This is a guest post from Jan Scott. It is in 2 parts as she has many felting tools now. She is great at thinking out of the box.
One of the problems with delving into Felting is that there are very few tools that were originally created for the purpose of felting. I am starting to suspect a lot of felters have a similar form of dyslexic distraction as I have. Do you find while wandering through Dollarama or Walmart your brain will look at some odd item and declare “WOW that would be grate to felt with!” Sometimes it’s the boot tray or a van rubber mat (that lives over at Ann’s since I don’t have a big enough table for it) or it may be a cylindrical plastic dog toy with knobby bits on it. The person who made the item definitely didn’t have felting in mind as the end use but we can see its potential.
I have been collecting “Odd” felting tools for a while now. And thought you might be interested to see what I have found. You may already have a wooden scraper and a package of skewers for Needle felting and car mats for working surfaces. But you may have missed the Iliotibial band roller (massage tool) so let’s compare and see if we can inspire each other.
My first felting tools were a lid from a Tupperware Juice pitcher, some bubble rap and a piece of curtain sheer. I have expanded a bit since then.
Tupperware Juice lid – source Garage sales, second hand stores.
I have made quite a few hats with this and a pool noodle. Pool noodles can be found in many types of stores. Improvements in pool noodle technology has led to a variety of sizes and shapes which can either give a more aggressive felting experience or used to shape around when the felt is drying. The smaller noodles come in 3 sizes and were found at Dollarama in the craft area.
I added bamboo place matts but trying to replace them as the warp threads start to rot has been a bit more challenging. Dollerama has not been carrying them at the moment. If they don’t restock them I will have to watch the second hand stores for matchstick window blinds and more placemats. I have tried non-slip matting which comes in a couple sizes and longer lengths (and doesn’t seem to rot out). I found that it worked but was not quite as quick as the matchstick placemats.
I also found a Ball Brause Sprinkler originally used to water bonsai. I recently had one of those odd thoughts that occur rather frequently while shopping as I spotted a garden sprayer with a compression pump (4.00 at Dollarama). It has a much larger capacity than the Ball Brause and adjusts from a strong stream of water to a fine mist. Ann tried it out for me at the Felt In. She is very brave around water.
I am not that fond of getting unnecessarily wet, much to Ann’s amusement. I have been trying to perfect wet felting without getting wet myself. In this endeavor I have found boot trays effective. They come in many sizes, depths and various patterns on their boot surface. I have one that is extra-long with a trellis pattern and a much shorter tray with ridges. In the spring, Giant tiger stores often have their end of season sale on boot trays. Other spots I would check would be Walmart, Home Depot, Costco and Dollarama. They have worked quite well to contain the water and keep me dry.
Mainstays Manor Lattice Boot Tray Mat, 17” x 35” Walmart
Costco Deal: Bird Rock Home Rubber Boot Tray 34″ L x 14″ W x 2″ D
Winter car mats have the same usefulness to work over as the boot trays but don’t contain the water as well as they do. If you are lucky you might also find a van winter mat reduced for quick sale. Even the regular car mats have textures that may be to your liking.
I have also found that plastic gloves are helpful for keeping my fingers dry while wet felting! I have some from work and found some in the automotive section of Dollarama (they’re black but work great). I have tried the dish gloves but find they have poor palpation through the thicker gloves.
Part 2 next time.