How to Solve 5 Common Nuno Felting Problems

We’ve taught a lot of people how to nuno felt. In our eleven years of business, we’ve introduced thousands (literally!) of students to the beautiful art of nuno felting. This means we’ve met a lot of incredible people, seen many draw-dropping felted items and also seen our fair share of mishaps. Today, we’ll be sharing Sharon’s favorite tips for solving the top 5 most common nuno felting problems we see.

We’ll be discussing the problems we see, specifically, in our nuno felted scarf class, but you can apply all these problems to any nuno felting project you’re working on.

1. Your felt is lumpy 

Take the lumpy wool off and re-draft it thinner this time. Focus on consistent, even drafting. If your wool is drafted on too thickly or too thinly it won’t felt into the silk properly. Remember, the barbs on your fiber have to get all the way through the silk to the back in order to adhere properly. Sharon says, “Wool works better as a team”. If you don’t have enough wool, it doesn’t have the power to get through the silk. But, if you have too much wool, it just felts to itself and not the silk. Practice nice, even, drafting and this will prevent unwanted lumps and bumps.

2. Your embellishments are falling off

First of all, don’t panic! Draft a super thin veil of wool over your embellishments. If you put too much wool as this veil, you won’t be able to see your embellishments, but a nice thin layer will envelop them and get them to stick and stay put. Coax the embellishments into your project by gently (GENTLY!) rolling them with this cobweb of wool overtop. Sharon’s advice? Think of wool as your felting ‘glue’. Wherever you need something to stick, add a thin veil of wool!

3. Your wool won’t felt into the silk

There’s a few possibilities for this situation. Firstly, you may have rolled your project too aggressively. When your project in your rolling kit, roll gently, gently, gently. Sharon always states the importance of “coaxing” your fibers through the silk. It’s a gentle process. Secondly, the silk you’re attempting to felt may be too thick. We suggest using 8 momme or less silk in order for the wool to be able to work through the weave.  While it’s completely possible to felt through fabric considerably heavier than 8 momme, it takes a considerable amount of time and patience. Thirdly, you may not be using enough water. Don’t be afraid of water! It’s better to have too much water than not enough. If you’re not using enough water, your project won’t felt. 

4. Your project is taking FOREVER to felt

You may not have enough soap. Soap opens the cuticle of the wool and allows it to felt faster. Soap also slightly alters the pH of the wool and makes it a little ‘sticky’. This little ‘stick’ speeds up the felting process. This being said, it is possible to have TOO much soap. You’ll know you have too much soap if suds are bubbling at the sides of your rolling kit when it is rolled up. If this is the case, you can easily solve it by unrolling your bundle, gently blot your project with a clean towel to soak up some of the soap and then sprinkling it with clean water. You may need to repeat if the suds keep coming. 

5. You thought you were done….but now it doesn’t look finished

Keep felting! You can pick up where you left off. Even if you’ve let the scarf dry, you can continue to felt it. Here is Sharon’s go-to “Cigar Roll Method”. Get your piece wet and soapy again. Lay it out with the design up, then tightly roll the piece up on itself. Then wrap it up in a hand towel and roll it firmly on the table, back and forth, 25 times, applying pressure as you roll. Unroll it, then roll it up from the other end, re-wrap it in the towel and re-roll, applying pressure for 25 times. This process helps the scarf ‘full’ evenly across the entire piece. Don’t roll more than 25 times in a row, or you’ll risk felting your item into a permanent jelly roll! Sharon says this trick fixes all sorts of issues!

Perhaps Sharon’s best piece of advice is this:

“In both teaching students, and my own work, I don’t like to use the word ‘mistake’. I think that when we’re learning a creative process, everything we do, whether it turns out how we wanted to or not, is a learning experience. There are no mistakes, there’s only different results.”

She continued to tell me a story about a student who tried her cigar-roll method at home, but rolled 50 continuous times (instead of 25) and ended up felting her piece into a permanent ‘jelly roll’. The student came in, in tears, to seek advice from Sharon. What did they do? They cut her piece into two inch sections and turned it into beautiful flowers instead of a scarf. “See”, says Sharon, “no such thing as mistakes”.

Liked this post about felting problems? Want more great felting advice and inspiration? For a list of our favorite felting tools click here. See the amazing things out students have made here. Check out our full schedule of classes here


  1. Hello Sharon, thank you for posting this site, definitely helpful suggestions and observations💕🐈 Susanna

  2. Sharon Schroeder says

    I was told to use Artfelt paper, but I see a lot of felting in making scarves uses bubble wrap. How can I use the Artfelt paper I have already purchased in making a scarf? I appreciate your suggestions and expertise.

    • The Tin Thimble says

      Hello Sharon,

      We don’t use Artfelt paper in any of our felting projects. Though we know of people who do use it, it just didn’t speak to us the same way. Our method for Nuno felting is to lay down bubble wrap (or in our case, pool covering), then your silk scarf, then your roving and fibers, followed by a layer of nylon mesh netting. We can use this kit over and over and over again, which is great because that means less waste, and less money. From our own years of experience, we can tell you that you don’t need Artfelt paper, though if you like it, you should continue to use it!

  3. I use a dryer because it is way less work than this method if you are felting a massive garment. Just putting that out there for people that you don’t have to roll by hand a bunch of times especially if you can’t because of a disability or if you’re just lazy like me lol.

    • Hannah Arose says

      Hello Kate!

      Thank you for the input, you’re absolutely right. Our beginning level Nuno Felted Scarf class is done in the dryer. It’s such a great way to save stress on your arms, shoulders and back and it works so quickly! When our students run into problems once they head home after the workshop, we find that fixing problems the old fashioned way, via rolling, is the way to go and often eliminates any further issues.

  4. I’ve been using Moreno wool. Can I use coridale also? Just a newbie to Nuno felting, but I love it!

    • Hannah Arose says

      Hello Sis!

      While merino is best for Nuno felting, you certainly can use Corriedale. Keep in mind that Corriedale is a coarser fiber, so it won’t be as soft and the resulting felt may be ‘furrier’ then merino. Happy felting!

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