I’m not the kind of person that buys all types of equipment when I start a hobby. Even though I’ve been felting for 15 years, there’s still so much I haven’t bought, and I probably never will. And much of the equipment I have invested in, have been purchases I’ve made in the last 3 or 4 years.
I know it’s easy to get excited about all the products for felting offered online, but you really don’t need much to wet felt. When I started, I really only had the basics. First, I didn’t want to spend money on something I wasn’t sure I’d be doing for a long time. And also, because I think the magic of felting is exactly the fact that – unlike in so many other textile techniques – you nearly only need your bare hands and wool to create an object.
But, since it was quickly clear to me that I’d go on felting for a very long time, I’ve slowly started getting equipment that makes my life easier, makes me work faster and with less physical effort, and gives my pieces more precision and quality. Of course, these make sense according to the type of items you felt. If you’re not into felting hats, there’s no sense in buying a hat form.
So, for the type of work I do, here are the 7 pieces I recommend:
THE POOL NOODLE – This was one of my first buys. It’s cheap, easy to find and it’s durable. It’s easy to care for and you can cut it in exactly the length you want.
I bought it when I started Nuno felting. Because this type of felt is so thin and delicate, if you’re going to use the rolling method to full (which you should, if you want to save time), there should be a core in your roll. This prevents your roll from being to tight, which would damage the piece.
THE FELTING NEEDLE HOLDER – Because I was always more into wet felting than needle felting, I used to think I didn’t need needle holders. But I soon discovered that felting needles can be extremely useful in wet felting. If you have to add wool to a piece because you found out that you laid your material to thin and you now have a hole, there’s nothing like needle felting some extra wool to save the piece. And if it’s a big hole and you’re working with only one needle you might lose your patience after a while 😊. So, a needle holder can really save the day! And, this too, is a relatively cheap piece of equipment.
THE BALL BRAUSE / WATER SPRINKLER – This does cost a bit more and you can only get one in stores that are specialized in felting. It took me some time to decide to buy one. I tried every possible suggestion: those spray bottles, flower watering cans, plastic bottles with holes on the lid or even glass jars (also with holes on the lid).
All of these, sort of work. But you try a ball brause and tell me that you don’t notice the difference. It’s so much easier to control the amount of water you get on your wool. And another huge advantage is that, if you’re working with very hot water, you won’t burn your fingers, since the ball brause is made of rubber. So, definitely worth it!
THE WASHBOARD – I bought one of these because I just happened to run into a plastic version, which cost me close to nothing. It probably wouldn’t have crossed my mind to buy one otherwise. But it ended up being a great investment. When I’m making thicker pieces, that take a lot of energy to full, the washboard is a huge help.
There are a lot of different versions and the price depends on the material they’re made of. Some are made of wood, some of plastic and you can even find metal versions. I’m very happy with my plastic one.
THE SHOE LASTS – Let me start by saying that I made slippers for years before I ever bought shoe forms. I now own one pair, the one corresponding to my foot size 😊. I decided to buy one when I started teaching workshops about felt shoes/slippers. It obviously helps you get the exact size and shape for both feet, which is very helpful.
They can also be made of different materials. Mine are Styrofoam. It might make sense to buy more resistant ones if you plan to concentrate on felting slippers. But those will also be a bit more expensive.
THE HAT FORMS / HAT BLOCKS – Now, I love hats. I think it’s a pity that we don’t wear hats anymore. I have a huge collection of hat images and old millinery books in my PC, that I go through now and again, just because I like looking at them.
That’s why hats were among my first attempts in wet felting. But I made them for a long time without buying a form to shape them. I got my first one 3 years ago, because I wanted to experiment more with millinery. You can get them in every price range, but Wollknoll sells them for a reasonable price and they’re very good quality. In fact, that’s where I got mine (here too, I only bought my size 😉).
SMALL WOODEN FELTING TOOLS – This was my last acquisition. I got it last year, just because I was curious. But it’s been a great investment. I’m using it a lot to help me shape my hats. I have health problems that give me pain in my hands, which is no fun when you’re doing hard work like shaping a hat. So, my wooden tool (the one in the picture) helps me get my hats shaped quicker, better and with a lot less effort.
I also got this one from Wollknoll. It’s very good quality and I find it affordable.
I hope this can help guide you when you’re shopping for felting equipment. If there’s something you’re planning to by and you’d like to know what I think of it, just send me an email with your questions. Or, if you’ve had a good experience with something I haven’t mentioned here, please leave a comment. It’s great to learn from other people’s experiences.
Now, there’s something else I’d like to talk to you about today. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m working on a new site that’ll allow me to host longer courses and give me more freedom to do things my way. I’m very grateful for a platform like Etsy, that has allowed me to start creating workshops for you, but it’s time I make things better.
I’m sharing this with you now because, after I close my Etsy shop, these short workshops will no longer be available, since I’m planning to create longer and more complete courses on my website. This’ll also mean the prices will necessarily be higher. So, if you’re interested in the workshops I offer on Etsy, this is the time to grab them, since the shop will CLOSE FOR GOOD AT THE END OF MAY.
Talk to you soon! Stay safe!
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