How to felt the prefelt, planning and organizing your work:
- choose your materials and prefelt in the desired colors;
- create a design and plan for your project;
- plan out each step of the project.
Before beginning a project, it is always best to create a test swatch of at least 20×20 cm so as to verify the performance of the prefelt and the fibers as well as to ascertain the final result (be sure to carry out each step of the work process and to include all of the materials, and only those materials, that you are planning to use in the finished product).
Once you have confirmed that the final result of the swatch is as desired you can move on to the realization of the definitve piece, beginning with the positioning of the prefelt and all of the other materials according to the projected design.
Once you have positioned all of your materials, you can begin to felt. Felting is the first phase of handling wool and is always carried out through fulling (or rolling), which, through mechanical movement and the use of water and soap, allows the wool to compact.
Initially both the prefelt and the fibers will not undergo substantial changes in length or width but with continued processing, the material will begin to thin out and to shrink. Continue to work the material until it becomes uniform, that is, until the fibers (or other materials) are well incorporated into the prefelt. Keep in mind that DHG’s superlight prefelt usually shrinks anywhere from 20% to 40% depending on the intensity of the fulling.
As previously mentioned, fulling allows us to achieve a desired thickness and shape. Fulling can be carried out using various techniques, differing based on the size of the work which you plan to create, which are:
- rolling the material using cold and hot water;
- squeezing the material in cold and hot water;
- vigorously pounding with a stick or club;
- manipulating the material (by placing it on a flat surface and twisting it) while inside a plastic bag;
- in a washing machine.
To use a washing machine to full your work you must follow a few specific steps: first and foremost you must use a top loading washing machine and not use water exceeding 50°C.
Then follow these steps: place the piece you wish to full in the washing machine, turn it on and let it run for 10 minutes. Open the washing machine and check the fulling process. As previously mentioned, fulling has been successful if the piece becomes thin, compact and maintains its shape and size (once it is dry, it will also be resistant to wear).
If necessary, continue to full for another 2/3 minutes. Lastly, finish your work with a rinse and spin cycle.
At this point it is necessary to lay out your work so as to give it an even surface. For best results, simply pull the edges of the prefelt to obtain the correct shape and size and to also smooth out any wrinkles. If necessary, adjust the shape by working it with your hands. Lastly, dry your work, preferably on a flat surface.
You can iron your work as well, by either ironing the wrong side of the prefelt or by placing a damp cloth in between the prefelt and the iron.
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