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Topic: Wet Felted 3D Resist Bag  (Read 3742 times)
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theartofmegan
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« on: March 22, 2008 08:41:53 PM »

I've had these foam cushion pads for ages now, and i'm so sick of not doing something with them.  I decided they'd be great to turn into some 3D resists for narrow purses and such.  While I was at it, I took some photos and put together a little tutorial.



Materials:

Wool roving in 3 colors (or your choice)
Flat, wide bucket for working
Bamboo beach mat
Containers for hot and ice water
Dish detergent or soap flakes, but not laundry detergent
Sponge
Hand massager or agitator of some kind
1 inch thick foam seat cushion
Plastic Bag
Scissors
Tape

To create my pattern, I folded a scrap piece of paper in half and cut off the top corners, creating a pleasing shape. Keep in mind that your final product will be approximately 35 to 40 percent smaller due to fibers shrinking into place.

Place pattern on top of a 1 inch thick foam chair cushion and cut around edges with sharp craft scissors.  Round any sharp corners on the bottom edges by sculpting away with your scissors. 



Cut the handles and bottom off a plastic bag. Slice the tube you're left with so that you have one long rectangle of plastic. Begin wrapping your foam, neatly and taut, but leaving just a little room to manipulate the foam inside the bag.

Tape up the edges of the bag. The tape usually ends up coming off by the end of the project, so remember to check inside your bag for wet tape at the end. For the beginning shaping, however, it's necessary to hold the shape of the wrapped bag.

When laying down roving, spread the fibers thin and evenly. Lay fibers down horizontally first, overlapping edge fibers by a few inches. Lay down your next layer vertically, paying attention to wrapping your ends around the edges.
Place your main bag color horizontally over the middle and bottom portions of the bag. Lay fibers evenly, but spread the edges out gradually to minimize the result of heavy lines in the final bag.



Pulling short sections from the main color roving, lay each handful smoothly across the edges, perpendicular to each place as you go around. Smooth the ends of the fiber along either side of the bag.  Continue by pulling small amounts of fiber from your accent roving color, and spreading small amounts of wool along the top edges of the bag. Alternate with your main color and your direction occasionally, making the blend more soft and gradual.  Repeat on opposite side, and move GENTLY into your bucket.



Using a hot, soapy sponge and a rolling motion, moisten the wool fibers, being careful not to pull up layers or agitate the fibers too much at this phase. Carefully turn and repeat on the other side, then on the edges.



The beginning of this process is done rather slowly with little pressure. You don't want the fibers to separate and clump on themselves, so make sure you keep spreading everything out smooth every so often.

I use a hand-massager (It was something that came with a bottle of firming lotion and was designed to "break up celulite". Hah.) to do the majority of my agitation so my fingers aren't completely raw by the end of my day of felting.  Usually, my day of felting follows my work-day of hairstyling, which is essentially a day with wet hands.  If i were to hand work most of my felt, I'd probably end up crying... but you can also lightly massage the fibers with your fingers and palms and light pressure if you don't have something like this (or you need a little extra exfoliation!). A meat mallet tends to work pretty well, too.



The fibers are beginning to interlock. The layers are merging. There's still individual definition of fibers, but they're starting to meld.

This means it's time for the next step. You don't want to over-felt at this stage or you don't end up with a smooth enough or even enough surface.  Begin by placing an edge of the bag near the end of the mat. Fold the end of the mat over the edge of the bag, and begin rolling tightly, as if you're making a big felt-and-bamboo cinnamon roll. Mmm, cinnamon rolls. Anyway, back to the bag...



Once you have the mat rolled up, press and roll the entire bag. Pressure is great in this stage, it's the friction that creates a smooth and even felting process. Continue to roll bag in mat, alternating hot and cold water applications. Occasionally you can mop up the soap suds and excess water with your sponge and squeeze it into the bucket.

Continue this process, flipping bag and turning all edges into end of roll. This means you'll be rolling from 8 different directions: front of bag up and back of bag up from both sides, and the top and bottom edges.

Your bag is nearing completion when the foam resist form inside is beginning to be crunched and distorted by the felt. Felt shrinks quite a bit, and it'll seem like your form is trying to curl up in the bag when you're ready to cut.



Cut the bag along the top seam with scissors. Remove the foam resist form and the plastic bag, remembering to check for any loose tape.

At this point, it's time to create your handles. From scratch paper, create a handle pattern that pleases your eye and works with the shape of the bag. Keep in mind that the handles will be stretched and rolled, so will appear longer and thinner than they are in the photo.

Fold handle pattern back in half, and fold one side of bag in half similarly. Cut along edges of pattern, then cut through the center to create the hole for the handles. Repeat on other side.



This is your final shaping opportunity for your bag. Pull and stretch the handles to elongate. Roll between your palms to curl inward on themselves.

Roll top edges of bag out to expose internal color. Form with your fingers and allow to dry that way.

Press a flat base into your bag so it can mostly stand on its own.

Set bag aside to dry, which will take 1 to 2 days, depending on your climate. Decorate bag as desired, or use plain!



Hope you like it!  I have a slightly more detailed version on my website at http://www.theartofmegan.com/wet_felted_3d_resist_bag_tutorial, as well as my wet felted bead tutorial made with the same roving colors, at http://www.theartofmegan.com/wet_felted_beads_tutorial.  Have fun, and felt happy!
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3littlechicks
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2008 10:55:01 PM »

I really like your bag, and the method of doing it. What I really noticed though (lol) is the way you're rolling your bamboo mat.....you can really tell you've wrapped many perms and roller sets by the way you're holding that mat!

Sorry Grin..that just really made me lol..
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theartofmegan
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2008 11:03:08 PM »

Busted! Wink
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Art, Crafts, Fashion, Love.
http://www.theartofmegan.com

Visit my Etsy Stores!

The Art of Megan
Handmade, Vintage, and Recycled Craft Supplies at http://theartofmegan.etsy.com

HomeGrown Fashion
Unique, down-to-earth fashion, accessories, and home decor
http://homegrownfashion.etsy.com
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2008 11:26:29 PM »

Wow! What a great tutorial  Cool

I'll pop a link and your name in our sticky of tutorials.
Thanks so much theartofmegan
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lilylola
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2008 09:39:26 AM »

That's so clever! Thank you so much for the tutorial, I love the genorosity of people Craftster. I saw bags very similar to this on sale while on holiday a few years ago but they were something like 60.00 - quite a lot more than my mean streak will allow me to pay for an accessory. But I have all this equipment in my house as I write AND a day off work tomorrow. I might have a go.
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theartofmegan
Tutorial Contributor

One Crafty Wife Lady
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Posts: 338
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Cr4ftN3rd. <3


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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2008 11:40:03 AM »

yay lilylola, post a picture if you do!
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Art, Crafts, Fashion, Love.
http://www.theartofmegan.com

Visit my Etsy Stores!

The Art of Megan
Handmade, Vintage, and Recycled Craft Supplies at http://theartofmegan.etsy.com

HomeGrown Fashion
Unique, down-to-earth fashion, accessories, and home decor
http://homegrownfashion.etsy.com
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