What’s in the Box?

What’s in the Box?

Well, it’s not what’s in it as much as what it’s made of. Felt, of course!

A while back I started working on a template to make a box.  I love containers and save all sorts just because.  So, I decided to make a felt box.

I took a cardboard square box I had from a candle and used that to make a plastic template.

I had some interesting batting but unknown fibers.

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Since it was batting I used a nice thick layer.  When I got the general shape and added embellishments on both sides  I started the felting process, then made cuts where the flaps were separate from the box body.

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I wasn’t really sure how I was going to proceed.  The felt was very spongy and kind of delicate even after fulling.  I decided to try the wash machine and put a plastic cube (baseball trophy case) in it and put the whole thing in a nylon then into the machine.

It didn’t shrink or full much more and remained spongy.  Of course, the sharp corners of the cube cut through the felt.  So, I did some needle felting to repair them and tried the machine again, this time wrapping the cube in bubble wrap then into the nylon.

The fiber wasn’t cooperating much to felt the side flaps together. Perhaps it was as fulled as it would get.  I did use resists to make sure the flaps didn’t stick to the top.  I did some more needle felting to hold it together.

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Front with flap and bottom









It’s hard to tell which sides are which in the pictures since it’s a random pattern.

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Side with pins
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I ironed and steamed the edges to try to get a crease on the sides but the fiber was just too spongy.  To finish it off I sewed on a gold button.  I wanted to use gold thread, but couldn’t find it. Sorry about the photos no sun here the past few days.

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Front with button on the flap


Even though it’s not felted  very hard, I like the way it looks.  I may have a go at using the GAC to stiffen it up.  Next time I will use a known fiber and try using a flat resist and forming it on the cube.

Have you ever attempted a box?



26 thoughts on “What’s in the Box?

  1. It’s a beautiful box – pretty colours too – and the button finishes it well.
    It’s tricky working with an unknown fibre on an experimental project, but it turned out really well.

    I haven’t attempted a box, but I once made a knitted bag that was the shape of a fat breakfast cereal box (without a top). I stitched together a ‘skeleton box’ made from plastic canvas (used for cross-stitch) then attached the knitting to it. I then hid the plastic with a thick fabric lining. It worked well.

    So I wonder if, after your basic felt shape is fulled, you could size up a ‘skeleton’ for it?

    1. Thanks Lyn! A skeleton box that sounds cool. Do you have any pictures? I actually had cut out resists to put between layers to help give the box a better shape, but decided against it at the last minute. I could make a skeleton box but the inside is decorated, too. I actually could take off the top of the display cube and set it in there. I imagine the cross stitch plastic would be a good option to use as an in between layer because the fibers mesh between the holes and hold it together. I will have to try that.

  2. I love the colour, texture and embellishments, Marilyn! 🙂
    I’ve made a couple of box shaped cases, usually on a 3d resist. I did make one similar to yours, but I made the felt first, then drew the template, cut out and stitched the edges: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zedster01/3528419773/
    If you ‘pinch’ the edges and zig-zag stitch them, that should really firm it up, but I like it as it is.

    1. Thanks Zed! I can see why you liked my colors. Your box shaped case is beautiful. I thought about sewing the edges, but was afraid it might take away from the embellishments which I really liked.

    1. Thanks Nada! It wasn’t too tricky until it came time for the finishing. The template helped, but I wouldn’t do flaps again. It was fun to experiment.

  3. Those boxes turned out well! Yes the button is perfect. What a lot of work, as it usually is for a first time experiment. I love containers too!
    I’ve made a square vessel, by felting over a ball then shaping it over a foam form covered with duct tape to keep the moisture out. The top is a bit free form and open but I’m sure you could figure out how to make one that is closeable. I did add some overhand stitching on a bit of the corners but mostly as a decorative accent rather than to give it structure. Like Zedster said, ‘pinching’ the edges while it is damp will add nice firm shape.

  4. I too have used the plastic on the bottom of a knit felted bag to help add structure. If you need to add some firmness to this box you could try sewing some of the plastic into the inside corners for rigidity and then you could needlefelt wool over the plastic.

    1. Thanks Ellen! I had thought about using very thin tubing, but couldn’t find any I thought would work. I like the idea of needle felting the wool over it. I guess I’ll keep looking.

  5. Great box Marilyn. Those unknown fibers are always a bit tricky, aren’t they? Never made a box before but you’ve gotten a lot of good suggestions.

    1. Thanks Ruth! I think that batting is from the mill and is probably a conglomeration of odds and ends run through their machine. There was a lot of little balls of fiber which gives it a nice texture but not necessarily a strong felt.

  6. Very cool box–both the colors and embellishments! Have never tried to felt a box, and now for sure won’t do it! You can never have enough containers, and–by the way–I am saving all of my candle boxes for you in case you decide to try this experiment again.

    1. Thanks Cathy! It’s not necessary save your candle boxes, I lost count of how many I have. I think doing a box from a flat resist may be easier. Let’s try that. 🙂

  7. I like your box very much. The colours are lovely and the closure finishes it very well. 🙂

    Running a strong thread along each edge, taking in a little from each face and creating a ridge, gives more definition and strength; the stitches bed into the felt and don’t show. I’ve done this on bags and vessels and it works well.

    1. Thanks Judith! The pictures don’t do the box justice. Thanks for the strong thread tip. I’ll have to try that.

    1. Thanks Leonor! I’m not sure what I’ll use it for. Right now it’s sitting on a shelf looking pretty. 😉

  8. I like the box too. those non shrinking fibers can be a real challenge. They are really nice to stich on though. you can get a really nice quilted effect. I have tried to make flat toped hats from a flat resist and never had any luck. I would love to see how millners do it from those cone hoods they start with.

    1. Thanks Ann! I’ll have to try a flat piece and stitch on it. Thanks for the tip.

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