The circular layout: why and how to use it

Sep 03, 2023

Are you having issues getting your wet felted bowl to have a perfectly round shape? Or maybe you’ve felted a flat round piece, but, after fulling, it doesn’t look like a circle anymore? Your layout may be the cause of this distortion.

Wet felting doesn’t have many rules, so it allows for different ways to get to the desired results.

But it does have a few. And understanding these is fundamental to get to the shapes you want:

  • The direction of the fibers determines the way felt shrinks, and so its final shape.
  • The direction of the fibers determines in which directions it stretches.


If you’re laying out fiber for a circular object – like a bowl, for example – you’d probably want the shrinkage to be the same in every direction, right? You’d also want it to stretch equally in all directions.

So, laying it out in the classic way wouldn’t give your felt these qualities. Instead – because it would produce a felt that shrinks in the direction of the fibers – you’d get a square(ish) piece. It would also stretch more in the opposite direction to the fiber layout.

So, if you’re laying out wool for a circular shape, how about doing it like this instead?

In this case, it’ll shrink equally in all directions, and it’ll have the same degree of elasticity in all directions as well. And this will make it a lot easier for you to get your perfectly round shape. As you felt and full, the wool will “assume this shape” automatically, so you won’t have to fight it to get there.

And this is true whether you’re working with tops or with batts. But, of course, you’ll have to tear the batts into strips for this type of layout.

Check out the video above for more detail.

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