Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Arts and Crafts/Felt Craft

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Felt Craft
General Conference

Arts and Crafts

Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 1956



1. From what fiber is felt made? What gives it its tensile strength?

Wool fiber under 40X magnification

Felt is made from wool. Wool hairs are covered with tiny scales (see photo) which cause them to interlock with one another. The scales on a wool fiber are similar to the scales on a pine cone.

2. List 15 uses of felt.

  1. Crafts
  2. Felt-tipped pens
  3. Interfacing (sewing)
  4. Hats
  5. Shoe insoles
  6. Polishing wheels
  7. Roofing felt
  8. Gloves
  9. Slippers
  10. Yurt walls (a yurt is a Mongolian home)
  11. Furniture pads
  12. Table covers
  13. Pool tables
  14. Gaskets
  15. Rugs
  16. Tents
  17. Clothing
  18. Textile art
  19. Drum cymbal stands to protect the cymbal from cracking
  20. Chair feet pads to protect the floor
  21. Pathfinder Honor Patches

3. Give three reasons why felt is a good material for handicrafts.

  1. Felt is inexpensive
  2. It can be made in any color, including white and bright colors
  3. It is durable
  4. Felt can be formed into any shape
  5. Felt can be easily cut
  6. Felt is easy to sew, and can accept fabric glue
  7. It is soft and pleasant to work with

4. List the essential steps in felt manufacture.

Felt is made by a process called wet felting, where the natural wool fiber is stimulated by friction and lubricated by moisture (usually water), and the fibers move at a 90 degree angle towards the friction source and then away again, in effect making little "tacking" stitches. Only 5% of the fibers are active at any one moment, but the process is continual, and so different 'sets' of fibers become activated and then deactivated in the continual process.

This "wet" process utilizes the inherent nature of wool and other animal hairs, because the hairs have scales on them which are directional. The hairs also have kinks in them, and this combination of scales (like the structure of a pine cone) are what react to the stimulation of friction and cause the phenomenon of felting. It tends to work well only with woolen fibers as their scales, when aggravated, bond together to form a cloth.

From the mid-17th to the mid-20th centuries, a process called "carroting" was used in the manufacture of good quality felt for making men's hats. Rabbit or hare skins were treated with a dilute solution of the mercury compound mercuric nitrate. The skins were dried in an oven when the thin fur at the sides went orange - carrot color. Pelts were stretched over a bar in a cutting machine and the skin sliced off in thin shreds, the fleece coming away entirely. The fur was blown onto a cone-shaped colander, treated with hot water to consolidate it, the cone peeled off and passed through wet rollers to cause the fur to felt. These 'hoods' were then dyed and blocked to make hats. This toxic solution and the vapors it produced resulted in widespread cases of mercury poisoning among hatters, which may have been the origin behind the phrase "mad as a hatter". The United States Public Health Service banned the use of mercury in the felt industry in December 1941.


8 steps to make felt

1. Start with raw wool. It can be straight off the animal without further processing or you can purchase carded wool off the internet or at craft shows. Any color will do.

2. Assemble wool and liquid dish soap near a sink with running water or use a table top and a bowl of warm water.

3. Pull a small amount of wool apart and fluff it up by continually pulling it apart. Set this pile of wool aside.

4. Wet your hands with warm water and add a very small drop of liquid dish soap to your hands.

5. Pick up the pile of wool and gently roll it between the palms of your hands to form a ball. As the wool begins to felt, press harder so it will stiffen even more.

6. When the wool is firm, stop rolling and rinse with cold water.

7. Press it in a towel to remove excess water.

8. Allow the wool to air dry.

You can also watch this short video on how Mongolians make felt with traditional methods.

5. Make two of the following, using at least two different colors of felt:

a. Pennant

This video shows how to make a pennant. A cover for a scrapbook is a very similar project.


b. Bookmark

There are lots of cute, fun, and interesting bookmarks you can make. Again, YouTube is your friend.

Ladybug Bookmark

  1. Materials: Red felt, black felt, two googlie eyes, thin black pipe clears, scrap cardboard (cereal box or pasta box weight), fabric glue, white glue, black marker
  2. Cut cardboard to width and length desired
  3. Wrap the cardboard in black felt. Glue on with white glue
  4. Cut red felt into a oval shape for the lady bug body
  5. Punch out or cut out 6 black spots
  6. With fabric glue attach the spots (or sew on)
  7. Add 6 legs (3 sets) with thin pipe cleaners on top of the black bookmark base and under the ladybug body
  8. With fabric glue (or sew) the lady bug body to the black felt bookmark, leaving a black square for the head area showing
  9. Trim the square top into the rounded head of the ladybug
  10. Mark the wings on with the black marker
  11. Set aside so the glue can dry

c. Refrigerator magnet

Similar idea to the bookmark, but glue on a magnet instead.

d. Needle case

Directions for a heart shaped needle case. Remember to use two colors of felt.


e. Similar item

Here are some cute felt finger puppets (2 to 4 colors). There is a link to printable patterns from the page. These are similar in size and complexity to bookmarks and magnets.

What else can we say - go crazy with felt!

6. Make one of the following, using at least four different colors of felt:

a. Small wall mural

This could be a nature or Biblical theme, or maybe felt the Pathfinder flag. You might also attach your mural to a notebook or photo album cover. Let your imagination go free and have fun.

b. Holiday decoration

Here are some holiday presents from felt, felt ordainments and felt Christmas trees. These are just examples, so look around YouTube for ideas. Be sure to use four colors of felt as per the requirements.


c. Hand puppet

A good tutorial on making a felt hand puppet and directions for:

Here is a much simpler hand puppet.

Making a puppet is also Requirement #1 of the Puppetry honor so consider tackling both honors together.

d. Kitchen knick-knack

After the ladies talks, she does show how to make some stockings for kitchen utensils. You could easily decorate these to include enough colors.

A cute little hot chocolate cup out of felt. Don't use it for actual hot chocolate though.

7. Make one of the following, using sewing:

a. Stuffed animal

Here are some stuffed animals (or puppets if you prefer)

b. Stuffed toy

Some cute baby decoration stuffed animal toys from felt. Good beginner project.

c. Tote bag

Here is a video on making a bag with felt.

d. Bean bag

A simple way to make a felt beanbag that looks cool is to take 6 large squares of 6 different bright colors of felt and stitch them together into a cube. Build it inside out, stitching on a sewing machine until you are near the end. Than turn it right side out, fill with beans, rice, or lentils and hand stitch it closed.

Here is another take on felt bean bags.

References

  • Wikipedia article on Felt

Plenty of different felt crafts