Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wet felt play mat Tutorial

 This is the first playscape I have ever done using wet felting . The others have all been 100% needle felted . They were much smaller and took around 15 hours to make . Granted, they have had hills , monsters and volcanoes but I can always add more needle felted dimension after wet felting . 
 I made this an aerial view with some textural dimension . That's where the fun came in and getting to play with all my different fibers . If you click on the picture you can see more detail . The upper right corner with the fighting Ninjas was created using prefelt that I tied some wooden balls into . (I know there is a name for that but I don't recall it . ) The majority of the base fiber is merino that I dyed in shades of green and brown .
 The river is blue merino, bits of mohair and lots of silk . I wanted this to be a spring is coming, (made while we got the last 18 inches of snow fall here) so I added some red and white mohair to represent a field of flowers .
 I used some striped green roving to add crop layout to the upper left corner and a large herd of sheep are white wool nubs . I also laid down some blue silk fibers to represent the creeks running off the larger river . The hardest part for me was not over doing it...I always want to throw as much color into my felting as I have at hand but really wanted a more natural look .
 Assuming you know basic wet felting.....and if you don't , I have some tutorials on the upper left of my blog under "links" . I first laid out the towels, then bubble wrap...bubble side up . The next layer was cotton cheese cloth spread out as evenly as possible .
 The next layer is Shetland with overlapping shingles to make a sturdy base .
The top layer was the merino, silk and mohair . This is how it looked after wetting it all down with the hot water and soap mixture . I don't usually use very much soap but I found that having added more then my usual actually helped keep everything together and ended with a more even felted piece . The last "layer" was bubble wrap with bubble side towards the wool . So......

bubble wrap
cotton cheese cloth
shetland wool
merino and textures(silk caps, fiber or fabric, mohair, wool nubs, yarn)
bubble wrap

Then follow basic wet felting directions .

Have fun ! 

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