Burning the fuzz off a basket and then dying it.

Burning the fuzz off a basket and then dying it.

I thought I would try burning fuss of some felt, a bergschaf wool basket to be precise. My son gave me his cool little cigar lighter he picked up. It worked for about 5 seconds then was out of fuel. no problem we will just get some butane and fill it. Well, you would think that was easy but no.

So I will try a candle. We really only have beeswax candles so I got a tealight and tried it. It worked  (it looks more scorched than it is)  but I spilled wax on the basket and that’s not good. Good thing I decided to try the inside of the handle where it won’t show so I will not have to look up how to get beeswax out of wool. I seem to remember something about ironing with paper from my grade 7 batiking class. We will not mention just how long ago that class was.

Next was to see if Walmart has a little torch in the kitchen section for doing the tops of Creme Brulee. No, they do not. How about some butane? No, you have to order that on the online platform. No flammable gas in the store but they will ship you pressurized gas in the mail. No time for that, buy a BBQ lighter. They have that. I had to return that seems it won’t light. Next, let’s try Canadian Tire. Yes,  according to the website they have butane and even have a little torch on sale cheap ($9.99 marked down from $39.99). No, they are sold out even if the app says there are 2 left. And where is the butane? Nowhere to be found. Another fail. I am starting to think the universe is telling me not to do this. But there are BBQ lighters at the cashout. Let’s try again, I grabbed one and off I went.

This BBQ lighter works, now I can give this a try.

I worked well. A little hard to keep it lit because of all the safety features on lighters these days but I managed. I was wishing to the flamethrower lighters of my teen years. Just not the same waving a phone light. Not to mention you cant singe hairs of wool with them.

It wasn’t easy trying to get a picture of the singed hairs. If the pot had been white maybe it would have been easier but many tries later I got this good one. Keeping the torch moving is the key to not singing it. and the hairs shrivel quite fast.

The problem is it looks like it’s nice and hair free and then you brush off the burned bits and it just raised more hairs. I tried to be gentle but still. after a second pass, it was better but still, there were hairs. It’s too bad it didn’t work as I wanted because even though is it a bit stinky it was fun to do.

Oh well moving onto the next step, dying the basket. This time I picked magenta and purple.

First into the dye pot upside down to do the lighter colour on the top. it cooked loner than usual as when I went to take it out I realized I hadn’t added any vinegar. Oh well, no harm done.

Then the other way up to do the darker purple. You can see the wax I didn’t get off, on the top. A very effective resist.

I was very happy when I rinsed the basket, there was no bleeding at all.

I rolled up the handle to dry in the right shape this time. So there is a happy face instead of an alien this time.

This is a nice close up that shows the colour changes nicely. When it is dry I will shave it.


Here is t is off the ball. I will add some stitching but that’s a job for Sunday.


By now, with basket 3, I am sure you are sick of hearing about may baskets. I promise not to do another basket post next week when it is my turn to post again.






15 thoughts on “Burning the fuzz off a basket and then dying it.

  1. It’s looks so pretty after you’ve dyed it Ann! I would like to see another post on this basket to see how you finish it.

    And now we know you can use the ‘batik’ method on felt!

    What’s the advantage of burning the hairs off felt over shaving them off?

    1. Thanks, Lyn, it is a fun way to dye. I will let people know how it finished. I shaved it last night and think I know which yarn I will use to stitch it. I don’t know that burning is of any great advantage although I can see on something large like a rug it would be easier than trying to shave it. I suppose in the past shaving would not have been very easy. I wouldn’t want to do it with a straight razor.

      P.S I just added two pictures of the basket off the ball. I thought I had added them but it seems not.

    2. Just looked at the pictures you added – the colours are easier to see and they are lovely!

  2. Great basket Ann. I am not sure that the burning method is any better than the shaving method. As i said before, i used a craft heat gun and that worked just as well as your lighter. It still leaves the singed bits though too. I like the gradation of dye and I’m sure the stitching will be a great addition. I don’t mind another basket post. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ruth. I don’t think burning is worth the trouble either. I am really pleased with the way the colour overlaps work with this dying method. I will show everyone the stitching when its done.

  3. Ann, your basket is looking ‘happy’ complete with smiley face. The colours have worked well with their gradation.
    Removing the fuzzies with a lighter….all I got for my troubles was a sore hot finger, but I was using a cigarette lighter that I had to keep relighting! Next time I’ll try Ruth’s heat tool method.

    If you are going to stitch this basket then you must give us another post on it. We’ve all been on your journey through your basket pregnancy, to not see the birth of the final work would be cruel!!! 🤪

    1. Thanks Antje, yes, the new safety features make it much harder to maintain a flame. I will share the finished Basket when its done. I have a grey purple with some pink in it that I just finished spinning and plying that I may use.

  4. i am enjoying your spooky aliens that you can carry things in! that is cool colour layering efect. i think the gray is working well for that

    1. Thanks Jan, it is getting closer to the spooky alien time of the year. Yes I like the grey. the dye gets lots of colour depth with little effort

  5. Thanks Ruth. I don’t think burning is worth the trouble either. I am really pleased with the way the colour overlaps work with this dying method. I will show everyone the stitching when its done.

  6. I laughed several times while reading about your process, and admire your perseverance! VERY pretty end results, too. Congrats!!!

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