How to create a perfect nuno felting

from Gaia Gualtieri - 27 November 2013

Gaia Gualtieri

CEO at DHGshop
CEO of DHG DyeingHouseGallery
Gaia Gualtieri

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How to create a perfect nuno felting

One of the things that most fascinate me about nuno felting is that there are no set rules or recipes. Everyone is free to experiment and fine tune the tricks and solutions that work best for them. Even the advice that I am about to give you is entirely subjective as it is based on observations and problems that have come up in my own personal experience and experimentation.

Nevertheless, I hope you find them useful.
Let’s begin!

Tips & Tricks - perfect nuno felting with Gaia Girard

A lesson by Gaia Girard

To obtain a quality nuno felt choose the fabric you work with carefully  according to the project that you wish to make. Light and open weave fabrics work best.

In my work for DHG I have tested a lot of fabrics and here are my notes:

  • chiffon 3.5:

    is a very light, open weave silk that allows you to create a thin, smooth, bright and homogeneous fabric, giving compactness to the work without adding three-dimensionality. It is ideal for soft and impalpable accessories and clothing such as scarves, dresses and summer jackets.

  • chiffon 6:

    guarantees the same advantages as the chiffon 3.5 but with added weight to the fabric. It is ideal for scarves, as well as mid-season and winter clothing.

  • voile 70% cotton – 30% silk:

    gives the fabric the weight of cotton while maintaining the shine of silk. It is great for accessories such as scarves, bags and hats as well as winter clothing. The result has more of a “wrinkled” effect than that of pure silk fabrics.

  • viscose crepe voile:

    viscose, also called artificial silk, gives the same softness of natural fabrics and adapts very well to nuno felting, giving the fabric compactness and three-dimensionality. It is ideal for winter accessories and clothes, plus home accessories such as pillows, runners or tapestries.

  • etamine:

    is a light worsted wool with a compactness similar to viscose with a more “rough” and opaque effect. It is great for coats, winter jackets, bags, hats and home accessories.

  • wool gauze:

    is a pure wool fabric with a very open weave, making it ideal for felting. The final effect is rather “rustic,” while still being very light.

Make a sample swatch before you begin a nuno felting project

It is a fast and efficient way to test new fabrics, combinations and solutions. It is also key in calculating shrinkage, as well as being an excellent tool for future reference.

  • Take your time and spread out the extra fine merino wool fibers as uniformly as possible. To obtain a homogeneous, light and compact nuno felt it is best to work with many thin layers, laid perpendicular to one another.
  • It is very important to use lukewarm water in the beginning stages of your work.  Hot water would cause the the wool to felt too quickly and not allow enough time for it to incorporate the fabric. Only once the fiber has made its way through the weft and warp can you use hot water to accelerate the felting process.
  • Try to move the fabric as little as possible when beginning to massage your work so as to not interfere with the felting process (during which the wool migrates through the weave and hooks itself onto each side of the fabric). The objective is to allow the fibers to distend themselves and to make their way through the fabric’s weave to then begin to incorporate it.
    This is the reason why I recommend laying the fabric on a table and then spreading the wool over it. When nuno felting it is best to use light pressure in the first stages of felting as to not separate the wool from the fabric.

It seems to me like I have told you everything. The rest will have to come from your fantasy and creativity.

Happy nuno felting!

If you liked this article maybe you would also enjoy Video tutorial about nuno felting and basic tecniques with Gaia Girard

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17 Comments for How to create a perfect nuno felting

  1. Bettye Gilmour

    I had never heard of this process until today when a newsletter from a yarn shop in Kingman, AZ came and they are offerring a class next month. Felting wool to make hats or bags does not sufficiently intice me, but the notion of combining the wool and silk to make a new fabric does intrigue me. I have been searching out info about the technique and found your post. Your information is helpful and it gave me an idea of what occurs. I think the class will be a lot of fun and worth the cost and drive to Kingman.

  2. Inna

    Grazie, è molto utile.

  3. Annalisa Chelli

    Ciao Inna, siamo felici di esserti stati di aiuto.

  4. Sevda Baran

    Can you tell more about the photo. How you achived the texture and pattern?

  5. Gaia Gualtieri

    Hi Sevda!
    Actually the piece you refer to is only one among several pieces/styles Gaia Girard has developed when cooperating with us. Unfortunately she does not provide instructions for each piece because her tips for a perfect nuno felting focus on the general technique and not on any specific styles. I am sorry.

    Please let us know if you need any other info.

  6. natasa

    i would like to ask a quick q.before i dive in to the project…i have a beutiful cotton ….pretty light(see through)fabric…it was a summer dress,i love the pattern,and id like to try to nuno felt it with merino….any advice before i mess up lol?

  7. Gaia Gualtieri

    Hi! Well without seeing the fabric it is hard to give any advice. By the way if it is light as you say I am sure it will work perfectly. I have seen great nunofelted pieces made using cotton fabrics. Please send us pictures as soon as you have finished your piece.

  8. Blanca

    I’ve been watching nunu felting videos for a long time and this is by far the best.
    I especially appreciate the detailed instructions on fabric choices.

  9. Gaia Gualtieri

    Thank you! Are you going to try it then?

  10. Juliegoddess

    I’d like to try to nuno felt through a lightweight rayon sarong. Anyone ever tried this?

  11. Gaia Gualtieri

    We do not have any similar experience but as far as it is lightweight we think it should work fine.

  12. D. Gust

    Will 100% silk Kimono fabric accept the felting process?

  13. Annalisa Chelli

    Hi dear, silk kimono could be too heavy for the felting process. You need light fabric to help fibers felting.

  14. Beckie Collett

    Can you felt light weight polyester scraps or silk velvet? placing them on roving with roving on edges to stick…

  15. Annalisa Chelli

    Hi Beckie, yes you can even use little weight of polyester or silk velvet.

  16. Heather

    Hello! Could you post a few pictures of examples of each of the fabrics so we could have a visual? It’s hard to imagine the differences you outlined, thanks for this post it’s helpful!

  17. Annalisa Chelli

    Hi dear Heather, you are surely right. More few pictures would be helpful but unfortunately we don’t have them and we are not able to do them now. The blog article is quite old. Thanks for appreciating our work anyway!

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