Here is part 2 of Jan Scott’s felting tool post. It was much prettier in the word doc format but I don’t seem to be able to transfer that to the blog.
I have a large selection (24 years of collecting) of Massage related implements that may have potential for Felting. One of which are the I.T. Band rollers. They were once veryexpensive and rather limited to acquire. A few weeks ago I found a number of variations of surfaces on rollers at Dollerama for 4.00 each.
There are also foot rollers and trigger point balls. Not only are they excellent for getting tension out of Levator scapula or the plantar arch, they also work quite nicely to felt with. They come in various stiffness’s for the knobby bits. There are similar balls with knobby bits at the dollerama for much less money. Check the pet toys and the kid’s toys. The tall purple cylindrical roller was from Walmart in the exercise section and was still cheaper than the massage supply stores.
If you find a theraband roller in a second hand store you might want to grab it. Not only is it wonderful for treating both Golfers and tennis elbow (a common felter’s complaint) it also is a cylinder with grooves so again good for felting. They come in different firmness in case you were wanting to use it to stretch your medial or lateral Epicondilitis.
I have been keeping an eye out for Fondant rollers with groves and patterns, they are a Kitchen implement which may also be useful in felting. I have also seen pictures of a regular wooden rolling pin with a bamboo place mat elasticed to it. It looks like it would work too.
Ann has been tracking down wooden facial massagers and foot rollers from Ali express out of china. It’s a very interesting site but be very attentive to the size of items some look much bigger in the picture than what they are when they arrive. They are good for getting into small corners but some of them have a bit of a squeak when rolling.
For needle felting too there are tools not originally designed for felting. I only started to try Cookie cutters for needle felting templates recently. I am not sure if I will investigate further since I really have enjoyed the sculptural aspect of felting but for a production felter it may be helpful to start with a standardized base shape.
I have a number of different sizes of dowels, Meet skewers and wooden scraper for rapping wool around. Most were acquired at the Dollar store in the art or cooking sections.
I have been wanting to try wax on felt to crate claw tips, beaks and noses. I have a suspicion that melted crayons may work. If I need more stiffness I can add paraffin wax. If I need more flexibility I can add more Bees wax. To melt the crayons, I have been cruising the second hand stores looking for a melting device. This is what I have found and am looking forward to trying it out. I will let you know how it goes!
I have found the Extra-large Zipper Bags at Dollerama to be extremely helpful. The Foam pad I used for making the 3D pictures fits in it perfectly. The Foam is a chair pad I bot at Walmart. The 3” thickness I found to be safer than the smaller 12×12 by 2” deep pad I have also been using. I have been leaving the thin plastic over the foam, finding it gave me good separation from the wool and the foam. As I continue to work in one aria the plastic eventually will deteriorate. I have just kept moving to a new section but eventually will add another layer of plastic over the foam. The Foam I chose has no memory foam content. (I have heard rumors of needle felting and memory foam are not compatible.)
Have you noticed at Dollerama, the test tubes with screw tops? They have decretive erasers in them, but you can empty them out, add a bit of wool at the bottom and then they hold felting needles very nicely. I have been keeping the needles I’m working with stuck in the side of my foam but the test tubes are grate to store extra needles. I have labeled each tube with the needle type size and source. I will add a label to the lid once I find a good storage box for all 16 reasonably available needle types. I am still tracking down spirals in a coarser size.
Now that I have most of the needles that are available it will be easier to determine what the Chinese supplier are labeling as small medium and large, or fine medium and coarse.
There is one last thing I think would be important to any art and craft person which is a comfortable table height. I was lucky to find a small adjustable table at Walmart. The top is 30”x19” so hold a table loom or all my needle felting stuff. It adjusts from 21 to 28 inches so has worked well for seated work.
I also have a printer table that was not the height I had hoped for. So added leg extensions of PVC piping to raze it up. I think Ann is using the same technique on her table to make it a good height to stand and work at. With a bit of height adjustment, you can have the table slope just enough to drip water off one corner and into a bucket or drain.
Ergonomics, in body position, comfort of tools and working height is important if you want to keep doing what you are enjoy for your entire lifetime.
I hope that I found something that was new to you and that you will share some of your best finds with me!