The world’s oldest fabric is believed to be felt. This fabric is older than woven or knitted textile since 6500 BC is the date of the earliest archaeological evidence of felt. Different cultures have different myths on how felt came into being. For Western culture, it is believed that felt came into being when Saint James or Saint Clement were believed to have placed natural fibers in their sandals to prevent blisters but the fibers due to heat, sweat, and pressure turned into felt. In this blog post we will explain what is felt, its uses, different types of felt & lastly top 10 most popular handmade felt products from Nepal.
What is Felt?
Felt is a textile good that is made by condensing, matting, and pressing fibers together. It can be made from natural materials such as animal fur or wool or it can be made synthetically from wood pulp-based rayon or petroleum-based acrylic or acrylonitrile. Synthesized fibers are also common. Felt has certain properties that make it available to be used for an abundance of purposes. Felt is fire retardant and self-extinguishing. Felt absorbs sound, dampens vibration, and can hold a large quantity of water without feeling wet.
Uses of Felt
Felt can be used in the manufacturing process of various industries, from casinos to home construction. In industries, felt is used as a sound damper, non-woven fabric for air filtration and is used by machinery for cushioning and padding movie parts. Felt can also be used as clothing as people used it to make hats and to line footwear. The music industry also uses felt as a damper for various musical instruments like using felt to make piano hammers. In arts and crafts, felt is used for framing paintings. Felt is laid between the slip mount and picture as a protective layer to avoid damaging the painting.
Different Types of Felt
There are various types of felt available. There is industrial felt and non-woven felt available.
Industrial pressed wool felt is widely used in chemical, machinery, electromechanical and cement, and textile industries. It is used in furniture polishing, automobiles, aircraft, machine tools, and other equipment for sealing, insulation, dust prevention, thermal insulation, sound insulation.
The non-woven fabrics are made by non-woven methods, such as needling, melt blow, spun lace, etc, or dry or wet methods. While industrial pressed wool and non-woven fabrics are both non-woven fabrics, the difference between them lies in the habitual classifications. Those with high density and thickness are called industrial pressed wool felts. Those with 2-5mm are called industrial felt and those with 1mm thickness are called non-woven fabrics.
Top 10 Products That Are Handmade From Felt
Let’s try to dive in some of the famous products that can be made from felt.
Felt Ball Rugs
Felt ball rugs are rugs made from thousands of balls of felt. Felt ball rugs are 100% made from wool and are tightly sewn together so that both sides of the rugs can be used. The products can be customized according to the needs and preferences of the customer.
Rolled-up wool in the shape of a ball is called a felt ball. Felt balls are eco-friendly and are colorful, soft, and smooth. Felt balls can be made by taking wisps of wool into a blob and then rolling it to shape by your hands after dipping it in hot, soapy water. The balls can be turned into exquisite accessories and can become someone’s ultimate partner to craft. The felt balls can be customized according to the needs and preferences of the customer.
Wool felt hats are comfortable to wear, economical, and can be worn when it is extremely cold. The slight disadvantage that wool felt hats have is that they are not very long-lasting. On the other hand, fur felt hats are designed to last longer and are created with a more designed shape, and overall provide a better sensation.
Woolen felt bags are in high demand due to their customizable design. The bags can be made according to the customer’s chosen color, size, and style. Felt bags can be customized into felt shopping bags, felt flower purses, felt handbags, felt bags for kids and felt evening bags.
Felt Pet House
Felt pet house provides privacy, warmth, and comfort to your pet. Pet houses made from felt are perfect for the pets to relax, play, nap, sleep and rest in. Pet houses should be mostly cleaned by vacuum cleaners. They should be hand-washed with a detergent suitable for wool and be formed and left to dry after washing.
Felt coasters are the best at absorbing moisture and are great at insulating against heat. These properties make them effective to protect any surface. Felt coasters can be customized according to the needs and preferences of the customer.
Felt scarves are light, soft, and pleasant to touch. They should be gently hand washed using wool-friendly detergent, rinsed, and rolled in a towel to remove excess water. For drying, they should be laid flat and reshaped if necessary. Felted scarves should not be put in a dryer but steam ironing them is okay.
Because of their amazing ability to regulate body temperature, naturally insulate, and remain breathable, felted wool slippers provide luxurious comfort all year. Because of the lanolin in the wool, the slippers are resistant to dirt, moisture, and odors. Lanolin also promotes healing and is gentle on sensitive skin, and the friction of the wool against the skin increases blood circulation.
Felt purses are sturdy and can keep your bag in a good shape. They are economical and the dyed color will not transfer to the bag liner. The felt purses can be customized according to the needs and preferences of the customer.
Felt Dryer Balls
Felt dryer balls are a substitute for fabric softener or dryer sheets for keeping clothes soft and static-free. Dryer balls separate clothes more effectively than dryer sheets, allowing hot air to circulate more evenly and efficiently, reducing drying time. Dryer balls can reduce drying time by 10 to 25% because the wool in them is so absorbent. Finally, over-drying can cause clothing damage as well as an increase in static electricity. You can also use dryer balls at lower temperatures to help prevent damage to your clothes.
How to take care of Felt Products?
We recommend that you delicately hand-wash the products made with felt. An example can be merino mittens which need to be washed at a low temperature not exceeding 30°. If possible, you should wash them in a specialized wool/hand wash cycle and store them in a dry place.
Where to purchase Felt Products?
You can buy felt products from Handicrafts in Nepal which provides it at the wholesale price or contact us for further details. The felt products that are brought to Handicrafts in Nepal are manufactured by local underprivileged women.