All your felt questions answered* Part 2: What is bamboo felt?

23 Aug

All of your felt questions will be answered in our 5 part series*

What is bamboo felt?

*Provided you have less than 5 questions about wool felt fabrics and that they are the same questions I will be answering.

I get emails nearly everyday asking some basic questions about felt fabrics. I thought I would re-post the top 5. Of course if your question isn’t here email me at customerservice@feltandcraft.com and I’d be happy to help any way I can.  So here we go with…

Bamboo felt

Question 2: What is Bamboo felt?

The currently available bamboo felt is a felt fabric made from a blend of two rayons. One rayon is made from bamboo fibers, and one rayon is derived from other sources, most commonly wood pulp. These two rayons are  then combined through commercial needle felting to create what is refered to as bamboo felt.

What you want details? I swear I heard a yes, so here goes:

 Bamboo stalks contain fibers

Bamboo cellulose fiber before being processed into bamboo rayon.

These Bamboo fibers can be woven into a stiff and rough fabric, similar to linen or hemp fabrics.

Bamboo fabrics

Fabric made with bamboo not made into rayon.

If the bamboo fibers are first turned into a rayon the structure of the material being made changes.

bamboo felt rayon fibers

Regenerated cellulose bamboo fiber (AKA Bamboo Rayon)

All rayon fibers are then combined by machine usually by needle felting

Rayons are layered and put into a machine which uses needles to create felt.

You cannot actually “felt” or create a soft smooth fabric with bamboo fibers without first processing it into a rayon.

Bamboo rayon fabric

Finished Bamboo rayon felt

So it may help to know how rayon is made:

Rayon fabric is the product of any cellulose fiber like cotton, bamboo, or most commonly wood pulp, —usually from pine and spruce trees, which is processed to create a regenerated cellulose fiber (fancy phrase for turned into diffrent, softer, easier to work with material.)

So what are the benefits of a bamboo felt if it’s just a rayon felt?

*Starting with the fastest growing grass like bamboo rather than a slower growing tree fiber makes bamboo a more sustainable fiber to work with.

*Bamboo is great for the planet, it produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees, it also prevents soil erosion.

*Since bamboo has no real threats in terms of pest nearly all of the bamboo grown in the world is grown organically with no pesticides, fertlizers or herbicides used.  And all rayons are 100% biodegradable.

*Bamboo is made up of smooth rounded fibers which are very soft even on extremely sensitive skin. It has a buttery feel to and is very lightweight.

*Bamboo felt is a beautiful fabric to work with, it has the softness of a cashmere, and the sheen of a silk  it flows and drapes like silk and cashmere too! It’s no wonder that bamboo rayons are now showing up on fashion runways.

*Rayon fibers, bamboo rayons especially, carry dyes very well and so they can be used to create very vibrant felt colors.

*Bamboo is also hypoallergenic and highly absorbant.

What are the drawbacks of bamboo felt?

*Chemicals are used in the production of all rayons, although technology seems to be moving towards fewer chemicals and new techniques for creating regenerated cellulose fibers are in the works.

*Rayon fibers become very weak when wet and do have a tendency to shrink when washed. Bamboo felt will shrink and dry cleaning is recommended. Never machine wash an item made from rayon felt try to hand wash if possible.  I have not noticed a diffrence in the strength of bamboo felt versus other felts.

*Bamboo felt is a little on the pricey side but it is a new fabric to the market so I am sure the prices will go down.

Wondering where you can buy bamboo felt?

We sell the bamboo felt sheets, bamboo felt fat quarters and smaller sample packs of bamboo felt on our website.

What is bamboo felt good for?

Bamboo felt is great for any application where you might normally use a 100% wool felt. It’s higher price point means it’s usually used for special or important pieces like Christmas ornaments, gifts, keepsakes, stuffies, baby booties, etc.

~Andie

2 Responses to “All your felt questions answered* Part 2: What is bamboo felt?”

  1. Shelby August 23, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    EXCELLENT post!!!!!

    • johninsouthjersey September 1, 2016 at 2:19 am #

      Thanks for the “Felt Lesson.” I’ll be emailing you with a specific question concerning felt elbow patches.

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