Felt is made from hair, usually sheep wool, but it could also be made of palace or other hair. But the wool of sheep is the best for the job due to its natural structure and oiliness.
There are many techniques to make felt, like wet and dry felting. Besides there are many techniques how the wool is used and layered, in which way you can make different effects or products. For this info document the basic technics of wet and dry felting are the most important, and usually I do wet felting:
Wet felting is being done with (warm) water and (green/olive)soap. The wool is being layered in the wanted pattern, and with water and soap you create felt. This is being done through movement: rubbing with the hands, rolling, hitting and throwing. Through the movement the wool will tangle, think of a dreadlock. What you end up with, is felt.
Felt isolates against cold and warmth, as it is 100% wool. Its used a lot against bedsores and cold feet, but is also beautiful as decoration, on the floor or in the chair.
Animals find felt often very interesting, positively or negatively. Dogs and cats usually get used to the felted furry, and love to lie down on it, because its warm but never too hot.
Felt is fine being outside. Though keep in mind that the weather will play with your felt.
Felt goes after making it usually with some towels in the washingmachine on the option for wool (cold/30 degrees and centrifuge on minimum/ max 600). sometimes the felt, especially a sheeps coat, in the drier, with some tennis balls. So, the felt may get wet, and can be perfectly well cleaned with water and soap. If its super dirty we put it in Epsom salts. Mind that if its colored felt, you might get discoloration. It will always be a natural product.
If you have a sheeps coat, it also likes to be put into the snow in the winter. This is good for the color and cleaning of the coat. Put the hairs in the snow, not the felted side. In that way it has the most effect.
Felt can be made in different ways, but the 2 basic ways is wet felting and needlepointing (dry felting). With the needlepointing you have to have a special needle which you put constantly up and down through the wool, through which you make the tangled felt. I usually use the method of wet felting, with which you use (warm) water and (natural) soap, like green or olive soap, and then make a lot of movement with the wool. Want to know how? Come to a workshop!
Is felt animal friendly? This question I get a lot on the markets. We have a special poster usually: sheep friendly coats. We try to tell with this, that no sheep has been slaughtered, but the sheep have been to the hairdresser instead. Of course, we could get into a discussion wether or not the sheep should have been bred as much that they can’t live without sheering anymore, but then we should also discuss domesticating of animals in general. Besides this discussion, there is no reason why the sheering would be animal cruelty: the sheep have to be sheered, else they get maggots. In natural circumstances they’d use trees and rocks to get rid of their coat, we love to help them with that!
Book a workshop
Eelste offers workshops at location, like for instance a staff outing, or a creative (family)gathering. All workshops are using the technique of wet felt, and may vary from a basic workshop where we make a simple product, to round felting, bag felting or coat felting.