Making Wool
Wool is the starting point, although you can felt with a lot of different fibres, wool is definitely the easiest and most widely used. You can use all sorts of wool, alpaca or cashmere to name but a few. One of the most popular at the moment is merino. Merino tops, as they’re known, are readily available and easy to felt. It gives you a good texture and felts really well. It’s also very soft and extremely warm; excellent if you’re planning on wearing your felted creation or the cat’s bed has finally fallen apart.
Soap is what makes it easy on your hands. After a heavy felting session your hands will be pretty dry and feeling a bit battered. To improve this situation we recommend simply using soap. It lubricates the whole thing letting it slide a bit and stops the wool from catching which will make your felt rougher. Don’t use too much though or you’ll have a soap-nami which is never a good idea! You have a couple of options; you can use old school soap flakes (yes you can still get them) or a soap bar, the best type being olive oil soap. It is natural and contains no artificial colours or perfumes and as an added bonus it doesn’t suck all the moisture out of your hands.
Wool carders look a bit like giant dog brushes though the dog wouldn’t be too pleased if you used them by mistake! They are essentially two large brushes used to brush the wool, opening out the space between the hairs and evening everything up. Carders can also be used to mix colours together to make your felt more individual. Carded wool can be used for felting or spinning. It is a tricky technique but there are lots of helpful videos online showing you how to do it properly.
There are several different ways of making felt and all of them have their benefits. The technique that we use is to use calico. Calico is cheap and readily available at all good haberdashers. The calico gives you a surface to rub the wool through without catching any of the fibres with fingernails.
It goes without saying that water is vital. Warm tap water is absolutely fine, cold water will work just as well but won’t be a nice for your hands!
“That’s all very well but where can I get this stuff?!” I hear you cry.
There are lots of different places on the Internet (we've included a few from Amazon above) and a number of good haberdashers you can go to to get a good feel of the equipment and stroke all the wool.
Here are a few places we like:
Wingham Wool Work
70 Main Street
the Handweavers Studio
140 Seven Sisters Road
Fiveways Arts and Crafts
261 Ditchling Road
Wet Felting Tutorials
To make felt you need to use warm water, unspun wool and friction. A bit of soap is always a good plan to make it a bit easier! There are several ways of doing it here is one technique:
* Lay out the dry wool to make your picture
* Place a piece of calico (bigger than the whole thing) over the wool
* Very carefully start pouring water onto the calico and start gently rubbing the surface
* Add a bit of soap to help the whole process along
* Keep rubbing until the fibres are well meshed together and it begins to feel more secure
* Peel the calico off and carefully rub the felt again to firm it up
* Give it a rinse and see the results!
Making Felted Fabric
Felt Making Shawl Video
A seriously impressive large scale felted shawl, not sure I like the final piece but the process is pretty cool!
This one is of wet felting a scarf by a man who appears to be wearing only speedos...
A video about how to make a flower which looks quite interesting, I’ll definitely be having a go!
Felt Making Books on Amazon
There are lots of places to learn both felt making techniques but if you want to learn from a book here is a list of useful felt making books that might help you in your quest for a new skill.
Wet felting and needle felting
* Felting - the Complete Guide Jane Davis
This book covers all the techniques and contains lots of exciting projects.
* Complete Feltmaking Gillian Harris
A good book covering all the techniques including 25 projects to have a go at from a polka-dot bag to slippers. Great for beginners and more advanced felters.