Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Handmade holiday idea exchange: Nuno felting tutorial

Since Renee is hosting a great Handmade holideay idea exchange, I thought you might enjoy trying your hand at some nuno felting. It is quick and easy and makes for the most elaborate gift that will surprise your friends and relatives.

Check here for more ideas of nuno felted scarves:
Here's my latest creation
More creations
And a great etsy shop full of inspiration

Nuno felting is a Japanese fabric felting technique. It melds loose fibres, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze. The Nuno felting process is particularly suitable for fine garment making, since silk-backed felt ensures a stable felt that will not stretch out of shape like normal felt. It also creates a lightweight felt.

In this tutorial, you will also see the process for regular wet felting (without silk gauze) with corriedale wool. This creates a thicker piece, good for belts or thicker scarves or anything else really!

First, get your wool (merino rovings and silk rovings and hankies, I order from Maplerose in Canada) and carding brushes if you want to mix some colors together. You can also use some merino yarn to add some texture. You also need some silk chiffon (the little brown thing on the right...), cut a bit smaller than the desired size of your finished piece.

You will need some natural dishwashing detergent (I use Seventh generation), rubber gloves and a watering can with little holes. Some people simply pour the boiling water through a colander.

You will need and old wooden blind or tatami, as well as long pieces of bubble wrap and lots of towels.

Lay the tatami (for smaller/thinner pieces) or the blind (bigger/thicker/longer pieces) on a long table or the floor, lay the bubble wrap on top.

Place your piece of silk chiffon on top of the bubble wrap and trace around it with a marker (I am making a scarflette here).

Then, TAKE THE SILK CHIFFON PIECE AWAY, and place your wool. If you want to make a reversible piece, you will start by putting little tuffs of colored wool or silk here and there (it's time to use your pieces of yarn if you want to add some), then put a layer of merino wool on top.
You want to create a batt, you'll see better in the photos with the green wool further down.

To pull the wool in order to get a nice thin layer of wool, procede this way:

Close your palm on top.

And pull!

When you have two layers or merino wool (one horizontal and one vertical), put the silk chiffon on top.

And start you next layers (you can do only one if you want a thinner scarf or two for a thicker one).

Then, add your details on top.

Here's another project with more step-by-step photos. This is a belt with corriedale wool (no silk chiffon in the middle).

Carding wool to mix the colors.

Starting the first layer (batt). The fibers go all in the same direction for one layer, then the second layer goes perpendicular. For this belt, my friend did 3 layers, plus the details.

We see the batting process quite clearly here, it's like roof building with wool. Make sure there is no holes.

Starting to add details on top of the 3rd layer.

Almost done!

Then, pour boiling water with a dime of soap. You want the piece to be very wet, almost dripping on the floor.

Cover with more bubble wrap.

And a towel to limit the amount of water on the floor...

Take a pool noodle and roll around it, making sure that everything is nice and straight.

Tie with old nylons so nothing moves...

And roll for a good 10 minutes!

Then, unroll and tuck in the fibers, so you don't have holes around the edges of the final piece.

Before tucking the fibers...


Then, pour some more boiling water, put the bubble wrap and the towel on top (still with the pool noodle and the nylons) and roll another good 5 to 10 minutes. Then, fold your piece in two, then four.

And for 3-4 minutes let it drop, gently at first, then with more and more strength (unfold and fold the other way around so it doesn't felt on itself).

Then, move to the sink, put your rubber gloves on and add more soapy boiling water on your piece, put it in a ball and throw it in the sink many times (you do this for another 5 minutes and until it is felted to your liking, the more you felt, the harder it becomes and the smaller it gets. Don't be afraid to throw it hard at this stage! When it starts to get wrinkly, it's usually felted enough. It really depends on the look you want.).

The finished pieces :

Now, hang them to dry! The colors will change a bit when they dry, especially the silk that becomes shiny.

Please let me know if you need any more photos or information. I'll be happy to make it clearer!


http://septalors.canalblog;com said...

Que c'est beau,ou as tu appris à faire ça???
gros bisous
viens dans un jour voir ma bannière,je l'a trouve très jolie

Catherine said...

J'ai appris d'une amie au Yukon qui l'avait appris en Angleterre!

Carine said...

J'en profite pour dire que j'aime beaucoup tes tabliers d'histoires pour chaque saison, tu t'en sers comment : qui le met, par exemple ?
Il y a un rond en laine feutrée et comment coudre le tissu ?
J'adore aussi ta ronde des saisons en laine feutrée.
Pour l'instant, j'ai vraiment du mal avec la laine que l'on feutre au savon, j'ai toujours un couac quelque part (à part si je veux juste faire de petites perles, et encore, ça dépend).

Catherine said...

Le tablier d'histoire, c'est moi qui le met. La jupette est simplement faufilée, plissée et cousue sur un gallon, puis le gallon est cousu à l'arrière de la pièce feutrée. Le ruban est cousu à l'arrière directement.
Les balles sont les choses les plus dures à feutrer à l'eau. Elles doivent être faites à partir de très fines couches de laine installées perpendiculairement les unes aux autres ET SURTOUT très serrées. Les tabliers sont fait avec un moustiquaire en fibre de verre par-dessus pour ne pas que le dessin bouge (dans une tôle à pizza ronde), très simple, mais un peu plus long à feutrer.

Indigomumma said...

Great tutorial Catherine! Thankyou :) We will definitely make some of these this year for gifts with this wonderfully easy to understand guide! Thank you :) xxx

Carine said...

Ah merci, Catherine !
Il me restera à trouver une moustiquaire alors, j'aimerais beaucoup faire ça !

Anonymous said...


je voulais te remercier pour tout ce beau partage, c'est très inspirant de découvrir vos "journées". Je reviendrai certainement pour quelques questions mais pour l'instant simplement un gros MERCI!

maman à la maison de 5 enfants

Francesca said...

This is fantastic, just the kind of project I'd love to try! It sounds like several fairly straight forward steps, thank you!

Catherine said...

Merci de tes commentaires, Katou! Ça me fait chaud au coeur! Tu es Québécoise? Ne te gêne pas pour les questions, j'y répondrai au mieux de mes connaissances!

Catherine said...

Francesca, yes, it is so very simple! After the african flowers that you are doing, nuno felting is so, so easy (and quick!).