Wet Felting – technique – Pre felt
For our first technique I’m going to show you how you can use pre felt as a really easy beginner project, it will introduce you to the world of wet felting and if you enjoy it you can progress onto experimenting with other types of wool to get different results.
Step by Step Technique
- On a table or floor lay out your old towel and then one layer of bubble wrap
- Cut some pre felt to the size you want. It will shrink a little once felted so bare that in mind!
- Lay your pre felt on top of your first layer of bubble wrap
- Boil the kettle and pour into your bowl then add a little washing up liquid
- Next you need to sprinkle, squeeze or spray the water all over your wool in a fine layer, you don’t want to drench the wool!
- Now place your second layer of bubble wrap over the top and press down all over, squishing all layers together
- Put your hands underneath the towel and you want to roll up all the layers with your wool inside
- Roll and press down on your rolled up layers, back and forth around 50 times
- Unroll and then roll up in the other direction (width ways and then length ways) and roll another 50 times
- Un roll and remove the top layer of bubble wrap. Smooth out your wool as it gets crinkled and pushed around when rolling
- Once smooth you want to rub gently over the surface using the palm of your hand. It should glide over the surface easily, if not add a little washing up liquid
- Repeat steps 8-11 until you are happy with how well your wool has felted. Use the pinch test.
- Then scratch up your wool and place it in a sink
- Wash out all the soap, you don’t need to be gentle at this stage, but can squeeze, rub, twist as much as you like as this all helps with the felting process.
- Run the wool under cold and then hot water repeatedly, this helps felt the wool further
- You now want to lay out your towel again and flatten your wool onto it. Smooth out the wool using the palm of your hand pulling and stretching as you go to get it as smooth and wrinkly free as possible. As you leave it to dry this is the final form it will take.
To decide if your wool is felted enough to rinse and dry, use this easy test. Use your forefinger and thumb to pinch the surface of your wool pulling up the fibres. If you can pull a layer of fibres up easily it’s not ready. It needs to be difficult to pull up any fibres then you know it’s felted enough. The more times you do this, even half way through the rolling wet felting process, you’ll get a feel for it!
Using a 15in bowl as reference.
Wrap: 10x32in (25x80cm)
Large Layer: 22x23in (56x58cm)
Small Layer: 16x18in (46x35cm)
Wet felting a layer of pre felt, you start with a square or rectangle shape. As you rub and pull the wool throughout the wet felting process you can achieve some organic shape round the edges but you might want more control of the shape you want to achieve! You might want rough edges where the wool thins out with fluffy ends and wispy corners. You might want more wavy edges not straight and perfect.
I came up with a brilliant idea so you can do just that!
Here is a photo of a felted layer using wool top or roving see how the edges are very organic, shaped and blend into finer, wispy bits. This is because you pull off small sections of wool and lay them out onto bubble wrap to create the shape you want, we can’t do this with pre-felt. The actual surface of the layer is varied with thick and thin areas too giving a lovely texture effect, which again you can’t achieve with pre-felt.
Try out this technique…
When you cut the size of pre felt you want to use, cut into the edges to create a wavy, irregular shape. Then wet felt as normal.
End result after wet felting a rectangle of pre-felt. Pulled and rubbed to change the shape but the result is only subtle.
Cut the edges in rough waves, cutting in and out and removing small bits from the edges.
Your end result looks more like this…. beautiful organic edging!