Wet-Felting 101, Re-Visited

My very first fiber art project ~~ with anything WOOL-y ~~ was making FELT. That was about 15-years ago. I owned a small flock of Shetland sheep and had a lot of wool fleece. I knew that with little, if any, additional investment, I could produce FELT! I signed-up for a wet-felting workshop at a local fiber festival… and the rest is history! I ♥ wet-felting!!

I’ve provided numerous wet-felting How-To’s, so this will be a quickie refresher.  Think of it as ME dangling a carrot! Perhaps it will provide you with a little  incentive to express your creativity with wet-felting… good, clean, FUN!

Most of my ‘smaller’ felt-making projects occur in the kitchen (larger projects in the bath tub or outdoors during summer months).

WARNING: Beware of cats who love wool!!!!

Begin with arranging/building thin layers of wool – alternating direction with each subsequent layer. First layer with the fibers aligned north and south; next layer east and west, third layer north and south…and so on… until you arrive at the desired thickness. Take your time. Thin spots will result in ‘holes’ in your felt.

You may add natural & colored wool, wool fleece staples, yarn, sparkles… and so on… for texture and interest ~ to make your wool felt masterpiece one-of-a-kind! BTW, this is felting in the flat. To make fabric. There’s also resist/seamless felting to make 3-D bowls/vessels etc.

Today, I’m making Spring-tyme poppies.

Once you’re satisfied with your design, mix a pitcher of hot water with a squirt of Dawn dish soap and gently wet your project. HINT: Beginners will often enclose their piece in a cotton or mesh envelope to keep it ‘together’ until it begins to felt. With the heel/palm of your hands, gently work the fiber as if you’re kneading dough.

Then, a bit more aggressively with a bamboo or matchstick mat. HINT: Bubble wrap works well too.

Check the progress of your felting with the pinch test. If the layers separate, keep working, agitating, replacing hot water. Add a little more friction to aid in ‘fulling’.

Rinse and towel blot dry. Shape/block lightly and allow to air dry! Or, toss in the dryer for added effect.

Viola! Felt (that’s felted soap in the right bottom corner).

The beauty of felt… no two pieces are exactly alike!

You know I had to make a sheep somewhere…

After several layers of natural fleece, I added my colored fleece ~ free style ~ on the top layer.

Fast forward… fulled sheep!

Happy fiber’n!

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6 thoughts on “Wet-Felting 101, Re-Visited

  1. The dangling carrot worked, I’m going to give it a try. Have been trying to think of ways to make a bunch of squares into a window covering that could be rolled up. Have you ever tried such a thing?

    And have you figured out what to do with all the shorter miscellaneous bits with some vegetable matter? The really bad stuff goes in the garden for mulch, but some isn’t so bad but not good enough to spin…

    Thanks for the blog!
    Rebecca
    Wild Wooly Farm
    Williams, Oregon

    • Hi Rebecca & welcome! I use every bit of fiber too. My skirted crap goes in the compost, and I use every bit of fleece – coarse to fine – all serves a useful purpose. Felt-making is a good way to use up fleece! Have you tried NUNO felting? That may be an alternative for creating sheer-type curtains??

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