Make your own felt to become a wall hanging, coasters or even place mats!
Felt is the oldest textile known to man. It is made without sewing or weaving and is a non-constructed fabric. The story goes:
A man was walking across a desert in the dim and distant past and as his footwear was rubbing he grabbed a handful of wool from the flock he was walking with and placed it into his sandals for comfort. The constant friction from walking, together with the combination of the moist and warm atmosphere and his sweaty feet, slowly turned the wool into a piece of felt.
Felt has been used for many cultural reasons throughout the centuries and is very prevalent in Central Asia, where it used for everything from carpets to hats. It also produces items as diverse as shoes, tents, carpet, fine clothing, art objects, hats and jewellery. It is such a versatile craft that it lends itself to many different treatments and new uses for it are being discovered by a new generation of artists and craftsmen.
Making felt may be an ancient craft skill, but it's incredibly easy to do at home...
What You Need :
- Wool (Include some of different colours to make patterns)
- Bamboo Mat
- Hot Water (in a kettly - for easy pour - but not at boiling temperature! It must be luke warm)
- Plastic sheet/ Cling Film
Where Can I Get Organic Felt?
Offset Warehouse sell naturally dyed, coloured, organic wool and white, organic wool, that is not only great for felting, but also as material for toys, pillows or in other art and craft projects.
How To Felt Yourself:
- You will need a flat surface to work on, that you don't mind getting wet (e.g. outside, floor, counter-top or large table). Cover the flat surface with a piece of plastic - you need enough to roll the mat out flat and to be able to fold it back over the rolled bamboo mat.
- Pull the clean wool out into short sections.
- Place these wool pieces evenly across the plastic. Lay them all in one direction, (vertically) overlapping each piece slightly, until you have a square about 35cm long. Repeat horizontally.
- Repeat the layers of wool again. Make sure each layer alternates in direction, vertically/horizontally.
- The top layer can be decorative, using different coloured wools.
- Now, carefully add hot water all over the wool layers - careful not to burn yourself.
- Roll the matt up.
- Fold the remaining length of plastic back over the wool roll (to stop all the water going everywhere as you roll).
- Roll the mat back and forth, working your hands evenly across the mat. A good place to do this is in the bath tub, so you get a smooth and quick back and forth motion going.
- Keep the mat rolling in the hot water for x-about 3 - 4 minutes. It is friction that causes the wool to felt.
- Remove the mat from the bathtub and place it on a towel. Carefully unroll the mat, and turn the felt 90 degrees. The felt is quite fragile at this point, so be gentle.
- If the water has cooled or almost gone, add more hot water. Re-roll the mat (and put it back into the bathtub if you like) for about 3 - 4 minutes.
- Turn the felt another 3 times, and re-roll for about 5 minutes between each turn.
- Test the felt by rubbing it with your finger. The fibres shouldn't move and the felt should be quite thick. If it is still soft, turn it again and keep rolling it in the hot water.
- Remove the felt from the mat and rinse in cool water.
- Roll the felt in a towel, place it on the floor and stomp on it, to remove the excess water. Lay flat to dry.
Have fun making the felt pieces and forward your creations on to us, we would love to see your decorative designs.
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