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Felting Techniques – Quick and Dirty overview

If you haven’t noticed already noticed, lets write it here: we at the Meaningful Crafts are completely crazy about wool and felting!  So crazy that we have about 220 different colours of wool in addition to  offering 16 different undyed wool types. And this does not even include our prefelts, felts, carder wool and so on…. If felting is something that interest you, fantastic since are in a right place!

Here our aim is to provide a quick overview of the different felting techniques. Keep following our inspiration page and instagram for more, we aim to dive deeper into each technique and introduce artist and other inspiring people in this fascinating field as the time goes by!

A bit of the history of felt…

According to Wikipedia felt from wool is considered to be the oldest known textile!  Many cultures have legends about felt making. For example the Sumerian legend claims that the secret of felt making was discovered by a Sumerian war hero. Another story tells the story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher. According to the story the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters while fleeing from persecution. The movement and sweat together turned the wool into felt socks. This story would date somewhere between the years 250-350. True or not, there is reason to believe that the art of felt making is an old art.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felt

Wet felting – an art form

What is needed:

  • High quality wool
  • water
  • soap
  • bubble wrap
  • mat, towel, tray etc

Wet felting is an art that is loved by people of all ages. To put simply wet felting is a process where you take wool, some water and soap in order to create different felted items.

As the name suggest, wet felting can be very wet thus the first thing you need is a surface that can hold some liquid such as bucket, tray, towel etc.

Wet felting is an art form and there are different ways of doing it. To put it simply to make a felted square you lay on a bubble wrap layers of quality wool so that the fibres align to the same direction. You take some more wool and apply it on top the first layer, so that the fibers align to opposite direction. Once you are happy with the thickness you can spray hot soapy water on the wool and if you want place a net or gaze on top of it to hold your patterns into place.

Now the felting fun can start and you shall rub the wool through the net or freely by hand, encouraging the fibers to start to lock together. Once after some 5-10 minutes  once you are happy  and see that the fibers are tangling you can carefully begin to roll the project up around the rolling item you are using such as bubbly wrap, making a nice rolling item of it. Then you can start rolling.

Remember that wool will shrink about 40 % thus take this account when starting to felt!

Sounds complicated? No worries, there are many Youtube videos describing the process. You can also keep eye on our inspiration page where we will be adding more and more material as the time goes by!

Dry felting – 3D Sculpture made easy and fun

What is needed:

  • Wool roving or carder wool
  • Felting needle
  • Felting mat or felting block

Since this is a quick and dirty overview, if you want to describe the dry felting along the title, it would be to describe the needle felting as forming objects by punching wool with the felting needle containing small barbs. As you punch, the felting needle barbs ensure that the fibers lock together forming the sculptured woolen masterpiece you want to make.

As with the wet felting there are so many different techniques and tips to give for this. Watch our inspiration blog and Instagram for more inspiration and advice!

You can also find a video describing the dry felting process:

For Nuno and Upwolfing techniques there will be a separate article soon

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