Tag Archives: freezer paper

Felt Lab- 5 methods for cutting felt tested.

16 Aug

cutlabheader

Felt is a great crafting medium for at least a megaton of reasons one of which is the fabric fibers are tangled together and therefore they do not require seams to prevent fraying. This makes felt perfect for applique or detail pieces. Cutting simple felt shapes like squares, circles etc can be accomplished by simply holding the pattern near the center with the thumb while rotating the piece as you cut, but cutting smaller or detailed felt pattern pieces can be tricky. I have written about this before: Here  But since this is something I literally do everyday I thought it could use a more through evaluation.

Here are 5 well known methods (if you know of others I would love for you to let me know in the comments below) broken down and analyzed. These opinions are obviously my own and you may find other methods work better or worse for you.

The felt cutting methods are, freezer paper, a commercial spray called No Pins, packing tape, chalk outline and actual pins. The felt used is a wool rayon blend in black. I am going to break this down into 5 categories and then let you know the overall winner and why.

Catergory 1 Fuss

How hard is it to locate the product? Does this add additional cost or steps?

Freezer Paper-  Finding freezer paper sized to go through your printer can be difficult and printable freezer paper will NOT work with laser printers. It is however fairly easy to trace and draw on if you aren’t working off a printed pattern. Freezer paper in rolls is available in the bag and plastic wrap area of your local store. The rolled freezer paper is not the same as the sheets sold to go through printers, these sheets are too thin and curly and will jam up most printers even if you manage to cut it to the perfect size. You will also need an iron and an ironing board.

No Pins- I ran across this brand spray, which is a temporary adhesive for paper patterns, in a quilting store. It works by spraying onto the back of a pattern, pressing it into place and ironing to set. I had never seen the product so I am not sure how easy it is to locate. You will also need an iron and an ironing board.

Tape-  You can use any clear tape but packing tape is my go to, the cheaper the better. I find I do have to clean my scissors blades after a long day of cutting. Packing tape is easy super easy to locate, easy to transport, inexpensive and always at the ready and can be used to cover nearly any size template. It does make that classic tape sound so if you plan to craft while waiting in the hall of your kids karate class be prepared for some odd looks.

Trace – Typically you can trace with something much easier than chalk so the ease of use on a color other than black would be much better. I used a compressed chalk with a brush but tracing pens, chalk etc can be found at a craft store and may work better.

Pins-  Chances are you have some of these old standbys lying around. But if not they come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are pretty inexpensive they can usually even be located in the random house junk isle of the grocery store. They aren’t that easy to transport unless you have a needle book or pin cushion – otherwise one spill can make cleaning out your purse a real adventure. You also have to be careful where they end up which is less than ideal for you fellow couch crafters.

WINNER TAPE – while tape and trace are both very portable, locating tape is much easier than any other item on this list.

cutchalk

Ease of use

Can it be used anywhere? Do you need additional tools? How portable is this technique? Is it messy? Does it make trash? How easy is it to cut?

Freezer Paper-  You need an iron and ironing board so this is not the most portable method. The paper sticks to the felt making for very easy cleanup and creates minimal waste. Freezer paper is reuseable up to 6 times depending on the quality of your brand. And the freezer paper actually helps hold the felt stiff so cutting is SUPER easy.  Nothing shifted and lines were easy to follow, the stiffness of the paper did make curves a bit more tricky to round. The paper can also lead you into a false sense of security with the size of your cuts, you may find they are too thin to hold together without the paper.

No Pins-  Oh boy! Protect your work surface! This is literally spray glue, you were warned. No matter who you are there will be over-spray and it will be gummy and sticky and you will wonder what has become of your life. Surprisingly it stuck down very easily and ironing did not seem to be needed, but I am nothing if not a rule follower so I ironed for you dear reader. Dispite it being a lot of steps the pattern held firmly and was very easy to cut and easy to go back over in the areas I missed the first time. So while the attaching experience was a pain the cutting was actually quite easy and very easy to get the proper cuts. That being said it is NOT portable unless you pre- prepare your pieces, it is messy, and did I mention you have to iron?  The pieces are said to be reusable but I haven’t tested.

Tape-  Take it with you! You can tape pieces down nearly any place. Getting it down could not be faster simply cut around your image (not exactly) and tape down. 5 seconds. It won’t move if you use classic packing tape, although it will shift as you cut and pieces start to fall away from the attached areas. Cut high detailed or small areas first to minimize any issues with shifting. The template will fall away after you cut it and the tape will have stiffened it making it reusuable and more sturdy. There will be some tape waste and you may need to clean your scissors with rubbing alchol to clear off any stickiness.

Trace – Again typically you wouldn’t use chalk unless the surface was very dark there are pens and markers available for this with “ink” washes away when wet but frankly I don’t like to wet my work, I don’t have the patience for it to dry or the fortitude not to assume it will destroy something (which very rarely happens)

My point being that this may not be a the best assessment of tracing. Cutting the template to outline was a pain, basically you have to cut your shape twice, with this method. The chalk went on easy and wasn’t nearly as messy as I assumed…until I cut it, then little flecks got on the scissors and I had to clean them off a few times during the cut. The cut was very accurate because I could clearly see my piece as I worked but this was offset by the flopping of the piece as I moved it around because unlike the other methods nothing was helping hold the felt taunt. The thin areas were much harder to cut without paper. The chalk didn’t hold detail as well as I would have liked and your ability to handle the piece is limited because the chalk will move. This method produced no trash and was very simple.

Pins-  Right away I learned placing the pins on these small pieces would be difficult. I had to move them around as I cut and any area not actually holding a pin moved away from the template. Details were extremely hard to cut because the template and the paper kept wanting to separate. The upside is there was no extra trash however you are limited on how much you could reuse the piece before the holes would make it unusable. You can pin anyplace without a lot of fuss so that’s an advantage.

WINNER TAPE – Tape is my ride or die – simply because it is so easy and quick to work with, easy to locate, it’s cheap and works with any template.

HONORABLE MENTION FREEZER PAPER – Freezer paper loses out big because of the need to iron BUT it brings up the rear with accuracy and ease to cut. Ironing pieces and setting them aside makes this a great portable option.

cutnopins

Release

Does it remove cleanly? Does it fray or pull the fibers, distort or tear the shape?

Freezer Paper-  Peels off perfectly. No residue, no distortion no tearing.

No Pins-  NOPE – even with my best effort the image was distorted and the smaller pieces tore and stuck to the paper. Fibers got pulled up. I think this product is best used on standard fabrics. 😦

Tape-  Piece falls loose, no issues no distortion, no residue, The cut around the star was too thin and didn’t hold but the tape wasn’t at fault for that.

Trace – No residue stayed in the fibers, no distortion, no tearing although I did have to dust off a few areas.

Pins-  No visible holes, no distortion, no tearing.

WINNER FREEZER PAPER –  Clean and easy release.

HONORABLE MENTION TAPE – Tape also clean and easy but pulls away as you cut.

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Accuracy

Did it work, that seems pretty important.

Freezer Paper-  Works like a dream

No Pins-  The mess, the ironing, the distortion…hard pass.

Tape- Works great.

Trace – Results were pretty good.

Pins-   Results were pretty good.

WINNER FREEZER PAPER – Freezer paper

HONORABLE MENTION TAPE – Tape – oh how I love you packing tape.

cutlabBonus Points

Can you reuse it?

Freezer Paper– Yes

No Pins– Why would you want to? But can says yes.

Packing Tape– Template yes, tape no.

Tracing– No waste. Nothing to reuse.

Pins – Reuseable.

Overall ranking

  1. Freezer Paper – Excellent  precision felt cutting. (but ironing boo) 
  2. Packing Tape – Easy, low key and gets the job done.
  3. Pins – Tricky and potentially dangerous
  4. Tracing – I miss the sturdiness of the template. Floppy. 
  5. No Pins  – too many steps, makes the felt all fuzzy. 

 

What are your thoughts? What works well for you? Had any better luck with products like No Pins? Let me know in the comments.

~Happy Crafting~

Andie

 

 

Cutting Detailed Letters and Shapes from Felt

30 Apr

How to cut letters from Felt - tons of tips

Letters and complex shapes can be difficult to cut from felt – when accuracy really counts. And pins are cumbersome to use on smaller pieces

Printable freezer paper also called quilters paper solves these problems and makes it a breeze to use up those smaller felt scraps. Quilter’s freezer paper also adds a rigidity that makes it easy to accurately cut small or complex shapes from amazingly small pieces of felt.

You’ll find it’s a life saver when  mass producing  felt items like party favors or making a felt flower bouquet.  All without damaging or staining your felt.

You might also want to check out Andie’s method for cutting small and detailed shapes without freezer paper for small projects.

 A quick freezer paper refresher:

Freezer paper is not the same as parchment, butcher, or waxed paper. 

 Printed sized quilter’s freezer paper is a must (we sell ours here as Felter’s Friend)

You do not want to use the rolled freezer paper sold at the grocery store for this craft for two reasons:

1: You will have to cut the paper into printer sized sheets and given the thinness and curl even with precision they may still jam.

2: Since these pieces will be handled a lot while you are cutting them out the curl of rolled freezer paper can cause the paper to dislodge more easily grocery store versions also adhere less strongly so you may find yourself getting very frustrated especially if you want to reuse the templates or cut intricate shapes.

Use the right tool for the job you won’t regret it.

Plan out your templates in your favorite photo editing program.

 One sheet can be use on multiple colors so pack them in tightly and use every scrap of freezer paper. No need to reverse letters or shapes print your templates exactly the way you want your felt pieces to look. When choosing a font or a shape look for thick lines-  the thicker the better. . Felt less than 1/4″ thick can and will tear.

felt tear - cutting felt

 To print on freezer paper

Print onto the matte (feels like regular paper) side NOT  the shiny side.

Since quality isn’t important print on the fast setting and save some ink.  Black and white prints will work for most projects however color printing is very helpful for layered projects (see more on this below.)

Freezer paper templates

Ironing freezer paper to Felt

Cut your templates loose before ironing them onto to felt this makes it easier to position pieces and make the most  of your felt.

Letters can be broken up to fit onto your felt scraps.

Freezer paper will stick to acrylic felt however it may not adhere firmly enough for open centered letters; the synthetic setting on the iron doesn’t fully melt the freezer paper backing. Bamboo felt is very soft and it may be difficult to remove the freezer sheets once ironed on.

Wool or wool blend felt works best.

Iron freezer paper templates to wool/ blend felt using the wool setting.  (about 30 seconds)

How to cut felt letters

Felt Cutting Tips

Once your templates have printed cut away extra paper around shapes or letters, removing bulk first keeps your cuts accurate.

Start slowly and cut inward you can always cut more but you can never cut less!

Cutting curves can be tricky it helps to cut deep lines to points on your templates. Then cut away in the opposite direction, this will make little triangles at each curve. Now move your scissors around the curves

Image

 Consider using smaller scissors for tight spaces.

Cutting Open Centers from Felt

Cut open centers from felt

 If you cut your words straight you can easily curve them after they are cut which also helps save felt.

Cutting felt shapes with Printer freezer paper sheets

Cutting  layered template pieces from felt 

When cutting a layered piece it helps to print in color, no need to print each template piece separately!

Iron shape to first color, cut out felt and peel off.

Cut away the color you just completed and proceed to the next color.

Quality freezer paper sheets can be reused again and again for each color.

cutting layers from felt

Each time it will adhere a little less firmly but I was able to use each piece up to 6 times.

Interested in more freezer paper/ felt magic?

Check out our DIY printed felt sheet tutorial or stop by the store!

DIY Printed Felt American Felt and Craft 160 colors of wool blend felt

If you like it then you should put a pin on it! We ❤  Pinterest!

Cutting detailed felt letters and shapes

DIY printed (stenciled) felt

9 Apr

DIY Printed Felt Lets face it felt is a pretty amazing medium to work in but  it does have its limitations chief among them is the lack of pattern.

Polyester patterned felt is available in very limited prints but what if you’re a felt purist or your imagination refuses to be constrained by commercially available choices? You have felt visions, nay dreams which you cannot ignore. You seem like a  free-thinker, I like that. So I’m here to help you… and I brought freezer paper!

Prepare to have your mind blown…unless you’ve seen this before in which case settle back down and don’t ruin it for the rest of the class! Printed Felt Sheets Tutorial

You will need:

Freezer Paper AKA grease proof paper – Printer sized if you plan to use a printer

X-acto Knife or Scalpel & Cutting Board

Acrylic Paint & Textile Medium or fabric paint.

Wool or Wool Blend felt

Sponge Brush

A Vision (or templates)

Create stencil.

Cheveron Template American Felt and Craft - The Blog

The first step is to create a stencil to work with. You will need to be able to cut away the area you plan to paint so simple outlines work best. Making the areas to be cut away a darker color will help keep your head from spinning when you try to figure out parts to cut later. Anything the freezer paper covers will stay the color of the felt. Whatever you cut away will become the print. 

Stenciling on felt

The templates for these 6 patterns are posted free through our store if your interested in any of these styles.

Freezer paper in rolls

Freezer paper can be bought in printer sized sheets or in rolls at the grocery store in the sandwich bag and plastic wrap isle. It is not the same as parchment, butcher, or waxed paper. The thinner, grocery sold freezer paper (rolled) is more opaque and will allow for easy tracing, but it also tears more easily and is a bit more cumbersome to cut.

Printer sized freezer paper

Printer sized freezer paper sheets (quilters paper) , thicker and sturdier than rolled freezer paper.

If you are printing onto the paper I highly recommend buying pre- cut freezer paper meant for printers. Paper sold on rolls even when cut down tends to hold its curl and can jam up printers. Plus commercially available freezer paper sheets (often called quilters paper) is often thicker and adheres to the felt better.

To print on freezer paper make sure that you print onto the matte (feels like regular paper) side NOT  the shiny side. Print your design out onto the freezer paper sheets making sure to leave space around the edges to keep the paper intact after you get done cutting.  This is exactly the way your pattern will look when it is stenciled so don’t get all fancy and print your letters backwards or anything. Viola!

feltstencil Now the real fun begins!  Lay your stencil down onto your cutting surface – You may want to tape it down to prevent shifting. Keep your cuts clean any cracks or extra cuts might result in areas you didn’t want getting painted onto your felt

And, we’re cutting…and we’re cutting. Freezer paper stencil

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Congrats your freezer paper sheet is now officially a stencil!

 Set your iron to wool lady friend because it’s time to make some magic! iron

Line up your stencil on the felt sheet shiny side down. The shiny stuff (technical term) will melt slightly and create a seal which won’t leave residue on your felt when you’re ready to peel it off. This temporary seal will need to hold a clean line so make sure to press firmly as you go paying close attention to edges and corners.  NO STEAM! textile paint Textile medium (also called fabric painting medium) is not optional if you are using acrylic paint. It magically transforms dull flaky, acrylic paint into a fabulous permanent washable fabric paint.

How to print on felt

The textile medium also helps the paint become  more pliable which prevents, cracking, lifting, and fading.  Mix the paint with textile medium 2: 1. or as instructed. Mix well.

 Unless you get crazy with your paint and saturate through the entire thickness you shouldn’t need anything under your felt but this can be a messy process so you will need to protect your work area, a poster board is perfect for this. Making a felt stencil with freezer paper- tutorial Using a sponge brush paint over the stencil. One coat should be fine but if you want to do a second make sure your first layer is fully dry. Wood grain stenciled felt using freezer paper- American felt and Craft the blog

Remove the freezer paper after the paint is set but before the felt is fully dry or cured.

(The paint on the paper is dry but the paint on the felt is still moist.) This is much easier than letting the paint fully set.

Use freezer paper to create stencils for felt. - American Felt and Craft- The Blog

They will be dry to the touch pretty quickly but allow them to cure overnight.

To set the paint you will need to iron over the dried paint on the wool setting.

Use as you would any felt.

Check out what we made with the wood-grain felt!

Check out what we made with the wood-grain felt!

 Now what to do with these guys… I am thinking coasters, maybe a notebook cover?

Printed Felt sheet tutorial

Any suggestions?

*Those of you who did not properly prepare to have your minds blown, I am sorry but I did try to warn you . DIY stenciled felt sheets

* Handy Tips from your handy tipster:

* The textile medium worked fine on the synthetic felt but the freezer paper wasn’t able to make a solid bond on the appropriate heat settings for synthetics. It may have sealed at a higher temp but this isn’t Myth-busters and I risk my iron for no man!

* This technique didn’t work on the bamboo felt, the composition of the felt is so soft that it adheres a little too well.

* Painting with a sponge brush in light layers will help keep the lines clean.

* Don’t mess up- Paint is forever so be careful! If you didn’t over saturate your felt you should be able to flip it over and give it another try on the reverse side.

* Mixing textile medium with acrylic paint  is a way to get a large range of color choices without having to make an investment in each color of fabric paint.   Especially since you may only need a small amount paint. It also allows for easy custom tinting.

* You can also paint directly on the felt, which you would only do if you were better at it than I am, which isn’t that hard see…

Painting on Felt - American Felt and Craft - The Blog

The size of a sheet of freezer paper is pretty close to felt sheets we sell at American Felt and Craft and many other places so you know exactly what will fit.

Freezer paper is also great for cutting out templates with precision! (More on this next week!)

Happy Crafting!

~Andie

American Felt and Craft

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