So you just got a great deal on felt sheets from a tag sale and you want to know how good a deal you actually got.
Is it wool, acrylic, or blend?
If you can’t tell by looking or your just ridiculously optimistic. There is a simple way to find this out called the burn test, and yes this is dangerous and no I didn’t make this up so I can set stuff on fire.
OK, when I say dangerous you should know it’s not, jumping 12 buses on a motorcycle dangerous, but it’s definitely cutting onions dangerous. And I know it seems like I have an obsession with setting felt on fire, let me assure you this is NOT the case.
First things first you’re going to need a small sample of your material your willing to part with, a plate or pot and a long match or lighter used for lighting BBQ’s, if you don’t have that I’d suggest tongs and whatever you do have. Basically get yourself setup like Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, (the scientist from the muppetts.) you don’t want to be too close to the felt when you light it up since plastic felts (acrylic and eco-felt) will melt and trust me you don’t want that to drip onto your hand.
Drum roll please….. now carefully set your sample ablaze…
Does it emit black smoke, smell like a Tupperware top on your dishwashers heating element and form a hard ball at the end, that’s eco- felt (sold under the names eco-fi and eco-spun) or acrylic.
Your felt is made of plastic these felts usually retail form about $0.25 a 9x 12 sheet, usually less when bought in yardage.
Does it form a soft gray ash? With no real smoke or plastic smell.
That’s most likely a blend, these retail for anywhere from $0.75 to $3.50 a 9 x 12 sheet, again less in yardages.
If you have a difficult time keeping it lit and it turns into a fine ash that practically disappears when you touch it. Hallelujah you have wool!! Commence victory dance…Keep in mind that the high wool ratio blends will be hard to distinguish from 100% wool since the burn test reflects the main composition of the felt, but regardless you have some very nice felt on your hands. Prices in wool vary widely by thickness, quality type of dying process and country of origin so giving you an esitmate on it would be impossible.
There’s got to be another way! I can’t bear to burn my precious felt!
What you don’t want to go around yard sales with a pair of tongs and a lighter turning peoples felt sheets into mini bonfires… fine … here’s another easy, although less accurate trick. If the sheets are a little shiny and slide across each other easily they are likely acrylic although some blends may be a tad shiny as well and both may sometimes show no shine at all.
Blends are often cut and put under things like lamps and display pieces precisely because they will not slip easily, the same is true for wool, so if it helt there must be wool in your felt (actually this isn’t 100% but it’s as much info as your going to get without a match.)
I know much less fun than the fire thing huh?
Happy Crafting! And yes I know helt isn’t a word, it was a tough rhyme cut me some slack!