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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Different types of felt

My blog has been sadly neglected for a while but I'm now trying to get back on track.
Many people are confused about the difference between craft felt, needle felt, wet felt and nuno felt so I thought I would explain the differences for you.

                                                             Craft felt

We are all familiar with craft felt. It comes in brightly coloured squares and is often used in card making. This is actually not made from wool as true felt is. It is made by machine using man made fibres. Great for using with children and an affordable option for collage and crafting but not great quality.I don't have a photo of craft felt because I never use it.

                                                              Needle felt

Needle felting is a fairly new method of making felt. It is made from wool and made by repeatedly stabbing a special needle with a barbed end in to the felt to tangle the fibres together. The more you stab the firmer and more stable the felt becomes.

The wool is easier to place and keep in the position you want it. It is not messy. It does not require too much energy and can be done sitting down.

The fibres are not permanently tangles together. If you pull them they can come apart. This is not a problem if you are buying a piece of artwork to go behind glass but I would not recommend using it for unprotected artwork or anything else that could get snagged. Anything made by needle felting has lots of tiny holes in it from the needle being inserted.

Wet felt
Wet felted wool is the oldest known textile to man. It predates woven fabric and has been found in ancient tombs. It is made from wool. The woolen fibres are placed in layers and covered with a net to hold them in place. Warm water is then poured over them and soap rubbed in. The whole lot is then rubbed with the hands to tangle the fibres together. It is then rolled up in a bamboo mat like a swiss roll and rolled backwards and forwards to add extra strength. It is then rinsed in cold water and thrown repeatedly on a table until the density required is achieved.

Wet felt is extremly strong and can not be pulled apart or torn. The fibres are permanently bound together to the extent that it can even be used to make shoes or slippers. Artwork can be displayed in any way prefered. With or without glass It has a smooth appearance. It can be stitched on both by hand and machine without clogging the sewing machine up with loose fibres.

It can be a messy job with water getting everywhere. It requires quite a lot of effort and needs the maker to be able to stand. The fibres are more difficult to control when making detailed work.

Nuno felt
Nuno felt is a term used to describe woollen fibres wet felted on to fabric. It can be on both or just one side of the fabric and is made in exactly the same way as wet felted as described above but with the addition of a layer of fabric.

This method enables the maker to make a very strong yet lightweight fabric which drapes well. It is perfect for clothing.

It is not suitable for detailed work. There is more shrinkage than the other two methods described. It is even harder work than ordinary wet felting.

I hope that this post has been informative but if you have any question please do not hesitate to ask in the comments box and I will be happy to answer.

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