Felting tools, kits, and selected fibers are on sale for a limited time: 10% – 30% off!
We’ve still got some ‘snow days’ going for us this winter, so now is the perfect time to pick up a new project or skill. May we suggest felting?
This fun and free-form fiber art is so creative and really easy to start learning. From whimsical felted Nuno scarves to needle-felted sculptures, or painterly panels – there’s something for everyone who loves working with fiber. Play with subtly blending colors, or making fantastic creatures, or airy scarves – felting offers you a woolly world of possibility!
Read on to learn about felting techniques and materials…
New to felting?
There are lots of ways to felt fiber, the results are wide-ranging, it’s great for all ages, and it’s easy to get started. In the most basic sense, felting is the application of friction (with or without water) to wool fibers for the purpose of interlocking the fibers to create a new material: felt. It can transform unseen fibers into everything from gossamer-weight cloth, to tapestry-style images, to sturdy sculptural forms. Agitating the fibers opens up the tiny barbs on the shaft of each fiber and causes them to interlock with one another, the more agitation or friction, and the more open the barbs, the more thoroughly the fibers will stick together. Well-felted wool can even be cut and will not come undone so you can make scarves and then trim edges, or make panels or balls, cut them into shapes, and use the pieces to applique onto other items. Did we mention the possibilities are endless?!
Materials: What & What Not To Use
Wool, and other animal (protein) fibers like alpaca and cashmere felt beautifully, however plant-based fibers and synthetics will not felt, nor will superwash wools which are specially treated to resist felting. The finer the fiber the more easily it will felt, so delicate fibers like Merino wool will felt the fastest and offer the crispest details. Longer-staple, coarser fibers will not felt as evenly or easily, and those somewhere in the middle (like Ashford’s gorgeous Corriedale) felt beautifully and work well for larger areas as well as some detail work. You can experiment with using small amounts of silk, synthetic, or even small found objects, as long as there is enough wool felted firmly around them to ‘anchor’ them to your piece.
Types of Felting Techniques
Felting techniques include wet felting, needle felting, Nuno felting, and even felting finished pieces once they come off the needles or loom.
Wet Felting is accomplished when loose fibers are agitated during immersion in warm soapy water, and similarly, this technique can be used to felt loosely knitted or woven pieces down into sturdier, smaller pieces. Perfect for making little felted balls for stringing into ornaments, or bigger ones to use as dryer balls. Or flat felt panels are a great way to play with color blending and make a great background panel for felted pictures. A perfect place to start felting with kids since no needles are need – just warm soapy water, wool, and some extra towels!
Nuno Felting uses a very lightweight non-felting, woven fabric, like silk gauze, as a backing onto which fibers are wet felted to create a more delicate yet still very stable cloth. Nuno techniques can be used to make cloth that becomes either flat or three-dimensional pieces and it can even be cut into afterwards to make new shapes or clothes.
Needle Felting is often used to create sculptural pieces by shaping the wool with one, or several very sharp needles at a time. Very precise detail can be achieved using this ‘dry’ technique so it is great for adding features to faces or creating very distinct forms. Needle felting can also be used to add detail to wet felted pieces or to flat panels.
We love to see these techniques combined in a single piece as well, try needle felting embellishments onto a wet or Nuno felted panel for more precise designs, or use wet felted balls as a basic form to then add needle felted details on a cute animal decoration. Different types of felt will adhere to each other and once you’re comfortable with the basics you can mix and match techniques to achieve amazing results!
The best way to learn is to start trying new things and enjoy the experiment. And as always, reach out with your questions and ideas!
Can’t-Miss Needle Felting Kits
Fabulous 5″ x 5″ felting tiles from Wrinkle in Tyhme, a Maine farm. Beautiful shading and simple illustrations of favorite Maine flora and fauna. Make several and create a fun garland of Mine images!
(Some tile kits include tools, others do not, please double check what you’ll need!)
Felting needles are sharp! Always supervise younger crafters to prevent injury. Use a pad under your project to protect your work surface, keep your fingers out from under the project, and store needles safely when not in use.
Wet Felting – great for kids!
Learn the Basics Now With Ashford’s Felting Ebooklets!
Free when you place a regular order! Just add either or both to your shopping cart when you order and you’ll receive a download as soon as you checkout!
Build Up Your Stash With Fabulous Felting Fibers On Sale!
An ounce each in a great selection of colors – build your palette with these premium felting fibers. A great way to have a little of everything you’ll need to get started! (Colors will vary.)
|[Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock]|
|Corriedale Wool Top Fiber|
|Coopworth Blend Wool Roving Fiber|
|Romney Wool Fiber Blend|
|Fine White Merino Wool Top Fiber|
Our favorite naturally colored bases in 100% premium wools. Practice simple shapes and techniques with these affordable basics! Use for shaping dryer balls or making a basic animal form you’ll add details to by needle felting. Available by the ounce or pound.
Select colors by the ounce for just the right color combinations!
|Ashford NZ Wool Fiber to Spin and Felt|
|Merino Top Wool Fiber|
|Multi-Colored Merino Wool Top Fiber|
|Merino Silk Top Fiber|
Harrisville’s quarter pound bags of medium grade, heathered wools in an array of colors – great for larger pieces!
Use prefelted panels of merino wool to cut into shapes or as a backing for building up layers of color. Add wool nepps to add texture and highlights to animals, landscapes, or abstract designs.
Add a little sparkle! Although this radiant mylar won’t felt on it’s own you can blend or layer it in with any of these wools for a pop of pixie shimmer anywhere you like. Available while supplies last, in half ounce quantities – a little goes a long way!
Terrific Tools For Every Felter
Felting Needle Holders
Share and tag what you make on Facebook or Instagram #halcyonyarn. We can’t wait to see what you create!