This guest post was written by Marla Canfield Clark for Creative Dish.
Felt is a great material to use for crafting, home décor projects, and fashion. It is easy to cut, sew, glue, and embellish, and it comes in many colors. The key to using felt is to pick the correct type for your project.
1. Craft Felt
Craft felt is a generic term for 100% synthetic, man-made felt. The felt is mainly acrylic, polyester, rayon or a rayon/viscose blend. Craft felt comes in many colors and styles. This type of felt is widely available at major craft chains and online.
Most craft felt comes in thin pre-cut 9”x12” sheets. However, you can find craft felt by the yard. In addition to a wide assortment of beautiful colors, craft felt is also available in glitter sheets, self stick adhesive backed sheets, and with stiffener added.
Craft felt is best used in projects such as: Children’s crafts, seasonal holiday crafts, school, or camp crafting. Try these:
2. Eco Friendly Felts
There is now a popular felt on the market made using eco-fi. Eco-fi is a polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The look and feel of eco-fi felt is very similar to original polyester craft felt, however it is slightly stiffer. The felt is available with glitter, in rainbow colors, felt numbers, and a line of embossed patterns.
Eco-fi craft felt is widely available at major craft chains and on the internet. Buy thin, pre-cut sheets or buy it by the yard. Check the felt packaging for the eco-fi name to make sure you are buying felt made from recycled plastic bottles.
Another felt available is a bamboo/rayon blend. Bamboo is considered a sustainable fiber as it is a fast growing crop that can grow practically anywhere, releases more oxygen than trees, and does not need chemical fertilizers. There is some debate about how “green” the process is to turn the plant fibers into usable bamboo thread. However, it is certainly more eco friendly than 100% synthetic materials. Bamboo felt is available under the brand name Xotic felt.
Use Eco friendly felt for: all the same types of crafts as regular craft felt. Additionally, use the embossed patterns (alligator or decorative) for small home décor crafts. Try these:
3. Blended Wool Felt
Blended wool felt refers to felt that is actually made with real wool. There are two common types of blended wool felt used in home crafting, the 35% wool/65% rayon blend and the 20% wool/80% rayon blend.
One major difference between blended wool felt and craft felt is that wool is used in making the felt. The result is a soft, luxurious felt that actually has some of the characteristics of real wool. When comparing polyester craft felt to blended wool felt, the blended felt will have a nice, nubby texture. Some of the 35% wool/65% rayon felts also have heathered coloring. This is because the wool fibers are interwoven which results in a rich, two tone effect.
Although the 20% wool/80% rayon felt is less costly than the 35% wool/65% blend, many merchants sell them for the same price. The wool felt is available online and in major chain stores that carry fabric. Blended wool felt comes in over 100 colors. This felt may be purchased in sheets and by the yard. Blended felt is more expensive than craft felt, but still reasonably priced.
Recommended uses for blended felt include: Home décor crafting such as pillows, table runners and garlands, heirloom quality holiday ornaments, and patterned sewing crafts using wool felt. Try this:
4. 100% Wool Felt
Unlike blended wool felt, as the name suggests 100% wool felt is made from 100% wool. 100% wool felt comes in thicknesses of 1.2 mm, 2mm, 3mm, and 5mm. Real 100% wool felt is sold by the yard and is quite expensive. This felt has a luxurious feel and is used in professional apparel and home décor applications.
100% wool felt is available online and by the yard in some retail stores selling fabric.
Recommended uses for 100% wool felt include: 1.2 mm felt may be used for making hats, clothing, pillows, and other home décor items. 1.2-2 mm may be used for children’s footwear and slippers. 2mm and 3mm felts are best used for fashion, fashion accessories, hats, tabletop décor, and computer accessories. 5mm felt is best for wall coverings, decorative hanging room dividers, and wall art. Try this:
5. Needle Punch Felting – 100% Wool Roving
Needle punch is a technique using wool roving and needles to create a decorative effect on clothing and home décor, as well as creating cute critters and dolls. Wool roving is a piece of wool which has been combed, formed into a clump, and twisted to hold the fibers together. There are many tutorials and kits for projects that can be made using the needle punch technique. Try this:
Marla Canfield Clark, editor of www.creativedish.com features modern, easy craft and cooking for today’s busy families.