Monday, January 7, 2013

Fun with felt

A couple of weeks ago I needed a gift for a Christmas party and searched around for something ready to go -- and was happy to find a couple of useless little bowls that I made in a workshop years ago and had stashed away in a shoebox.  They were made out of an acrylic felt that melts under a heat gun.

I made them by finding heatproof objects to flip upside down so I could drape the felt into bowl shapes.  This one was shaped over the bottom of my metal car mug.  To hold the bowl shapes in place, I wrapped and tied them with some cord, then zapped them with the heat.

I recall being entranced by how the felt behaved under the heat.  A little bit of heat, and the layers of felt would melt and fuse together.  With more, lacy holes started to appear and the edges started to turn brown.  The bowls aren't exactly rigid, because some parts don't get zapped and stay just like regular felt, but the areas that melted and caramelized become quite stiff.  One of the bowls was tied with some holographic thread (aka plastic) and it melted too in some places, merging with the felt.

I wish I knew whether all acrylic felt behaves this way.  The stuff we used in the workshop was provided by the instructor, and I wasn't moved to try further experiments later on with other varieties.

This is an object lesson in attending workshops.  Often you learn something that gives you lots of fun for a day or two, but disappears from the radar screen as soon as you get home.

And that's fine.  Sometimes a workshop is just a little vacation; you don't always have to learn something that changes your life.  But it's always nice if you can make something good enough to keep -- or give away.


  1. Kathy, all non-wool felt does behave this way. Love the textures.

  2. Thanks, Kim -- that's good to know. Maybe I'll go make some more.