Clamp Dyed Felt

Clamp Dyed Felt

My friend Paula took a class from Chad Alice Hagen last summer to learn to make her little felt books. The class included clamp dyeing felt and Paula graciously offered to show us the technique out our most recent meeting of my local surface design group. We took tons of photos so I’m going to split them up in several slide shows for you to view.

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We started with commercial white felt, soaked it in vinegar water and then clamped various pieces of metal or wood to the folded piece of felt. You use the pieces of metal or wood in pairs so that one piece is clamped on each side. The dyed pieces of felt that are in the slide show above are the samples that Paula made plus a few pieces that she purchased from Chad Alice Hagen.

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We then set up three dye pots out on the patio and started with a light value color in each pot. The clamped pieces are put into the various pots and simmered for 15-20 minutes. We then took them out of the pot, took part of the clamps off (or all) and then re-folded and re-clamped the pieces with different metal/wood pieces. The dye pots were changed to a different medium value color and the clamped wool was put into a different color dye pot.

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We then repeated the process of unwrapping and taking the clamps off and putting them back in different configurations. And the last set of dye was put into the pots using a very dark value. We used black, chocolate brown and deep purple for our last set of dyes.

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And then the really fun part, opening up after the last dye pot. The patterns were amazing and we had a great time. Thanks Paula!

26 thoughts on “Clamp Dyed Felt

  1. They turned out great! So, the ones that are folded into thrids, do they have something between the lyers or does the metal on top make the pattern all the way through?

    1. Thanks Zed. The folded ones had a piece of metal on the outside felt only. The clamps hold the felt tightly together to give the pattern all the way through.

  2. I took Chads resist dying class, it was great. She is a good teacher. Did you try the painted wood one? What are the resists that made the bird patterns?

  3. Thanks for sharing the resist dyeing process. It does look like they had fun! Reminds me a bit of a shibori dyeing class I took about 20 years ago, but we used string instead of all those fancy clamps and other hardware.

    1. You’re welcome Cathy. It is a type of shibori dyeing but different than the shibori dyeing using string. It’s called itajime shibori and uses shapes clamped to the fabric instead of using string to make the resist.

    1. Thanks Judy – I wasn’t really impressed until after the third dye bath. The first two rounds didn’t really look very exciting.

    1. Thanks Teri! Once you start dyeing this way, you’ll never look at flat metal and wood items the same. You can use just about anything.

  4. Wow, this is great! I love the end result 🙂 I’m sharing this with a friend who is very interested in making felt notebook covers. Thanks for showing us, it sounds like you had a lot of fun.

  5. What a fun reprocess with great results! Thanks for sharing. Another thing to add to the ever growing list!

    1. Thanks Kim! the results were actually surprising after looking at the pieces after the first two dye baths.

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