Felting: the bases of nuno felting

This tutorial is an introduction for nuno felting which is a combination of wool and fabrics through wet felting technique.

1

 

Material
Felting mat – bubble wrap or matchstick mat.
Soap – biodegradable dish soap or pure soap (olive oil based or savon de Marseille) are the best.
Plastic bottle with small holes drilled into the lid filled with a small amount of soap dissolved in hot or warm water.
A mesh
Thin plastic sheeting – you can use an opened plastic grocery bag
Rod – wooden dowel, swimming pool noodle, or PVC pipe (I use another matchstick map and put the wool in sandwich between the 2 maps)
Lightweight woven fabrics – silk chiffon, georgette, tissue, gauze, fin loosely woven rayon, cotton muslin, cheesecloth, voile, wool voile
Several old towels
Optional embellishments
Рknitting yarn, thread, ribbon, silk fiber, silk cap 
Merino wool



2

 

On a towel place the matchstick mat and put on thin narrowed pieces of wool vertically oriented and slightly overlapped.



3

 

It needs to be thin enough so you can see a bit through it.



4

 

Once first layer done, place a second thin layer now horizontally oriented.



5

 

And place a third thin layer again vertically oriented.



6

 

Initial width 27 cm.



7

 

Initial length 28 cm.



8

 

On the wool place your chosen fabrics. Here I did a test with different sorts of components, weavings and thicknesses.



9

 

Wet generously wool and fabrics with warm soapy water. Warm water and soap help open up the scales of the wool.



10

 

Place the mesh on it.



11

 

Add soap in your hands (here I took environmentally responsible dish soap but you can definitively use savon de Marseille).



12

 

First gently press from center to edges to push air out and let water and soap in. Once done with the entire project, start to gently rub. Use a flat hand to do small circular movements. Rubbing helps the fibers to entangle. Gently rub for 5 minutes.



13

 

After your 5 minutes rubbing, take off the mesh and flip over the project.



14

 

You will maybe see air bubbles so wet again the project especially on the bubbles.



16

 

Place the mesh and gently rub for 5 minutes.



17

 

During rubbing process check if some fibers get tangled with the mesh. If it happens, gently pull off the mesh and replace it before continue to gently rub.



18

 

Once you rubbed 5 minutes on both sides, replace the matchstick mat for a dry towel and put the thin plastic sheeting on your project.



19

 

Wrap the project with the dry towel and roll from the tip of your fingers…



20

 

…to the end of your wrist. Rock and roll 50 times. It is important to count because felt shrinks in the direction it is rubbed.



21

 

After you rolled 50 times, unwrap the entire piece, turn it a quarter turn, re-wrap it and roll it again. You need to do this process in all 4 directions on both sizes. Means 8 times 50.



22

 

Once your project rolled 50 times on all directions and sides you can replace it on the matchstick mat and cover it with another one.



23

 

Roll the project with the 2 mats and re-do the process of rolling 50 times in all 4 directions on both sizes.



24

 

Rinse thoroughly in warm then cold water until there is no more soap in your felted piece. Then wring it to remove extra water.



32

 

You can gently pull on each extremity to re-shape your form. The final piece width is around 24 cm.



33

 

The final piece length is approximately 23 cm.

 

Now let’s observe how the different fabrics reacted. I just want to mention that natural fabric components are the one that best entangle with wool.



26

 

Even if this piece of fabric is light and translucent, the component and tight weaving prevent to entangle with wool.

 



27

 

This thread is probably polyester composed so there is no scale to open and mix with wool fibers. So even for embellished threads it is important to choose natural fibers.

 



28

 

This lion face is in cotton. The major part of it well blended with wool. But because it is tightly woven perimeter did not blend.

 



30

 

I specifically chose this piece of fabric because even if it looks artificially composed, the really light weaving allowed wool to entangled through it. Nevertheless surrounding area did not blend.

 



31

 

This piece of fabric is silk. Like the cotton piece it almost well blended but not the extremities.



29

 

This piece of fabric responded so perfectly that it seems to be part of the felt.


 

Have fun!