Friday, June 7, 2013

How to Stiffen Felt

I'm currently working on a project that requires the use of stiffened felt.  You can buy it already stiffened at the craft store, but then you are limited to the colors and sizes that they carry.  Also, if you know me, you know I am particular about what kind of felt I use.  It was surprisingly easy and cheap to stiffen the felt myself.  There are lots of different methods out there, but for my purposes, I found using regular old white school glue worked great!


Mix approximately one part school glue to one part warm water.  I am too lazy to measure when it comes to this sort of thing, so really I just dumped some glue into my bowl and added some warm water.  Pretty sure I ended up with more water than glue, but it still worked perfectly... and saved me on glue.  Make sure to mix it until it's mostly smooth.  You don't want the chunks of glue sticking to your felt.


Cut your pieces of felt slightly larger than you need them to be.  The felt will shrink up a bit and warp as it dries.  For this reason I also recommend cutting out any shapes AFTER stiffening.  Submerge your felt in the mixture and make sure the whole piece gets nice and soaked.  If you are doing multiple colors, start with the lightest, as the dyes may bleed.


Remove your felt and gently wring it out over your bowl.  Don't twist or pull it.  A light squeeze to get out the extra moisture is all you need.  You still want it to be wet, just not sopping wet.  Sorry, no photo.  Hard to do when your hands are covered in glue water!


Lay your felt on wax paper and smooth it out flat.  Don't worry that it's wrinkled from wringing it out, we will fix that later.  Let it dry completely.  We have lovely 100 degree weather right now, so I took mine outside to dry faster.  At least the heat is good for something!


Once your felt has dried completely, it should be nice and stiff.  Now is that part where we take care of the wrinkles.  Just sandwich it between two cloths and iron.  It will come out perfect and ready for your craft project!  (If you are using acrylic or polyester felt, just try not to leave the iron on there too long.  That stuff is made out of plastic.)


Just a little FYI, stiffened felt will show every hole that you put in it with a pin.  I recommend taping any patterns that you use instead of pinning.  Check back next week to see what I make with all of this beautiful stiffened felt!  **edit: click here to see what I made!**



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26 comments :

  1. wow! great tutorial!! Thanks for the tip! Pinned!
    Emily @ Nap-Time Creations

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  2. No kidding Jessica?! Where have you been all my life? I tried starch once...it was bad. Real bad. Thanks!

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    1. Haha. Oh no! Glad I didn't try that method. School glue was so easy!

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  3. This is such a great tip to know. Pinning it because I'm starting to get old and forgetful. LOL! Thanks for coming by and partying with us at Fluster Buster's Creative Muster.

    Robin @ Fluster Buster

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    1. Thanks Robin! Love coming to your party each week!

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  4. Love the tip! I can't wait to do it!!! Thanks :)
    (PS Welcome to Social Fabric)

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  5. I just love this! Amazing project!
    Thanks for linking up to my party! I wanted to let you know I picked your link to feature this week! See my post and grab my feature button here http://handmadecuddles.com/2013/06/create-inspire-71-picks.html

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  6. Oh my!! I was crazy searching for this post I saw another day, and now I could found it again.
    Thanks so much for your help, it is very usefull!

    =)

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    1. Glad you found it and glad you found it useful! :)

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  7. can you tell me which colors of felt you used for this project? i'm trying to make these for my nursery and want to purchase the same colors you chose (from joggles) but I'm afraid I'm going to order the wrong ones and be stuck with a bunch of felt I can't use! Pretty please? :)
    Aimee

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    1. Sure! For the felt hot air balloons I used white, silver grey, baby blue, cotton candy (pink), wisteria (purple), Pistachio Ice Cream (green), and yellow.

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  8. I am attempting to make a childs hat do you think it is possible to sew the hat with felt and then dry and shape it after?

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    1. I'm not sure. You definitely wouldn't want to wring it out like I did because then you couldn't iron out the wrinkles. Maybe look up how to make a felt hat?

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    2. How did it work for you Sara?? I am thinking of doing the same thing for some kids party hats. Thanks!

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  9. thank god i found this tip! thanks so much for sharing, now i can get on with more felt projects! x

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    1. Glad you found it useful! I love felt!!! :)

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  10. this is great!! but i have a question: did your glue washout? or if you haven't washed your project yet, do you think it would?? cause i feel like if i wash it, it might....

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    1. Yes, I would only use this method if you do not plan on washing the item. The glue would probably wash out. I have only used this to make decorations that need stiff felt.

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  11. If you follow this method will you be able to flex and shape the felt the way you want it

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    1. Possibly. If you aren't going to be able to iron it in the end, I'd recommend not squeezing it to get the water out.

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  12. How long did it take to dry completely? i understand you put them outside in 100 degree temps and currently its winter and I'm up a rainy/snowy mountain...but I'm trying to get a gauge of how long I'll have to wait til I can get to the next part of this project. Thanks!!

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  13. I am making an alligator costume and my head piece is complete but the teeth are less than fearsome because they're not stiff :) Do you think I would be safe to apply the glue water solution very carefully to each tooth? Does the solution distort the felt at all? Thank you so much!

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    1. It might work to squirt a little on it. I definitely would NOT squeeze it out at all to prevent wrinkles. That's going to make it take a long time to dry. The felt is going to flop over when it's wet too, so you will have to be able to lay it out flat somehow. Maybe try on a scrap piece first so you can see what it does.

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    2. Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I have decided to stiffen another piece and re-do the teeth. Hopefully is will all come out good :)

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  14. That's is an awesome idea. I wish a long time ago I had thought of thats. Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing.

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