|Hello everyone! I make fairly large sheets of felt, from which I cut out shapes for oven mitts, Christmas tree decorations, felt slippers or what have you. Please click on the thumbnail images to enlarge them|
Here are the materials you'll need for a large sheet of felt of medium thickness
-2 ft by 2 ft pieces of light, flexible, door screen (it's cheap to buy by the foot) - you'll need two of these (if you can get it cut slightly larger, say by a few inches, that's even better)
-6 carded batts of wool (roughly 24 in x 6 in x 2 in thick). Use 8 to 10 batts if you want thicker felt
-Liquid dish soap
-Large jug (that holds at least 16 to 24 ounces of fluid), with a spout for pouring
-Kettle of boiling water
-a couple of towels to blot any excess water
-20 minutes or so of your time
1. Put the kettle on the stove to boil while you prepare the wool batts.
2. Put one of the screens down flat on a large flat surface - preferably the kitchen counter top and beside the sink for easy access
3. Next, take one of the batts of wool and widen it out thinly and evenly on the screen. I try to get one batt to flatten out to 12 inches across (half of your screen), then lay the next batt beside it and widen it out to cover the screen. The two batts should be parallel to each other. Try not to have wool sticking out beyond the edges of the screen. If some wool is sticking out, just tuck it back into the batt. This is your first layer of wool. All of the wool fibres should be going in the same direction.
|4. Next, put the next two batts down on top of your first layer, but perpendicular to the first layer. Hopefully, my photographs will make this clear. I haven't done a superior job of spreading out the wool evenly in my photographs! Hopefully, your wool will look much neater and evenly spread out than mine!|
|5. Put your third layer on top of the second, but once again lay the batts down perpendicular to the layer underneath. This third layer will have fibres running in the same direction as your first layer. You can keep adding layers if you want thicker felt. Just remember to put the layers down perpendicular to the previous layer.|
|6. Lastly, place the other screen on top of your last layer. I try to flatten it down somewhat, so when you pour the water on it, the water won't just slide off of the screen. You can see in the photographs that my screen has bits of wool clinging to it from being used for felting quite often! Some wool will stick to the screen, but I haven't had any problems yet!|
|7. By now, hopefully your kettle will be boiling. Put a squirt of dish detergent into the jug, then pour hot water into the jug. If you have really hard water, you might have to add more dish detergent - it just needs to be slightly soapy and not really lathered. Otherwise, you'll have a lot of soap to rinse out your felt!
8. Now comes the only tricky part. Pour the hot soapy water over your layers, through the screen. Start at one corner and use just a small dribble of water. Just enough to wet the wool. Pat the wool down with your free hand as you pour it. I tend to dribble the hot water down in a "W" pattern along the wool. Because you are using hot, hot water, the wool will be felted as soon as you pour the water on it!
-after you've poured enough water on to soak the entire sheet, I "squeegee" the excess water out by using my hand like a scraper. I "scrape" the excess water towards my sink to try to keep the mess to a minimum.
-at this point, I usually lift the top screen to check the felt. It also helps to prevent the wool from felting to the screen.
|9. Then, I roll the screens and wool up like a carpet, then press down while rolling back and forth. This helps strengthen the felt. I do this for about 5 minutes or so, then I turn the sheet 90 degrees, roll it up and do it again for a few minutes. You'll find that one of the screens usually slides out during rolling. It's not a problem - I just unroll my felt, line up the screens and do it again!|
|10. Flip the screens and felt over, then repeat the rolling process for a few more minutes
-after 15 to 20 minutes, your felt will be strong enough to picked up and rinsed under the tap. Don't be afraid to "scrunch" it all up and squeeze the water out of it! I alternate hot and cold running water to help continue the felting process.
-after rinsing and checking for weak spots, I hang the felt to dry on a rack in my bath tub. You're finished making a large sheet of felt!
-if there are any weak spots, I continue to roll up the sheet, pressing down especially on the weak area.
-your first one or two attempts at felting won't be perfect. It might be better to make a small sheet of felt. I've made 12" square sheets by just using one batt per layer, tearing it in half to make a square. I still use my screen on these small sheets as the screen really helps with the rolling process. It slides so well over the felted wool!
Please click here to return to the home page.