Mar 31 2011

Wet & Needle Felting Tutorial:
Embroidered Coaster

Wet & Needle Felting Tutorial: Embroidered Coaster, top

As the summertime has arrived (at last!), I wanted to make something that was spring-ish. Why not welcome the new season with new house items? So, today’s tutorial will show you how to make a basic piece of wet felted coaster, and how to embroider it with needle felting technique. You can add patterns or decorations by wet felting, of course, but I prefer needle felting technique because it can create more detailed design. The tutorial is long and it has a lot of process (sorry!) but once you get started, it should be pretty easy.

What You’ll Need

(For wet felting)

  • wool roving
  • soapy water
  • a pair of plastic gloves
  • a piece of bubble wrap
  • rolling pin
  • tray

*For soapy water, I use kitchen detergent (you can use pretty much any kind of soap); thin down the detergent by adding warm water (about 1:10).

(For needle felting)

  • felting needle
  • felting mat/sponge
  • wool roving

 

Instructions

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1) Spread a piece of bubble wrap (bubble side down) in your tray. Gently pull off a tuft and lay them on the bubble wrap vertically, one on top of the other. Repeat it until the tufts become about 30 percent bigger than the size of your coaster.

2) Lay tufts to cover the first layer, but this time lay them horizontally.

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3) Fold the thin edges inside in order to make the tufts laid evenly.

4) Gently sprinkle warm, soapy water on the tufts. Put the plastic gloves on, and push the tufts down carefully so that they take up the water.

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5) Lay the third layer of tufts vertically, the same as the first layer.

6) Lay the fourth layer horizontally.

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7) Sprinkle soapy water over the wool, and gently stroke the surface. When the wool’s surface stops shifting when you stroke it, rub it hard until it holds together. Turn the wool over, then repeat the step until the fibres hold together. You can see when it’s completely felted by pinching it; if the layers don’t lift up when you pinch it, it’s ready. If not, keep rubbing the wool. I know it’ll take a while, but give it a good elbow grease and you’ll get there!

8) Next, together with the bubble wrap, roll the felt around a rolling pin, then roll it backwards and forwards for about 50 times. Unroll the felt and spray some soapy water, and flatten the surface. Turn the felt through 90 degrees and roll it up again, then roll it backwards and forwards for about 50 times. Repeat the process until the felt has shrunk by about 30 percent from the original size.

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9) Rinse the felt in cold water, and put it between your hands to drain off water. Cut the felt into the shape of your desired coaster. I used a glass as a guide.

10) Put the plastic gloves again, sprinkle some soapy water and rub the felt’s edges.

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11) Rinse the coaster, and pat it dry using old towels. Let it air dry, then iron the surface with low heat for smoother finish. If you want a simple coaster, the mission is complete here!

12) It’s quite hard to see in the picture, but I made this star-shaped coaster in tricolour. Each colour has two layers (one vertical layer and one horizontal layer).

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13) OK, so from now on, it’s embroidery time. Draw the design you are going to embroider on the coaster.

14) Place the coaster on the mat/sponge, then place a fibre on the design. Stab the needle into the fibre and the coaster: each stab will push fibres through the coaster. Keep on stabbing until your design is complete.

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15) Done! If you turn the coaster over, there will be fibres that are pushed through. You can wet felt it again or iron it with low temperature to flatten the flyaway fibres.

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Yes, it takes a while to make it, but I assure you that each process is very simple and enjoyable. Can’t wait to make more of it now!

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