A Little About Felting

I love many different art forms from digital painting to sculpting, though lately I have mostly been concentrating on felting. I figured it would be a good thing to explain a little about the process.

Felt is usually made from sheep’s wool and is one of the first fabrics ever created. You don’t even need to spin the fibers into yarn or weave it to make felt. Each strand of sheep hair has little tiny hooks that can get stuck on each other, when enough fibers are tangled up it becomes ‘felted’ and the individual fibers make a larger object like sheets of fabric, balls, or even cute little animals.

There are plenty of tutorials out there that can explain how to tangle up the wool so I won’t go into too much detail but I will say there are two main ways of doing it. Wet Felting uses water, soap, and a little bit of elbow grease. In my opinion it’s best for flat sheets and simple shapes. Then there is needle felting (most of my art pieces are done with this second method). In this method a special barbed needle is pushed into the wool to slowly compact the fibers together. Even a small creature may be stabbed thousands of times in order to get the right shape and density.

One other fun note about felting. Even though sheep’s wool is the most common fiber used, it’s not the only option. Alpaca, llama, and even bunny hair can be used. These natural fibers can be blended to get the best result. Store bought felt is usually synthetic and won’t play well with natural fibers so keep that in mind!

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