Felting Tools, Materials and Supplies

Posted by in Felting How To's, Felting Tools, General Information

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Felting Tools, Materials and Supplies

Felting requires two separate categories of items to complete its process—materials and tools.

Materials:

Yarn

Yarn is an amount of fibers that have been spun together into string. For use with felting, the yarn used must consist of at least thirty percent wool and must not be washable—washable wool has been treated in such a way that prevents the scales on the animal fibers from loosening up and becoming tangled. Yarn is a useful and versatile material, and is used in a wide number of felting projects.

Fiber

Animal fiber’s most common form is sheep’s wool, though almost any kind of animal fiber can be used for felting. Fibers that are very fine felt most easily; thicker fibers tend to take more time to felt. Wool is often found in three forms for different uses in felting: locks, worsted preparation, and woolen preparation. Locks are the least modified form of fiber, cut and washed in the locks they originally come in and are often used in felting for thing such as accents and fur. Worsted preparation is used to remove smaller fibers, leaving longer combed fibers that are easily tangled for felting. Finally, woolen preparation cards the fibers, keeping the smaller fibers, making it useful for needle felting.

Fabric

Several kinds of fabric may also be used in designs for felting. Fabrics serve as a base for felting patterns—fabric that is loosely woven or that contains wool that can be felted are two very good options for felting designs. Almost any fabric can be used with felt as long as it is a material through which the fibers can migrate through.

Tools:

Bamboo mats

These mats made out of bamboo are often used in wet felting. Once the project is laid flat on the bamboo mat and the mat is rolled up, rolling the mat back and forth creates friction in order to felt the material. These mats come in large and small sizes, depending on the size of your project. Bubble wrap can be used in place of bamboo mats, though it is less sturdy and often unusable after only a few projects. Bubble wrap provides slightly less friction than a bamboo mat, but is a reasonable substitute if bamboo mats are not immediately available for your felting craft.

Beading supplies

Beading supplies include beads, needles, and thread and are used to embellish felt projects. Beads can add spice to a crafty hat or scarf, or throw some extra color and design into a felting pattern. Many felting patterns leave plenty of room for a few beads here and there, and it’s a great way to add a little of your own flair to a felted craft.

Crochet supplies

Useful for felting patterns that require crocheting, crochet supplies include tapestry needles, crochet hooks, scissors, and removable stitch markers. These felting tools make it possible to complete any number of felting crafts that require a knowledge of crocheting, and are a great addition to your needle basket.

Felting needles

These needles are one of the essential tools for needle felting. Triangular or diamond shaped needles with barbs along their length make felting needles perfect for tangling fibers together to form felt in a mess-free fashion. These needles come in several different sizes. Along with this felting tool, you can also buy felting needle holders, which allow you to use several felting needles at a time to cover larger areas of felt, or a single needle for smaller patterns.

Hand carders

For those of you who enjoy doing as much of a project on your own as possible, hand carders are also available. These large, rectangular brushes can be used for any number of purposes, from lining up fibers for felting to blending different colors of felt for use. Hand carders come in sets of two, allowing you to work fibers together for a well-mixed blend.

Hat-making supplies

Hat-making supplies include hat forms for sizing and hat shapes, stabilizing ribbon, and hat stiffeners used to ensure that your felt hat keeps its shape. Decorative ribbon can also be used to add pizzazz to your felting project. For felting projects destined to become a hat, these tools are essential.

Knitting supplies

Similar to crocheting supplies, knitting supplies are used in several felting projects that require you to know how to knit. These supplies are made up of knitting needles, tapestry needles, stitch markers and scissors, and are used for felting projects in which knitting is necessary—often a pattern will begin with a knitted item that is then felted.

Measuring tools

Another clearly important group of items is measuring tools. A few handy measuring tools include a scale, a calculator, and measuring tape; these items save a lot of time and help you make your felting project as accurate as possible. Whether you’re making a felted sweater or learning how to make a felt hat, measuring tools are essential.

Needle Felting Mat

When needle felting, it’s a good idea to have something underneath your project to prevent snags or scratches in your work surface. A flat brush of block of foam are excellent tools to use under your needle felting pattern, since they are both items that have a little give, but won’t catch on the felting needle’s barbs.

Pounding tools

Often, to finish a project, a felted item is pounded to compress the felt and harden it. Generally in the form of wooden paddles of sorts, pounding tools can be used on any number of felting projects to solidify the final product and ensure that it will hold its shape.

Soap

Used in wet felting to help the felting fibers ease apart and then tangle, soap is a must for your felting shopping list. Any soap will suffice in order to add to your wet felting project. Don’t forget to dilute your soap with water before using, otherwise you’ll end up with a very soapy lump of tangled fibers!

Steam
Similar to pounding tools, steam greatly aids in compressing felt projects. Steam helps you get flat felt, sharp edges, or complete shapes; using an iron or a tea kettle as a source of steam for your felting crafts makes felting even easier to do.

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