The theme is: Wet felting over a flat resist
The area that is difficult to perfect in this felt along, is the edges of the project.The basic process for wet felting over a resist:
-Decide what shape you want your final project to be
-Select a material for your resist
My favourite is any form of thick plastic (tarp, overhead sheet, thick shopping bags from clothes stores, bubble wrap) but I'm sure there are other resists people use.
-Cut the resist into the shape you want your final item to be, but around 35% larger
The felting process will really shrink your project, so start larger than you want.
-Lay 1 layer of fiber over the resist, overlapping the edges
This is done in the same way as flat felt, but we're only doing one layer in one direction.
-Turn your project upside-down and fold the edges over the resist lay down another layer in the same direction
Now both sides of the resist should have a layer of fiber in the same direction
-Turn your project upside-down and lay another layer at right angles to the previous layer
-Turn your project upside-down and fold the edges over the resist.
Lay down another layer in the same direction
-Continue adding layers and turning the project until it is as thick as you like.
The usual number of layers is three, but if you're making something you'd like extra thickness in (eg oven glove) keep on adding the layers.
-Wet down the project, focusing on the edges
Wet the project using hot soapy water. At this stage, your project will look like a mess. But just keep on rub rub rubbing.
-Roll the project in your sushi mat or bamboo blind
Check on your project every 5mins or so, rubbing the edges and rotating and turning your project. This helps to ensure a more even project that's equally felted all over
-When your project starts to become to small for the resist, choose where you want to cut the project open.
You'll know when your project is at this stage. The resist looks like it will rip through the felt at any moment. When choosing where you want to cut the felt, consider it's purpose. If you're making a mobile cover, cut the narrow edge open. If you're making a purse cut the wide edge open. If you were making a compact tissue case, instead of cutting an edge, you would cut the middle open.
-Saturate your project again and give the edges a good rub
-Put your project back into your sushi mat or bamboo blind and keep on rolling
-Take it out and abuse like there's no tomorrow!
You know the drill by now -saturate it in hot water and jump, squeeze, wring, pound, slam. Shock the fibers now and then, by plunging it into hot water than into ice water and keep up the abuse.
-When your project is the size you want, stop!
To give it a smooth finish, stretch + iron your project.
-When your project has dried, feel free to make it as pretty as you like.
No matter what you're making, the same principles apply for most all felted items made with a flat resist. Don't hesitate to fill in gaps in my explanation (I'm sure there are many) and to discuss + ask for help throughout your own felt making. Sharing images of your project as it's being made is also helpful when discussing what worked and what didn't work in our felt making processes.
If anyone else has stumbled across a web tutorial of flat felting with a resist, let us know and I'll add it here.
Here's the process in action for those with more of a visual mind.
After laying down the wool on one side of my resist, I've flipped it.
I'm pulling the edges around the resist
Wool is now on both sides and I'm about to wet it
All wet - time to felt!
After felting in my bamboo blind, the wool has shrunk.
The resist doesn't really fit inside anymore.
Time to take it out
After removing it, I continued the felting process, and fulled it until...