Felt Smackdown, 4 felts will go in only one can emerge victorious!

4 Apr
The number one question I am asked is, what is the difference between types of felt although I go into this in detail on the Posts Whats the diffrence 1 wool , 2 Acrylic and eco-spun & 3 wool felt blends, sometimes you just need a basic visual reference. With that I proudly present the moment you’ve waited 3 posts for…  the Felt Smack-down a grudge match in which 4 felts will be tested but who will come out on top? Insert theme from Rocky here….

These felts will be put through the 6 tests and a winner will be declared after each round.  But first the details;  Each felt square will be cut into a 5×7 squares, both the wool and wool blend are from American Felt and Craft and the acrylic and eco-spun (now called eco-fi) are from my local craft store.

Challenge #1 Appearance


OK well this one is tough since it’s largely dependant on what your looking for personally I love the bouncy loft of the 100% wool but you can declare your own winner….

Challenge #2 Transparency


This is a very basic challenge each felt will be placed on the above scrap booking paper to see the level of transparency.
Acrylic $0.25

Acrylic $0.25

Eco-Felt $0.30

Eco-Felt $0.30


Wool/Rayon Blend $0.75

Wool/Rayon Blend $0.75

Wool 5.00

Wool $5.00

Winner: Wool Blend  with 100% Wool in a close second.

Challenge #3 Stitching

Each of the felts were cut into smaller strips and machine sewn together (wool to wool and so on) with red thread, I gave them 1 good  tug and here are the results.


ecosewn Blendsewn


When I placed the sewn pieces down I noticed that the act of yanking them distorted some more than others so I thought I’d show you that too.


Winner: Tie Wool’s loft almost completely hides the stitches but blend holds a nicer looking seam and wasn’t easily pulled out of shape as much as wool.

Challenge #4 Fuzz Factor

Each of the felts was cut into a free hand circle I then pinched along the edges to see how much fuzz each felt produced:


I also wanted to see how much fuzz was produced with normal usages, I am nothing if not though, so I cut apart my stitched felt (which is why the sample pieces are a bit wonky) and placed a clear return address sticker onto each piece of felt smoothed it down and removed it VIOLA!


Winner: Blend    Second Place:  Wool     Voted most likely a waste of money: Acrylic, seriously it almost has a hole in it at this point!

 Challenge #5 Shrinkage

For this test I threw my 5×7 inch sheets from challenges 1 & 2 into the washer with a few pairs of jeans for agitation and washed them on warm, which here in Arizona means scalding hot, basically the worst conditions for felt.


Winner: Eco-felt Second Place: Acrylic

Challenge #6 The moment you’ve all be waiting for…FIRE!

For this challenge I took a small swatch of each felt equal in size and lit them on fire waited 10 seconds and took a picture of what was left,  in some cases the flame just kind of died out on it’s own but only the acrylic had to be put out before 10 seconds.  All tests were conducted outdoors in a well ventilated area, don’t try this at home.

As silly as this test seems it’s actually a serious matter. If you intend to attach your felt to clothing or make toys that a child might sleep with melting plastics can cause serious burns. Because fire can be extinguished but melted plastic actually sticks to and continues to burn into the skin, melted plastics are far more dangerous in a fire.


The Acrylic did not self extinguish and created a thick black smoke as it melted,  giving off drips of plastic. It burned surprisingly rapidly and frankly between the smoke and the quick burning I got a little nervous and blew it out, so this is it after about 5 seconds. It left behind hard plastic globules (I have always wanted to use that word).

fireEcoThe Eco-felt was a little bit of a slower starter which was surprising considering it’s composition is identical to acrylic I can only assume it was treated with some kind of chemical however once it was ignited it melted very rapidly and created the same signature black smoke. Burnt areas once cool enough to touch (about a full minute after burning) were hard solid plastic masses.


The blend felt did not create any real smoke to speak of and self extinguished almost immediately in fact the only time it seemed to want to burn is when direct flame as applied. The burnt areas created a soft grey ash which when touched fell into dust.


As odd as it sounds I couldn’t actually get the wool to burn at all. I held the lighter to the wool the entire time and this was all I was able to accomplish, there was no smoke although there was a faint smell of burning hair although nothing like the smell of human hair and what I did manage to burn created a soft ash which fell to dust on contact.

  Winner: Wool  Second: Blend

Well there it is, I welcome your questions, comments, or suggestions.



31 Responses to “Felt Smackdown, 4 felts will go in only one can emerge victorious!”

  1. bethany June 18, 2009 at 8:43 am #

    Just as I had suspected…
    You were amazingly thorough!

  2. rock September 17, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    So which one is good for making cushion/pillow cover?

    A: Well for durability I would and washablity I would go with a pre washed blended felt or for a dry clean only but much more impressive and thick look the 100% wool. Never acrylic or ecospun beacuse it will pill ball and tear too easily and would not be good to sleep on both in terms of comfort and in terms of saftey.

  3. jen November 10, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    loved this post. i definitely prefer blend since it seems to have the best of both worlds but i loved seeing how they all compare in a test like this – thanks!

  4. Marisa November 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    Very interesting and thorough. What about bamboo felt (which until today I didn’t even know existed)?

    • americanfeltandcraft November 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

      I love bamboo felt! In fact we were one of the first to start carrying in our store but I haven’t yet tested it, I promise I will put it on my “to do” list and post the results soon.

      • Jane of Glorious Hats April 11, 2011 at 3:35 am #

        Just created some 3D flower hair clips using Bamboo felt. It has a marvelous butter soft hand. What I used is a blend bamboo and rayon. When washed in the washing machine, it stretched a bit. Have not tried your other tests. The sheets I have are a very thin felt. Nice smooth finish and lovely to touch. Trying it for summer – warm weather use.

      • AmericanFeltandCraft April 11, 2011 at 9:00 am #

        Bamboo felt is much pricer at this time but the feel and the workability is amazing! Really there isn’t much else that feels like bamboo felt, it’s like angora without any moral implications! I would LOVE to see the flowers you made!

  5. frustratedcrafter January 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    This is very interesting and informative for a felt craft newbie like me. I didnt know that there are several types of felt. Its just unfortunate that from where I live, we dont have that much craft supplies such as felt (I know now too that the felt that I have is the acrylic type. ). I cant even find a glue thats meant for felt 😦 I am thinking of making some crafts out of felt but after reading your blog, I realize that I dont have the right materials to do them. I know that you have the needed supplies but buying some materials from you would be costly (bec of the shipping; Not from the US). Darn! anyway, this is a great blog! ill put my dreams on hold for a moment till I get my hands on wool or blend 🙂 Thanks@

  6. Angela January 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Thanks for this. I was already leaning towards investing in wool felt, but i loved seeing your tests.

  7. Denise July 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Wow! Very through test of all different kinds of felt! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jane Carlstrom April 11, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Nice test. Personally, the shrinkage IMHO ought to be reversed. I want the felt to shrink, to full further and become denser and pebbled to more resemble traditional hand made wool felt. The 100% wool is sometimes too price for my budget, but oh how I adore it. For my needs a 30 to 35% wool with the rest rayon works well.

    Great blog, glad to have found it.

    • AmericanFeltandCraft April 11, 2011 at 8:56 am #

      A good point! As with dieting shrinkage isn’t always a bad thing! 🙂

  9. B.Frost June 13, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Everything I ever wanted to know! Thanks

  10. Ashley September 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Is there a difference in how much the colors for the different felts bleed? I’d like to make felt applique onesies as a baby shower project. Obviously, I’d wanted them to be machine washable and not have colors bleed onto each other or the onesies. I’d prefer to use a wool felt blend rather than ecofelt but I’ve noticed a lot of the etsy sellers use ecofelt and claim it won’t bleed. Any tips?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft September 30, 2011 at 9:15 am #

      Washing your wool blends will make them thicker and have a more bubbly texture but it will stop any issues with bleeding or shrinking. Other than that your best bet is a synthetic. Try to get the highest quality you can find since it will pill and pull out of shape after awhile but since this is for a baby he or she may out grow it first. Hope this helped.

  11. Shari @For the Little Doll In Your Life December 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    Thank you! This was very helpful information.

  12. Penny Lindlau December 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Stopped by here while searching Christmas crafts. The burn info was very helpful. Good reason to stick to wool if making stockings that actually hang by the chimney! Wool rugs have always been hearth rugs since they do not catch fire from sparks and embers. Please add same info for the bamboo felts! They seem to be the latest and greatest products on the market. The bamboo yarn is a joy to work with, but I am iffy on the felt since most felt projects take more abuse than knit and crochet items.

  13. feltedchicken March 31, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Just found you! Love the information, so interesting, I’m a junkie for any new info about wool & felt!

  14. Carol F in New Mexico April 15, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Excellent comparison! This was the perfect information I needed to start working with wool felt. I think I’ll stick to a blend for my purposes, thanks to your thorough research! Thanks for doing this!

  15. Traci November 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I absolutely love your site it really helped a lot of questions that I had. I have a question. I’m not sure if I missed it or if you have the answer but would like to know how to wash felt blends.

  16. Rhoda December 5, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Thankyou! Just what I wanted to hear. Been debating whether to go acrylic/cheap for felt food or blend/wool. Going to go with what my heart (& hands) tell me, go wool/blend!!
    Had been told by another feltie maker that acrylic is better for washability but the fact that felt foods would get chomped on (my 2 & 4 yr olds) did it without hesitation, think wool/blend be much better. Off to read the washing article, think I should prewash the felt…
    Clippies shall remain acrylic for the cost I think..still debating.
    But thankyou SOOO much!!!!

  17. Diana Ramsey November 17, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

    This was so informative! Unfortunately when I have asked for WOOL felt , heads are shaken, as if I am asking for the impossible. Craft stores only seem to get the acrylic felt, and I don’t like the feel of it. Haven’t seen any wool blend in any stores. Thank you for being so thorough and I also would like to hear about bamboo felt.

  18. Suzanne January 19, 2017 at 12:28 am #

    Hi, making wild kratt costume for a birthday party in Hawaii. Concerned about best felt for 80 degree weather?

  19. Linda February 7, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    I did store display work in the 70s and 80s. We covered the walls surrounding the displays in colored felt that complimented the merchandise. The felt was purchased in a fabric store. I am a textile artist now. I still have some of this felt from the 70s and 80s. I am tempted to use it in my art but want to make sure it has no wool content. Is there a simple, safe test? I am afraid of using the match test, not comfortable with fire. I don’t want to use wool in the art because of conservation issues (clothing moths).

  20. Jolizzy June 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    Thank you. I wish all comparisons were this in-depth and decisive. (Maybe you could do this with political candidates.)

  21. Jia October 7, 2017 at 12:21 am #

    The best comparison read! Thank you.
    From where I’m from it’s only acrylic felt that’s available and after reading this don’t think I want to start any projects with it.
    Before I try to get a order I’d like to know the difference between polyester wool blend?

  22. Mary March 4, 2021 at 4:21 pm #

    Please add to email list- news letter – sales, etc.

  23. Kate Kerwin March 21, 2021 at 8:15 am #

    Hi! This has all been so helpful. I’m new to the felt
    world and have been feeling very overwhelmed by all the options out there. I am trying to find the best felt to use for letters on vintage sweatshirts. Ideally Something that can be washed on gentle/cold and not loose it’s shape. I’ve also had issues with the glue from the wunder under showing when the edges of letters roll up a bit. I sew the letters down but iron them down first so they stay in place. Maybe there is a better method? Thanks in advance!


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