There are thousands of ways you can decorate a wet felted project. Some just involve wool, others can include silk or other fabrics, as you know. This is then called Nuno felting. But today I bring you a sample that contains wool, silk and something else.
I wanted to show you an example of how you can use a transparent piece of silk to hold any type of synthetic material, that wouldn’t otherwise attach to wool. In this case, I’ll be using a pre-felt and a piece of white silk chiffon with the same size as the pre-felt. Alternatively, you can lay merino wool tops or batts, and use light gauze instead of silk.
TIP # 1 – USE LIGHT GAUZE INSTEAD OF SILK TO MAKE YOUR EXPERIMENTS CHEAPER
I’m also using circles of a synthetic golden fabric (that doesn’t attach to wool), but you can choose countless other materials like small beads or sequins, for example.
If you’re making a sample, please remember to measure the size of the wool now and after shrinkage.
TIP # 2 – ALWAYS MEASURE YOUR SAMPLE BEFORE AND AFTER FELTING
My sample measures 38 cm x 28 cm.
I’ll start by getting the wool wet, so that the silk attaches to the wool straight away. I’m working with cold water, because hot water makes wool felt quicker. And we don’t want that to happen before the wool fibers attach to the silk.
TIP # 3 – USE COLD WATER WHEN NUNO FELTING
Be careful when laying the silk on the wool because you have to adjust it. If you think that it might be too difficult for you, place the silk on the wool first, and add the water in the end. Use a net to avoid that the materials move around.
TIP # 4 – USE A NET TO AVOID MATERIALS FROM SLIDING
Apply the soap very lightly, either directly or by putting soap on your hands first.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not working with bubble wrap here. And there’s a very good reason for that. I’m working with pre-felt, which is very thin and delicate. If you use bubble wrap with this material combination, the edges of the pre-felt won’t be nice and straight. They’ll become irregular, because they conform to the shape of the bubbles.
TIP # 5 – DON’T USE BUBBLE WRAP WHEN WORKING WITH DELICATE MATERIALS
Just apply enough soap, so that you can see some foam. And remember not to soak the wool. In this case you don’t have to worry too much about having the net stick to the wool, because it’s covered by the thin silk.
A note on the materials you put in between the wool and the silk. Don’t use objects that are heavy and avoid having them too close to each other. There should be silk between them, so that they attach nicely to the wool. Also, remember to massage the silk around the objects.
When you’ve rubbed all the area with the net, you can rub lightly for a while, just with your hands. This way you ensure the silk won’t slide out of place when you start rolling. The cue you should be watching for are the little fibers of wool coming over to the silk surface. You’ll also start feeling that the silk is attaching, because it feels firmer. Make sure the whole surface looks ok.
And now you can flip it and shortly massage on the other side as well. It looks really good. The fibers are sticking and now it’s safe to move the sample around.
So, I’ll start fulling. It’s better to use a piece of synthetic fabric like this to protect the fibers. Because it’s synthetic, it doesn’t attach to the wool.
TIP # 6 – USE SYNTHETIC FABRIC TO PROTECT THE FIBERS FROM THE BAMBOO MAT
I’ll fold it to cover the sample from both sides. Now I need more water and more soap. Water and soap make everything glide nicely. I’m using a small bamboo mat for rolling. Use something hard for the core: that can be a pool noodle or a rolling pin, for example. Make sure you roll tightly to avoid wrinkles in the wool.
TIP # 7 – ALWAYS ROLL TIGHTLY TO AVOID WRINKLES FORMING IN THE WOOL
And start rolling.
Repeat from the other side.
Then turn it over. Stretch the wool properly to avoid wrinkles.
Make sure you roll from all four sides.
Then repeat from the sides. In this case, I’ll have to fold it to make it fit the bamboo mat, but that’s not a problem. I’ll just have to pay attention, so that I don’t get a big wrinkle in the middle.
TIP # 8 – IF THE PIECE DOESN’T FIT THE MAT, YOU CAN FOLD IT
Repeat from the other side. Open the package and flatten the felt.
TIP # 9 – REMEMBER TO FLATTEN THE FELT NOW AND AGAIN
Fold again and turn it around. Again, make sure you roll from all four sides.
Let’s see. It looks pretty good. The silk has attached well. But I still find it too big. I’ll try kneading a bit to get a quicker shrinkage. It’s not risky anymore because the fibers are well attached.
TIP # 10 – KNEADING MAKES FELT SHRINK QUICKER
Now I have to get rid of some of this soap. It’s just too much.
Ok, now I’ll stretch it out to see what it looks like and check the shrinkage. I’m not happy about the edges. They are still too curly.
This is now 32 cm. it was 38 cm, remember? And this is 24 cm. it was 28 cm. If you’re aiming for a shrinkage of 30%, it’ll have to shrink a bit more: to 26,6 cm x 19,6 cm. So, I’ll work on it further. Apply water and soap again. And I’ll rub further to have more control of the process. It’ll also give me the chance to concentrate on the edges. In fact, this is where I’ll start.
TIP # 11 – RUBBING IS THE BEST WAY TO GET NICE EDGES
Watch how I’m rubbing diagonally here to make the corner shorter.
TIP # 12 – RUB DIAGONALLY TO SHORTEN THE CORNERS
I don’t want to bore you with more repetitions. I just went on rubbing on the places I wanted to shorten. And I ended up with exactly 26,6 cm x 19,6 cm. The 30% shrinkage rate I wanted!
P.S.: Since the new site is taking longer than initially expected, I’ve reactivated the tutorials selling in my Etsy shop. I had some of you asking how they could buy the tutorials, so I decided this would be the best solution for the time being.
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