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What have we got here or bonfire of the antiquities – How to tell what kind of felt you have.

9 May

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?

felttypes2

 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…

fireEco

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.

fireblend

 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.

lovefeltfirewool

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!

Andie

How to wash felt, wool felt foods, soft sculpture & toys.

23 Apr

felt food tomato how to wash felt food

Sooner or later you’re gonna have to clean that felt food. Here’s how to do it!

Felt Cherry Pie

While dry felt can withstand major abuse it becomes a whole different creature when wet and must be treated gently so here is a walk though, please remember use of soap will result in further felting your felt, I.E creating piling and fuzz. The following is written with wool and wool blend felt in mind but it is also useful for acrylic or eco-felt, (eco-spun & eco-fi) synthetic felts which although washable, have a tendency to tear at the seams when hand sewn.Please note that I am erring on the side of caution and your felt items are generally not all that delicate, a good quality felt will actually stand up to a lot of rubbing but better safe than sorry right?

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is the obvious way to go with 100% wool felt but a lot of dry cleaners won’t touch soft sculpture or basically anything that isn’t clothing you CANNOT use a product like dryel on felt the heat and moisture will continue to felt your piece, this would not be a good thing. The #1 thing to keep in mind is avoiding drastic temperature fluctuations on the felt.

Surface Wash

If your item is only slightly messy for example moist cookie crumbs, I would suggest letting them dry, before proceeding with your clean up, you may mash the mess into the wool mesh, say that 5 times fast!

The exception to this rule is a substance which you feel will stain. In that is the case proceed to hand wash. After felt is dry brush off the crumbs and gently wash the surface with a baby wipe.

sinkHand Wash

Lets say your felt food is really messy, for example your child dunked his felt cookie in his real milk. You can hand wash using the steps outlined below, I have used this method with great success Using these methods I have removed apple juice, wet candy cane, yogurt and cracker mush from my daughters felt food collection.

1. Brush as much of the dirt, dust or dried whatever off as you can while the item is STILL DRY. If whatever has gotten on your felt is in liquid form that’s OK to but please avoid rubbing it.

2. Fill a sink or basin with cool or cold water, no soap.

3. Place said item in water and wait until it soaked, gently squeeze the air out if it is a stuffed item

4. Gently press water out of felt without rubbing

5. Continue to squeeze like a sponge do not rub,  Repeat until spot is gone, you may soak the felt overnight if needed.

Air dry, felt may feel stiff at first but will regain its softness when played with for awhile.

lemons

Worse case scenario…

Got something really nasty on your felt, like boogers or pee? Luckily for you wool has antibacterial properties so it’s isn’t as germ laden as you think however you now need to remove whatever germs remain and any smell, try lemons. Lemons contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties on top of naturally removing odor. Cut lemons and squeeze into the water in your basin and proceed as outlined above.

But it’s winter in the middle of nowhere…

Your last best hope is Vinegar. Vinegar will  disinfectant and help destroy odor, the weird vinegar smell will fade with time , it dissolves grease too! So if you have a stuffie that’s gotten really grungie this is your method! Put in 1/2 part vinegar to 1 part water and wash as directed above be sure to lay it out to dry as soon as possible and do not use it to soak your item for longer than 10-15 minutes as it could in theory hurt your fabric although this has never been my experience. The bonus to this method is your dried felt will be surprisingly soft.

Drop me a comment or two and let me know how it all turned out and show me some love by checking out the store,

Happy Crafting- Andie

meatdinner

Please give credit where credit is due and be sure to link to my blog when using this info. Thanks, you’re the best!

For more on how to clean felt see our post on cleaning and storing felt fabric.

Wondering how to clean felt - wonder no more - step by step photos

How to Clean Felt – Step by Step 

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