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Making Prefelts

By Fiona Duthie

How to Work With Prefelt

This article is a part of Fiona Duthie’s How To Work With Prefelt in the Fall 2010 issue of Living Crafts. The article, rich with information on What is Prefelt, how to make scarves and hats with prefelt, as well as a section on How to Work with Children and Prefelt, did not allow room for this important part, which is How to Make Your Own Prefelt. As one of our subscribers said on our facebook page: “Making prefelt is easy. It is like bad felting!” Well, it is easy, with Fiona’s instructions. At the end please be sure to leave a comment so you can win two pounds of wool from Decadent Fibers to make it in any color of prefelt your heart desires. Enjoy!

Here’s how to make your own prefelt, in Fiona’s words:

Making your own prefelts is so easy- and opens up so many opportunities for playing with colors, fibers and textures. Try using two or three different colors in layers; using wool for one layer and then another fiber like alpaca or angora for the next; or making nuno prefelt with a layer of wool and a layer of silk fabric. Handpainted rovings make beautiful prefelts, and make efficient use of the roving when layered onto solid wools. Two layers of wool will be fine for prefelts used for surface designs. For more substantial prefelt, use 3-4 layers. It is wonderful to have a collection of these made and ready to chose from, when the urge to felt arises!

Work on a sheet of bubble wrap.

Lay out a thin layer of wool roving. Use your thumbs to pull open the wool shingles. Overlap each row a little to ensure an even layer.

wool roving

Lay out a second layer of wool roving, with the fibers perpendicular to the last layer. Here you can use a different color or fiber.

second layer of wool roving

You can make several at a time, by laying out more of these squares on your felting surface.

you can make several at a time

Cover with a polyester sheer, and sponge on the felting solution (1 tablespoon dish soap + 1 quart water). This gives even coverage of soap and water, without adding too much! You can also follow the wetting instructions described in the Red Rock Prefelt Scarf.

sponge with felting solution

Press down with your sponge, and with your hands; at first pushing down and then using a gentle rubbing motion. Do this over the entire surface.

Remove the sheer. It will lift easily if the wool is wet enough.

Make sure it is good and wet

removing the sheer

Tightly roll up in the bubblewrap. Roll for five minutes, gently at first and gradually applying more pressure. You want the fibers to have entangled, creating a thin, coherent textile. It will still be a bit fragile. It is important not to overfelt, since you need those fibers to mingle with your base fibers or fabrics when using in your finished piece.

Tightly roll in bubblewrap

Rinse carefully under warm running water and lay flat to dry. Keep as a whole prefelt length or cut into desired sizes.

Finished prefelt pictures:
finished prefelt

finished prefelt

Wool Giveaway

Our sponsor for today’s project is Decadant Fibers offering two of their Gourmet Jelly Rolls, made and dyed in the U.S.A. in any color of your choice, enough to make yards of prefelt and other felting projects of your dreams! We’ve used this quality fiber for some of the projects in Living Crafts, including the Felted Farm Co-op in the Spring 2010 issue, as well as Fiona’s famous [by now] wool roving rugs in the Winter 2011 issue. Each roll is valued at $40 and is one pound in all colors of the rainbow. You choose which two color combinations! Enter a comment on this post by 8 p.m. EST, Tuesday, March 1, 2011 for a chance to win two Gourmet Jelly Rolls valued at $80.

And the winner is…

Joanne Libby 2011/03/01 at 10:40 am 

  I really like these contest you have. The wool looks beautiful and i would love to play with it !

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 27, 2011 12:10 PM | 616 Comments

616 Responses to “Making Prefelts”

  1. Olivia says:

    Beautiful wool!

  2. Gera says:

    Wauw!! I love the colours of the give away and would love to win!

    Love, Gera

  3. Susan says:

    Amazing colors!

  4. Eileen says:

    Fantastic tutorial. Dreaming of all of the fun project I could use this beautiful wool for If I won!

  5. Michelle says:

    What a fab giveaway! I would love to win!

  6. Bridget says:

    This is so awesome! Would love to try to make prefelt!

  7. Jennifer says:

    What an awesome project! I could use the wool for my handwork class!! Thanks for the information! :)

  8. Barbara says:

    The wool is so pretty! I would love to win this giveaway!

  9. dineh Bhuckory says:

    I would love to win this prize so I can do some nice projects with 15 children whom I teach felting.

  10. Karen K says:

    Thanks so much for this great info!! The give away is beautiful!! Please send it my way!!! LOL

  11. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful! And a really fun project for kids.

  12. abigail says:

    beautiful colours!!! so many wool creations just waiting to happen :)

  13. Andrea Davis says:

    oooooo this looks so fun.
    Can’t wait to get my hands busy with it!

  14. Kelly Paquet says:

    I would love to sink my hands into that luscious wool! Love fiber crafts, and love colors! So much fun!

  15. Jennifer P says:

    This wool is soooo beautiful. Pick Me! Pick Me!

  16. Sara James says:

    These pre-felts are beautiful. I tried this recently and may have been too aggressive with my wool. My felt is more compact and has the imprint of the bubble wrap in it. I will have to give it another go, Sara

  17. Janis Buckham says:

    Thank you for your inspirations! I am new to Living Crafts and love everything I’ve seen.
    The prefelt looks easy enough & fun. Can’t wait to get my hands wet!

  18. Wanda H says:

    Thanks for the great photos!!! I have wondered how to get the precise shapes that so many felters had in their projects!!! And the colors that are in your photos are so inspiring!!! I hope that I win so that I can try the process soon!!
    Thank you so much for a great magazine and wonderful projects!!

  19. JoodleZ says:

    Oh, what gorgeous colors…. I want to wrap myself in it and then share it with my fiber-friends. We are tired of the snirt (dirty snow) here in New York State and want to lose ourselves in creativity. We will be sure to send Living Crafts a photo journal of our “research.”

  20. claire d`eau says:

    oh my god!!! i`m just about doing a production for the kids, it would be absolutly amazing to play with all these colors…thank you by the way!!

  21. Cathy says:

    Love, love, love wool felting.. wet or dry. Just did a class with Fiona and made a most beautiful play mat for my grandkids and now I am addicted to making little play people and animals for it. Thank you Fiona!! Would love to create with such beautiful wool..

  22. Sarah says:

    Beautiful felt! Thanks for such an inspiring tutorial!

  23. Kim Campbell says:

    Wow! A lot of us hope to win! Thanks for the easy looking tutorial.

  24. Tracie says:

    Oh how I love the colors and the magic of felting!

  25. Faith Murphy says:

    What beautiful felts! I can’t wait to try this myself. I just started felting not that long ago and have found it enchanting! Thank you for sharing this!

  26. jayin says:

    Wow! Let’s hope I win! I just got a new felting book and would love to use this fiber to try out some of the ideas.

  27. Lindsey says:

    Gorgeous Colors!

  28. Mary Gardner says:

    I really like those gorgeous colors! I would make a rug for the floor of my bedroom. Thank you for this great giveaway!

  29. Samantha says:

    Beautiful colors!! I am dreaming of what I could do with 2 lbs:)

  30. Nancy says:

    I’m just making the deadline and so hope I win! I’ve not heard of prefelt and it looks wonderful. I’d love to try it!!

  31. reina says:

    oh wow! what a great giveaway… i’ve never made prefelt before… :)

  32. Kim White says:

    So beautiful! I have to go dig out my wool and try it!!

  33. Jenny Cos says:

    The colors are so vibrant. I just want to reach through the screen and touch the felt. I am already excited about doing this with my pre-kindergarten class!

  34. Claire says:

    Thank you for the wonderful instructions! I’m totally inspired. I appreciate the chance to win the Gourmet Jelly Rolls too!

  35. Kathy says:

    Wow this wool looks so gorgeous…. I hope I’m not too late for this give away…. although I think I may be.

  36. Laurinda says:

    Great tutorial, & we have a felting supply store just 1 town over, thank you!
    I’m Laurpud on Ravelry

  37. wendy phillis says:

    thank you I love wool thank you for the tutorial- wonderful

  38. gwendolyn says:

    I hope to try this with my girls! Thank you! Hope I win:)

  39. dara says:

    Thank you! yummy colors!

  40. susan says:

    sounds so easy, if only i can get the kids to leave the bubble wrap alone… have been thinking about making a bunch of old sweaters with roving sdded into prefelt, so might try it if i win. Thanks for the offer!

  41. Nadia says:

    Loving the rainbow of colors! I just starting felting with my daughter and will teach her kindergarten class how to make felt balls next month. Thanks for the great step-by-step for the next felt project for me!

  42. carrie says:

    great tutorial! and the wool…wow!!

  43. leslie says:

    Great tutorial! I cannot wait to try this with my kids this summer!

  44. Ronnie says:

    I have felted for some time but not tried pre-felts. I an going to do this soon. Cannot wait to see the magazine and read about pre-felts and children.

  45. julie r says:

    Gorgeous wool! How nice to have some felt on hand for making a bit of pre-felt. Thanks for your blog – it is a great addition to your magazine!

  46. Marali says:

    Great tutorial! I would love to win!

  47. Jennifer M says:

    Love the gorgeous color combinations. Can’t wait to try prefelt!

  48. Leanne says:

    What gorgeous wool.

  49. Brandy says:

    Vibrant colors!

  50. Elizabeth Roberts says:

    These wool fibers are beautiful. I started needle felting about 2 years ago and really love it. I also went to my first wool & fiber festival last year. It was awesome. It would be wonderful to make things from such beautiful wool. The colors are just something else. Thank you for the chance to try and win.


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