Die Cutting Felt

Today I’m pleased to welcome Tracey Thompson as our Guest Artist. Tracey has been an active member on the forum and will be showing us her Die Cutting Machine and her experience cutting felt.

A recent post in the Felt and Fibre Forum led me to comment that I had tried to cut felt using a die cutting machine.  It was given to me free by a friend because she wanted to treat herself to the next model that had more bells and whistles!

Here is the die cutter, it is a Spellbinders Grand Calibur.  It cuts beautiful images in  card stock but how would it cope with felt?

I tried both commercial felt and my own prefelt in this machine.  The results were mixed with both felts, but I think this was largely down to the dies.  The more intricate the die, the more it mashed away at the felt, sometimes obliterating it!

I then remembered that I had a quite simple die in the shape of a snowflake, and as I still have Christmas cards to make, I thought I would have another go.  This next picture is my prefelt with the snowflake die and a Merry Christmas die.  The hole in the middle of the prefelt was where the snowflake came out perfectly, and the mashed up bit at the bottom was where Merry Christmas didn’t!

So I thought I would make a simple card to use the snowflakes on.  I put down two layers of Tanzanite from World of Wool, as I wanted a night time feel as a background.

I also wanted simple decoration, so I just lay a few blue and white mulberry silks on the top.

Here it is after felting.

I then ironed a piece of interfacing onto the back to make the stitching more stable. I had cut out a few snowflakes using a white commercial felt, and I used a double silver metallic thread to attach them to the felted piece.

So here is the finished card, it is a fairly simple one but it’s one to tick off the list!

Tracey, thanks for sharing your experience with us and for helping to fill in on my leave!

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15 Responses to Die Cutting Felt

  1. Lyn says:

    I love the background colours and the finished card is wonderful – I hope the recipient appreciated the work that went into it!
    Snowflakes like that would be extremely difficult (and perhaps at that size impossible) to cut by hand so the machine wins that one.
    I’m wondering if the handmade felt would need to be thin and fulled to the max for optimum results?
    How about making your own silk paper to run through the machine? That felts in beautifully.

    • Lyn says:

      p.s. I’ve never achieved silk paper using the spray starch method (the silk flew around the room for two days) but I’ve made good silk paper using cellulose paste (wallpaper paste).

    • tracey2008 says:

      Thanks Lyn, yes the recipient seemed to like it, what happened to it now Christmas is over I don’t know, maybe it is better now knowing !
      Thin felt may work yes, but I really think it is down to the actual die, simple ones yes, intricate ones not so much.
      I have had a go at making my own silk paper using wallpaper paste. I will dig it out and give it a go.

  2. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    Beautiful results Tracey! It’s always an experiment. I like Lyn’s suggestion for silk paper. I used Zed’s tut using waxed paper and an iron (with a cloth over it) with wonderful results. (I’m pretty sure it was Zed,

    Thanks again for filling in for me. I look forward to following your new felt adventures.

    • tracey2008 says:

      Thank you very much Marilyn! I do like a bit of an experiment, if it goes well, great, if it doesn’t, so be it, not much is lost. As you say, all part of a felt adventure!

    • zedster66 says:

      I think it was just brown parcel paper, Marilyn! Even I wouldn’t risk using an iron on waxed paper! 🙂

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Perhaps it was brown paper. It if I did use waxed paper I’m sure I would have also used an ironing cloth or paper over it. It as quite a while ago.

  3. Karen Lane says:

    Your snowflake card is lovely Tracey, if I recieved a card like that I would definitely put it in a frame. I have cut commercial felt with my Big Shot but not yet tried hand made……another technique to add to the “must try” list!

    • tracey2008 says:

      Thank you very much Karen! I know of another friend that definitely frames my cards, which I take as a huge compliment. Yes – lots of things to experiment with, lucky us!

  4. Great card Tracy, I wonder if using a stabilize on the back would let it be cut better.

    • tracey2008 says:

      Ann why didn’t I think of that?! That could be just the answer, I will have a go sometime soon, thanks!

  5. ruthlane says:

    Thanks for showing us your experiments Tracey. I was wondering, just like Ann, whether if you stabilized the felt by sticking it to paper or perhaps a sewing stabilizer whether it would work better. But I do think you’re right about the complexity of the designs making a big difference.

    The card is wonderful, I really like it.

    • tracey2008 says:

      Thanks very much Ruth, two great minds obviously! Some of the cuts on the dies are just so tiny you have to poke out the card/paper using a darning needle, so you can imagine that even well fulled felt would stand no chance really. I bought the snowflake die because it wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t expensive because it wasn’t a complex design, and this is why it worked.

  6. zedster66 says:

    The card is really nice, Tracey! The backround looks like Sodalite 🙂 There’s probably a formula for getting a good, crisp shape, involving simple die shape, and a combination of thinness, but firmness for the felt/thing being cut. I do like Lyn’s idea for using silk paper.

  7. tracey2008 says:

    Thanks very much Zed. I had not heard of Sodalite so I looked it up, and yes it does!

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