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

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Felt Craft
Arts and Crafts
General Conference
Skill Level 1 Answer-Keys 06.jpg
Year of Introduction: 1956

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

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.[edit]

  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

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

  1. Felt is inexpensive
  2. It can be made in any color
  3. It is durable
  4. Felt can be formed into any shape
  5. Felt can be easily cut

4. List the essential steps in felt manufacture.[edit]

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.

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

a. Pennant[edit]

This video shows how to make a pennant.

b. Bookmark[edit]

c. Refrigerator magnet[edit]

d. Needle case[edit]

e. Similar item[edit]

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

a. Small wall mural[edit]

b. Holiday decoration[edit]

c. Hand puppet[edit]

d. Kitchen knick-knack[edit]

7. Make one of the following, using sewing:[edit]

a. Stuffed animal[edit]

b. Stuffed toy[edit]

c. Tote bag[edit]

d. Bean bag[edit]

References[edit]

  • Wikipedia article on Felt