Has your wet felting been less than satisfactory? Or maybe you haven’t tried it yet and want to make it right the first time. The following tips will help you master wet felting wool.
First, you need to select the right wool for felting. Some fibers don’t felt well at all. Try felting alpaca wool or merino wool. A little more expensive but the finer fibers felt up very nicely. Other medium sheeps’ fibers felt well, too.
When you choose your wool, be sure the staples are of uniform length. Your finished project will be less hairy and shed less. 3 inches is a good length.
Test the fiber by felting a small sample to see if it will be satisfactory for your completed project.
Lay your wool at 90 degrees to the last layer. 5-6 thin layers is actually better than 2-3 thick layers. Your layers will be more even and your fibers will felt better.
Check your layers to see that there are no thin spots. This one inspection will go a long way to making sure your layers are even and will prevent a lot of problems in your finished project. You’ll have to toss the felt you just made if there are too many thin spots or waste a lot of time going back over it with a felting needle and fiber to fill in thin areas. Save yourself some time and do it right the first time.
Use the screen and sponge method of felting. It holds the fibers in place and keeps the fibers from sticking to your hands. It really helps make nicer even felt.
Watch the amount of soap and water you use. Too much water and your fibers float away from each other instead of felting. If water pools between your fingers when you press down, then you have used too much. This is where the sponge really helps. You can better control the amount of water you use and keep it to a minimum.
Is more soap better? Nope. You will create bubbles that separate your fibers so they can not lock together and felt. Really, you only need a small amount of soap.
Don’t press too hard at first. Gradually adding pressure will make your fibers felt better and create a more even felted wool.
Keep your water as hot as possible. If the water gets cold, add more hot water. If this is going to cause a problem with too much water, soak up some water with a towel before adding anymore to your fibers.
This is were you will make or break the felt you just made. During fulling you are removing air from between the fibers making them tighter fitting. If you don’t tighten the fibers, your project will pill and shed until it falls apart.
Which fulling method is best? It’s not the method, it’s whether you complete the fulling process. So just pick what the best method is for you. How do you know when it is done fulling? If you pull on your felt and it stretches, it is not done. You must felt it until it is firm.
Keep your water warm while fulling. If you can, full in your sink or bathtub so you have access to hot water during the fulling process.
When you have finished the fulling process you need to completely rinse out the soap with cool water. Leaving soap in could damage the fibers making them brittle or they may even disintegrate over time.
Just gently squeeze out excess water. Never wring. To speed up drying time, roll your felt in a towel to remove more water.
Let dry completely before adding anything else. Wool has an excellent memory. It will hold whatever shape you dry it in. A full 24 hours is needed for your wool to completely dry.
Now that you have mastered the art of wet felting, your projects will be high quality. Friends and family will love receiving your felted gifts or, if selling your felt, you’ll have satisfied customers. Now go on and create great felt!