Q&A: Prefelts

May 05, 2024

As you may know, I’ve been working on a blog series about prefelts. I’ve started by going into what prefelts are, as well as explaining the differences between commercial and handmade prefelts.

The next post in the series dealt with what you need to pay attention to when making prefelts to use in other projects.

And I’ll finish this collection next week by going deeper into how you can use prefelts, what type of projects you can use them for, as well as the best felting techniques for making them.

But, before that, I wanted to answer the questions that I received from you about this topic. So, today we’ll have a format that’s a bit different from what I usually do: a simple Q&A.


Q: I am very curious about prefelts - especially as a new wet felter. When is something prefelt? Or what is the prefelt stage?  I’d like to create some prefelt in order to place onto my work and felt everything together. How do I do that?

A: A prefelt is any stage between the moment (in the felting process) when the fibers start holding on to each other and the moment when they’re completely felted. This means the prefelt can be more or less compact/stable.

If you want to create prefelts to use as surface decoration, make them thin, don’t felt them for too long, and let them dry. I recommend ironing them. Next, cut them in the shapes you want and lay them directly on your base wool layout. Felt everything together.

Just give it a try! It’s easier than it sounds.


Q: Do you have any advice on how to deal with one color fiber bleeding into another? I made a Christmas stocking and the red bled into the white top.

A: I’m presuming you don’t mean the color is bleeding because of the dye, and that the issue is that the little fibers went beyond the edge of your prefelt and migrated into the nearby base felt.

There’s always a percentage of fiber that will migrate. It’s just the nature of felt. Nevertheless, there are ways to reduce this. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Coarser fiber will “bleed” more into the background than finer fiber because it’s more “aggressive”. Try using finer fiber for this type of project.
  • If there’s a big contrast between the colors, it’ll be more noticeable. In your case, the fact that your background color was white may have contributed for that.
  • If the prefelt is very soft when you place it on the background, it’ll also tend to “bleed” more, since it releases more fiber. There’s a sweet spot where the prefelt is firm enough to be more stable, but still attaches well to the background. You’ll have to make samples to get the feeling for this.
  • Avoid aggressive felting methods. Rolling is among the less aggressive ones and it works well for prefelts.

Have a look at the image below. This piece was made with extra-fine merino and felted softly. But you can still see fiber migration, especially on the white.

Q: If you want to make very defined edges, butting up against each other, do you actually cut the prefelt?  What about the raw edges?  Or how do you get a straight solid edge?

Yes, you do cut the prefelt in any shape you want. And place the pieces against each other, just like a jigsaw puzzle. The important thing is that you felt it gently, so that it holds in place and maintains the shape/design.

This is exactly what I’ve done in the piece below.

Q: How do I solve the problem if my prefelt doesn’t stick properly to the base?

There are two ways to solve this.

  1. If you haven’t completed the felting process, the best way (especially if the area that isn’t attaching is big) is to attach it with a couple of stitches. With the prefelt in place, you can then finish the felting process. I’d recommend gentle rolling for this (along with lots of patience).
  2. Needle felt it. This is a good solution even if the felting process is almost finished. After that, wet felt again by rubbing the needle felted area.


Q: Can you use a sander to make prefelt?

Yes, you can. I’d say rubbing, rolling, and sanding are all good methods to create prefelts. Remember that a prefelt is made in the exact same way as a felt. You just need to stop sometime in the middle of the process. That means that you use the same methods to create a prefelt as you would to create a felt.


Q: I’m wondering if I can layer two sheets of prefelt on top of each other and wet felt? Will they bind together? If yes, how many layers could you successfully layer and wet felt together?

Prefelts attach to each other as long as they aren’t very advanced yet. So, that means you can felt several sheets of prefelt together. How many will depend on how thick they are.

In the image below you can see a piece I made with thick prefelts. As you can see, despite being so thick, they attached to each other. It wasn’t easy, but they did.

I hope today’s Q&A was helpful, even if you weren’t among the people sending me the questions.

Be sure to pop in next week to read the rest I have for you about prefelts.

I’ll see you then!


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