In Design inspiration, Felt Tutorial, Tips & techniques

Welcome to my new blog series: Felt Lore! I’ve been sharing my love of felt here on the blog for so many years (6+!) yet I have never pulled together a comprehensive group of posts answering the questions I get asked most often. I aim to change that!

My story began back in 2006. Once upon a time I was tinkering with felted wool sweaters, selling my creations at craft fairs, opening an etsy shop and sharing felty wool projects on my blog. I was also designing felt appliquéd artwork for a design studio in NY selling to the kids apparel industry. Shortly thereafter I wrote my first book, Warm Fuzzies and showed Martha how to make my pincushions. For years I have been (quite literally at times) immersed in felt! And while I have evolved as a designer, adding many other *loves* to my crafty life, felt is my tried and true.

In this series of Felt Lore posts,  I plan to talk about the best kinds of felt, tools, tips, techniques and to share some new projects with you. Along the way, if you think of a topic you’d like me to cover, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list! To kick things off, let’s talk about my favorite type of craft felt: Wool Blend.

Wool blend felt, meaning part wool, part rayon, is a reasonably priced alternative to 100% wool felt. Pure wool felt is beautiful but can be a little pricey…especially if you happen to have a bit of an addiction. Synthetic felt, while inexpensive, is not one of my favorites. It tends to be thinner, tears easily, and will melt to your iron if you are not careful! Steam and wool were meant for each other and I appreciate how versatile wool blend felt can be. What about the rayon part? In my Textile Science class in college, we learned that rayon is not a synthetic fiber, it is man made from natural cellulose fibers. It is a happy companion with the wool and compatible with the hot iron!

Sometimes when creating with felt, I’ll want a smooth crisp surface (red example, above) for projects that are clean and graphic like a 3D ornament. In that case I use the felt as is, straight off the bolt. Other times, I might want more of a “boiled wool” look with a soft fuzzy texture (green example, above). For that, I like to give my felt a good hot soak!

Soak your felt in a bowl or sink filled with very warm water. Be sure to soak each color separately, as the color will likely bleed. After about 20 minutes, squeeze out as much water as you can. For smaller pieces of felt, you can lay them out to dry on a towel. For larger pieces, the felt can be dried in the dryer until slightly damp. Air drying results in less shrinkage and less texture, using the dryer causes more shrinkage and makes more yummy texture!

I hope you enjoyed the first of my Felt Lore series and that you learned something new. Felt just seems to be a natural material to play with this time of year. Cooler weather, changing leaves, warm socks and sweaters. In fact, it was just one year ago that I launched my Fab Felt Holiday Crafts course with Craftsy! Oh yes, it’s time to start planning for the gift making season…are you ready to get started?

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Showing 9 comments
  • Rachel Eloise

    Hello! Do you have a good source for wool blend felt?
    Thank you!

  • Betz White

    Great question! I will answer that in my next post in the series. Thanks!

  • Tina

    Thanks! I actually never knew that you could use wool/rayon blend! Excellent tip! I’ll be waiting for the rest of the series, thanks Betz!

  • Waldorf (inspired) Moms

    I’m really looking forward to this series. You do such beautiful work! Thank you! Lori

  • HKpowers

    Love the idea for this new series and can’t wait to see what else you share. I also really appreciate your strap technique post yesterday, very helpful now if I could only find one of those cool bodkins!

  • Elizabeth

    Oh, this will be a great series. I collect felt patterns, but rarely get around to the making! Looking forward to reading more!

  • Kathryn

    Super smart to do a series of posts on this topic that many people have questions about and you have the answers to. Felting is such a great craft!

  • Anonymous

    Wondering if you will be talking about felting old garments & blankets? I am experimenting with this, and the results are very inconsistent. Some items turn out beautifully soft and supple, while others are almost as stiff as cardboard!

    • Betz White

      If you’re interested in felting sweaters, you’ll love my book Warm Fuzzies! I’ll definitely do some posts here about it as well.

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