Today we’re going to do a quick run-through of our favorite felting tools for both nuno and wet methods. If you’ve just registered for a workshop with us, or are just getting into felting on your own, this will be a great introduction to some tools of the trade. Felting is a creative process, and the tools used to create felted pieces are as varied as the pieces themselves. So, if you’re a more seasoned felter, feel free to comment below with your favorite tools. Maybe you’ll help us discover something new!
The water bottle top sprinkler
We often get asked why our felting workshop material lists specify a bottle of Fiji or Smartwater water. There is a method to our madness, you guys, I swear. The reason we specifically recommend these types of water bottles is because our sprinklers fit perfectly on top of them! This little tool is so nice because it distributes water evenly and gently over your project. We don’t recommend regular ol’ spray bottles because they’ll blow your carefully drafted wool away. Plus, they make your hands sore! Our recommended water bottles + sprinkler are pleasant to hold in your hand, easy to squeeze and far more ergonomic than a spray bottle.
Pool Cover, Netting, PVC & T-Shirt Ties
Now let’s talk about the felting tools we use for our own projects and those we include in our kits (available for purchase here). We prefer pool cover vs packaging bubble wrap. Why? Well, in our eleven years of felting, we’ve found that pool cover lasts longer. It’s heavier duty and can be used over and over again. Packaging bubble wrap pops and is only good for a couple of projects. That being said, we find there is a time and place for bubble wrap as well. Sharon uses bubble wrap for the vessel, mini landscape, and the sleeveless tunic workshops because of its pliability. It’s easy to wrap projects up into the bubble wrap without moving the roving. Sharon’s advice? “Don’t push hard on either pool cover or bubble wrap. The more gentle you are the quicker it’ll go.”
Along with the pool cover, our kits also include a nylon netting. This netting holds the design in place while you roll it and it helps keep your design from getting pushed around by the pool cover’s bubbles. We don’t recommend using a bridal veil netting because it will felt right into your project (ask us how we know!). On the other end of the spectrum, the heavier nylon netting is too coarse and is hard on your hands when you rub it. We’ve found that a medium-weight nylon netting, like what we use, is the best. Mosquito netting, and window screens are also options but we haven’t experimented with those so we can’t say if they work or not.
We use PVC pipes when we roll up our pieces, as opposed to pool noodles. We find they provide better, and more even, stability and pressure, but we know plenty of felters who have had success with pool noodles. To-maye-to, to-mah-to.
Lastly, ties cut out of old t-shirts have become our favorite tool for tying up our felting projects within their kits. We like these t-shirt ties because they’re a great way to recycle old t-shirts, they’re easy on our hands when tying and don’t come untied easily.
We prefer a dishpan to hold water because they’re light, shallow, they don’t take up too much space on our work surface and are easy to empty. In our experience, typical buckets are a bit clumsy, too deep and hold too much water. We also like that little blue Tupperware pictured above. Can you guess where that Tupperware was purchased? The dollar store! If that’s doesn’t take the crown for affordable felting tools, we’re not sure what does!
Oh, Bella Soap, how we love thee. First of all, it’s made by a local female entrepreneur, and we’re all about that. Secondly, it truly is the best, most gentle soap we’ve ever used for felting. Our hands are in soap and water a lot, and we find our skin is so much happier if we use this soap. Bella soap is recommended for eczema, dry and sensitive skin so we don’t have to worry about anyone being allergic to it. It is completely natural and so, so gentle on the wool and your hands alike. Lastly, we find that the foamy suds created by this soap help protect our hands when rubbing over the nylon netting.
Old bath and hand towels get used a lot around here. We use them to sop up the excess water from felting, and we also wrap up our felting kits in them to protect our forearms during rolling.
When it comes down to it though, our hands are our absolute favorite felting tools. Nothing works better than these amazing palms and fingers to create beautiful felted items.
Dawn dish detergent is our go-to liquid soap. We add a small amount to our water bottles (that the sprinklers fit on). The surfactant in this soap works wonders for the speed and efficiency of the felting process.
We also put rectangles of ribbed shelf liner to work in some of our smaller projects such as the layered flowers and scarves. Rubbing the flowers on these mats helps firm up the piece and results in a more professional looking piece. In the event that a nuno felted scarf has gathered more on one end, the shelf liner can help even out those gathers.
Ceramic palm tools. We’re not a big fan of felting tools like these. Sharon has experimented with them and doesn’t recommend them. She says they don’t work as well because they’re cold, and the heat from your hands is an important catalyst in the felting process. But, to each their own. If you’ve had success with tools like these, then felt on, our friend, felt on.
Are there any tools you’re curious about? We may be able to tell you about our experience with them. Let us know below if you have questions or comments! If you found this post helpful, please pin it.