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Felt and felting itself has been around for thousands of years, because the material has many positive characteristics:
Felt is elastic and can be adapted to different shapes.
Felt is capable of insulation. That means it keeps you warm in cold weather and protects you against heat.
Felt is absorbent, which makes it perfect for making hats.
Felt is moisture repellent, which makes it an interesting material for jackets and coats.
Felt instructions for hats, clothing and more
But not only hats and outerwear can be made from felted wool. You can also make slippers, scarves, cushion covers, blankets, cuddly toys or pretty murals from felt. Depending on what you choose, you can felt your raw material in different ways. With the right material and the right tools, this is not difficult at all. You can find out about the different possibilities and the different instructions for felting here.
What is felting / felt?
Felt is a textile fabric in which the individual fibres are randomly linked together. Just like human hair, the hair of sheep has an outer cuticle layer. This fact is used in felting. Depending on the felting technique, the raw wool or the already processed wool is tumbled or needled so that the cuticles of the individual wool fibres are firmly interlocked. This creates a dense fabric, the felt. Which felting technique you choose should depend on your abilities and options. All instructions for felting are described in detail and easy to understand, so that you will always find a beginner-friendly introduction.
Choosing the right felting technique
To choose the right felting instructions, you should know the different techniques and what they are suitable for:
When wet felting, you have to lay tufts of the raw, non-spun natural wool in layers, alternately vertically and horizontally. Then you rub, knead and walk with water and felt soap until you have a connected surface – this is also called fulling. You can use a bubble wrap or a bamboo mat for this. You can make your own felt in one colour or with colour effects. Wet felting is best suited for when you need a flat surface. If you want to make a great mural, but also for fashion accessories like scarves or bags.
The technique of producing a felt fabric without using water is called dry felting or needle felting. As you can tell by the name, you need a special felting needle for this. The felting needle has small barbs. You use it to pierce the felt tufts until the fine hairs interlock. For dry felting you either use only the raw wool and a felting needle or you apply the wool flakes to a finished styrofoam object. With the instructions for dry felting, you can create three-dimensional objects, such as felted stuffed animals.
Knitting felting or crochet felting means that you first make an object out of felting wool and then felt it in the washing machine. Slippers are popular, but you must closely follow the instructions, as they shrink by about 30 percent when felted. The washing machine does the walking/fulling and kneading. All you have to do is use the right material and, of course, after felting, pull your crochet or knitted item back into shape. Besides slippers, you can also knit fashion accessories such as hats or gloves and then felt them.
In this technique you combine wool with a carrier fabric. This can be silk, but also a cotton cloth or viscose fabric. It is important that the carrier is not too tightly woven so that the fine wool hairs can be applied and then stick to it. To prevent your end result from being too bulky, use a thin fabric. So, you also have to make your applied wool layer as thin as possible. For nuno felting you will also need water, a felting liquid/soap and some bubble wrap or something similar. Then proceed in a similar way to the instructions for wet felting. Nuno felting is perfect for decorating fine silk scarves.
Tips and tricks for felting - our community will help you!
Even if our tutorials for felting are written in an easy to understand way and you do not need any special knowledge, there is still the possibility that a problem unexpectedly appears. We have created a help page so that you are not left out in the rain. You can simply take a look there if you have any questions. Or you can contact the large, helpful community in our forum. There will always be someone willing to help you. On our YouTube channel, we also offer regular new tips and tricks for felting. And if you want to contribute your own ideas, you're welcome to post them on our Facebook page. We are always grateful for creative inspiration.
Felting with children
Because felting is so easy, especially children have a lot of fun doing it. Once the little ones are big enough to handle a sharp needle, you can introduce them to dry felting. Together you can cover styrofoam half balls with different coloured tufts of raw wool and make cute felting beetles. To make sure that no accidents happen with the sharp felting needle, you should never leave your children unattended when felting! Or you can let your little helpers lay on different pieces of wool, which you can then join together to form a flat surface according to the instructions for wet felting. This way, a nice mural or a great scarf can be created by working together.
Making felt angels yourself
To make a felted angel yourself, follow the instructions for dry felting. That means you only need raw wool in different colours and a felting needle. If the finished angel is supposed to stand, you have to pay special attention to its underside, wrap the wool as tight as possible and felt it well. Otherwise there are no limits to your creativity. You can decorate the felted angel with small pearls or dust it with glitter.
For picture felting you either need a design template or you design your picture freely. If you felt with a given design, you will again use the technique of dry felting. If you are creative yourself, you can also work according to an instruction for wet felting. The difference between the two techniques is that you can use the needle to felt exact contours. However, wet felting makes your finished picture look blurry. It's more like modern painting, where you can only see the outlines of various objects.
If you want to felt shoes, you must first crochet or knit them with felting wool. To make sure they fit you after all the work is done, you should make a test patch and then felt them in the washing machine. This way you will know how the wool behaves and you can make your shoes in the right size. If you don't want to have to felt the test patch, you can set the shrinkage factor at around 1.4. This means that if your sample measures 14 centimetres, you can assume that it is only ten centimetres long (14 : 1.4 = 10) after felting in the washing machine. Of course, your knitted shoe will behave in the same way.
Felting hip warmers
You can felt the hip warmer with the nuno technique. It is best to use a plain silk scarf as a base and apply your wool flakes as you please. Make sure that the wool is applied as thinly as possible so that your finished hip warmer falls easily and doesn't become too stiff. You don't have to exert excessive pressure when felting the hip warmer. However, you do need a lot of patience to work on such a big project long enough. After all, you want the silk to bond firmly with the wool.
Felting in the washing machine - perfect for beginners!
Felting in the washing machine is a great alternative, especially for beginners. All you have to do is make sure that you make your work pieces with untreated wool. Then put them in the machine at 40 degrees Celsius, add a few tennis balls and switch on the main wash cycle. Dose the detergent as usual, but do not use fabric softener. If you are not satisfied after the first cycle, simply repeat the process. By the way, for any following care, you should only wash felted pieces at 20 degrees Celsius if possible, so that they do not shrink even more.
Felting wool and accessories for felting
Felting wool is always untreated wool. For knitting or crochet felting it has already been spun into a thread. For all other felting techniques, you use the fluffy raw wool. For wet felting and nuno felting you also need water, felt soap or felting liquid and some bubble wrap. For dry felting you work with a felting needle and for felting in the washing machine tennis balls are a good help.
Sell your own felting instructions
If you have come up with your own felting instructions for a great fashion accessory or a pretty decorative object, you can even earn some money with it on our website. All you have to do is summarize all the steps of your creation in an easy to understand tutorial. Then add a few photos and you're done. You can find out how to upload the manual to our website in our guide to selling tutorials.