I often get questions about felting in the comment section of my YouTube channel. Yesterday, one came up that I thought deserved a longer answer. Since it’s a frequently asked question, it made sense to me to write a blog post on the topic.
Here’s what Kathleen McKinney wanted to know: “How do you know if you’ve felted and fulled enough? How do you know when an item is finished?”
As it’s often the case in wet felting, I have to start by saying that it depends on what you’re making.
The general answer would be “do the pinch test”. If you pinch the surface of your felt and the fibers don’t lift any more, that means your felt is ready (see video).
But there’s more to it than that, so let’s go into more details for different items:
A couple of weeks ago I got a sweet email from Jet van Grinsven, a felter from the Netherlands, thanking me for the inspiring blog and info, as well as asking me a question.
Jet is building a new home and wants to create a wall hanging, but isn’t sure if she should be using a stronger background as a base for the felted structure. Jet had been advised to use cheese cloth, but wasn’t certain if that was the best option. So, she wanted to know if I could give her some tips on that.
If making a felted wall hanging is something you’re thinking about, maybe you can take advantage of the tips I gave Jet, so here they are.
“You don't necessarily need to use a background as a base for your wall covering. It will depend a lot on what you're planning to felt.
I'd say the first thing to think about is how thick you'll make the piece. For example, here is a photo of a wall decoration I made some time ago. It's very light, so it doesn't need any...
Today I’m here with the Q&A Sessions, something I haven’t done for quite some time.
This is where I go through all sorts of questions you have about wet felting.
So, if you have something on your mind that you haven’t been able to solve yet, drop me a line and tell me all about it.
For that, just scroll down to the end of any page on this site. Then click on “Contact” and let me know what’s troubling you. Your question might be selected for the next Q&A video!
Ok, so today I have a question from Audrey, who writes:
“I’ve a question for you and it’s about rolling and nuno felting. Is it really necessary to roll while fulling?
I really like the contact with my piece and am quite happy to spend more time massaging away, particularly when I do not have wool covering all the fabric.
I can understand rolling being preferable for a more layered piece, or larger piece to give a more even result.
Would love to...
You plan the piece you want to make.
You draw and cut the resist.
You lay your wool.
Everything is going great, but when you start fulling, your felt just seems to be stuck. Somehow the wool just doesn’t seem to become compact. In fact, nothing seems to happen.
You’ve been felting for hours and you feel tired. What started out as fun is now getting on your nerves. So, you decide to stop.
But then you ask yourself:
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY PROJECT IF I STOP NOW?
IS MY PIECE RUINED?
SHOULD I JUST LEAVE IT ON THE TABLE LIKE THIS? (I ACTUALLY NEED THE TABLE!)
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT WENT WRONG!
Do you recognize the scenario? It’s happened to me dozens of times. The difference when it happens now is that I know exactly what to do.
So – because I suspect it’s happened to you too – I wanted to bring you a couple of tips today on what to do.
Let’s start with “what went wrong”
Well, felting is a physical but also a chemical process. That...
Here’s the third part of my answer to your question:
“What are resists and how do you use them?”
If you haven’t watched parts I and II, go and check them out. You can find the links below.
SO WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING A RESIST?
You probably already know that wool can actually shrink a lot when wet felted, right?
Like even 30 or 40%, depending on the wool type and how thick your layers are or how you lay the fibers.
So, when designing a resist, you have to plan for this shrinkage.
If you’re making a bag or any other object where the size doesn’t have to be very precise, you can make your resist and start felting.
But if you want to make a hat or a pair of shoes, then you want to get the RIGHT size, right?
In that case, start by making a sample with the wool you’ll be working with and lay it in the way and with the thickness you’re planning for your piece.
From this sample you can see how much the wool shrinks, so...
Today I’m here with the second part of my answer to your question:
“What are resists and how do you use them?”
If you haven’t watched part I, go and check it out. You can find the link below.
SO WHAT MATERIALS CAN WE USE FOR A RESIST?
One of the most important things when using a resist is the CHOICE OF MATERIALS.
It has to be something that doesn’t felt onto wool, otherwise it’ll remain stuck between the layers, instead of doing its job, which is to SEPARATE them.
It should also be flexible enough to work with.
The 3 main materials used are cardboard, thin plastic and floor underlayment.
CARDBOARD is not something I use, because we work with water, so you can only use it once. It’s also not very malleable, so it’s a bit hard to work with.
THIN PLASTIC is something I use sometimes. It’s malleable but it’s hard to feel through a thick piece of felt. So, I only use it when I’m felting thin pieces.
Today I’m answering another one of your questions.
Now, I’ve done a couple of videos about resists, but I keep getting questions about them. Because this is such a big and important topic, I keep answering them.
Speaking of which, here’s the question for today:
“What are resists and how do you use them?”
Now, this question is very likely from someone who’s starting with wet felting and wanting to improve the technique. And this is in fact, one of the most important things to understand.
As I’ve mentioned before, I do have a couple of videos about resists, but I don’t think I explain what they are in any of them.
So, that’s what I’m going to do today.
SO, WHAT IS A RESIST?
By definition, a RESIST is anything you use between two pieces of wool to avoid that they felt with each other.
A resist is only used DURING the felting process and it’s removed after the process is complete. Or rather, before you start fulling....
As you might know, I’ve been asking you to send me the biggest questions you have on wet felting. I’ve received a bunch of them and I’ll be working on the different topics in the next weeks.
Some of them are great for the free videos and I got suggestions for new courses as well. So, thank you again!
I’m going to start with the ones that are common problems to a lot of people. Today I have a great topic.
I don’t know who it’s from because it came from an anonymous survey. But it’s definitely a common one. And the question is
“How important is the thickness of the fiber layers when making something like mitts? Is it better to do thin or thick pieces?”
No matter if we’re talking about mitts, clothes, hats or bags, my answer to this question would ALWAYS be the same.
FIRST – YOU decide on how thick you want your piece to be.
This will depend on
a) the type of climate you’re making it for
b) how stiff or soft do...
Welcome to the second episode of the Q&A sessions.
Today I have an important question about the basics of wet felting. MorningCoffee left this comment on my YouTube video “Felting sheets with wool batting”. Even though I’ve already given her a short answer, I’d like to say something more about it, since it’s a very frequent question. So, MorningCoffee says:
“I have a question. I don’t know if it was covered already, so sorry if it has. But is wool batt the same as “pre-felt” sheets?”
And the answer is NO. The confusion might come from the fact that they look similar, but they’re actually very different products.
I’ve already spoken a bit about wool batts and pre-felts in a couple of my blog posts and I’ll include the links to those below. But I’ve never addressed this directly.
Now, I avoid using a lot of technical terms in my videos because I don’t want to overwhelm you. Especially if...
Welcome to the first episode of my new Q&A series.
If you still have trouble finding the right way to make a resist for a 3D wet felted object, this episode is for you.
Today’s question is from Kathryn, from Walla Walla, in Washington state.
And Kathryn writes:
“I am trying to make a wet felted case for my son’s new MacBook Pro computer. I viewed your template making video for the clutch bag – thinking I could use that for my effort.
I made the template and started to lay out the wool and realized that I didn’t know why I needed the top resist.
You have a resist that has a top and bottom, when I thought I only needed the bottom to cover with wool, so that I could make the pocket.
If I don’t intend the top to have a pocket, why do I need the top part of the template?
I ended up cutting the template in half and placing the top part under the bubble wrap to serve as a guide, as I wanted the top to cover the bottom of the bag as I see...