Felting and Sanders

February 16, 2009


When I bought my house I had visions of my grown son building things like book cases for me. I purchased “man” tools so he could carry out my plans. He made one exquisite storage unit and that was the first and last of that story.  Thus, I had a lonely sander sitting, for 8 years, in my back work room. Nicola had mentioned several times about using a sander and I mistakenly thought she used it with sand paper at the end,  to clarify the wandering fibers that blend and dilute the colors. HAR HAR it seemed a

bit drastic so I never tried it. Today, I read on a blog , sorry for not giving proper credit to the owner, that an electric sander is used in place of HOURS of massaging the wool fibers. There were many discussions about how to prevent electrocution by wearing rubberizes shoes and how water eventually burns out the motor. It sounded daunting and not the least attractive.  Later, I read Nicola presentation of her process to making a felted jacket, the light bulb busted forth like a child with exciting news. I

GOT IT!!! Here are the steps I followed:

1. Spread out double ply plastic to protect my fabric print table from the water.

2. Stretch a matchstick bamboo window shade on top of plastic.

3. A piece of window screening double the length of the finished product –to fold over to make a pouch for the wool.

4. Bubble wrap on top of screening, to the dimension if desired object, allowing for 1inch shrinkage on all 4 sides.
5. Two layers of wool roving each at a 90degree angles with edges hanging over the bubble wrap: spray with water.

6 Pull the screening over the wool, soap with bar soap, flip the bubble wrap over to the bare side repeat step 5, but make sure you have fibers hanging over so as to flip to reverse side.

7. Repeat step 6 on back side, but wrap the left over edges to the top side. And repeat so you have 4-6 layers on each side.

8 Take pieces of wool roving dip in water (easer to manipulate) and lay on the base foundation.

9. Cover with the screening and a piece of floor underlayment. It is like a spongy plastic. This protects the sander from moisture.

10 Turn that power tool ON. Run across the surface horizontally, vertically then diagonally. If soap oozes out wipe immediately with a spare towel for safety reasons. Repeat over and over.

11. Then, to refrain from washing out the soap by pouring boiling water on the wool, I put the entire pouch in my microwave for 2 minutes on high. (This is a studio microwave so it is older and not at powerful as newer models)

12 Returned pouch to bamboo and sanded more.

13 Repeating steps 11 & 12, nuking in microwave about 3 times and within 20 minutes the entire process was completed. NO massaging or rolling so I am not even convinced I needed the bamboo.

14 Delight in the handiwork and be astonished how effortless the process is.

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2 Responses to “Felting and Sanders”

  1. Nicola Says:

    Welcome to the world of the electric sander!


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