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Wet-felting in a nutshell

Wet Felting is a process that involves a loose pile of wool fibres, the addition of soapy water, massaging the fibres until they hold together (felting) and then shocking the cloth to shrink and strengthen it (fulling).


Materials required

-       Towel;

-       Bubble wrap or plastic sheeting;

-       Plastic bowls;

-       Soap – olive oil soap is preferable but any soap will do, including washing up liquid;

-       Supply of warm;

-       Plastic bottle with perforated lid or bulb spray;

-       Wool tops;

-       Rolling bar, pool noodle, rolling pin or rolled up tea-towel.


Instructions

1.    Make soap solution by adding about a handful of grated soap to a bowl of hot water. Stir solution and let the soap dissolve;

2.    Lay out your towel on a table;

3.    Place a piece of bubble wrap (bubble side up) on top of towel;

4.    Lay out the bottom layer of wool by pulling small ‘shingles’ from the wool tops and laying in one direction – overlapping each row of shingles by about a third;

5.    Make a second layer by laying out in the opposite direction;



6.    The third layer can be decorative and therefore the wool and other fibres can be laid out at random to create an interesting pattern/picture;



7.    Pour the soap solution into the plastic bottle or spray and sprinkle the solution over the wool fibres to wet but not soak the wool;

8.    Add bubble wrap (bubble side down) to the top surface, sprinkle with a little more soapy water and massage gently to flatten and wet the fibres equally;

9.    Now massage for 1 minute or so, then turn the wool 90 degrees, massage again for 1 minute and repeat until massaging has taken place from all four sides to encourage equal felting;

10.Turn over the felt piece (sandwiched between the bubble wrap), add another sprinkle of soapy water and massage as above;

11.Roll your bubble wrap sandwich around the rolling bar or rolled up tea-towel, secure in a little of the larger towel. Roll 100 times, then unwrap, turn it 90 degrees and roll for a further 100 times. Repeat until you have rolled on all 4 sides.

12. Perform the pinch test - try to pick up a few fibres by pinching – they will not lift if felting is complete. If they do lift, continue rolling until there is no movement. If necessary, turn your felt over and roll from the other side.

13.Once felting is complete, shrink (full) the piece by a combination of the following: throwing the piece on your bubble-wrap 30-40 times, surface rubbing and rolling on itself (with no bubble wrap and rolling bar);

14.Continue fulling until desired shrinkage has taken place (25-40%);



15.Rinse in warm water, squeeze out excess water, re-shape and admire your fabulous felting!


If you would like to know more, please come along to a full day workshop in my river-side studio or maybe consider a pot-making party for a group of friends or birthday party.




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