Experimenting With ArtFelt Paper

Experimenting With ArtFelt Paper

Have you ever bought something, thinking “this will be great to use for…,” and then it sits on standby for a few years? Well, it’s even worse when you are a shop owner. Everything sparkles brightly, when you attend a vendor show, but then the product arrives and sits on your shelves. For me that item is ArtFelt Paper: but after a couple days of experimenting with it, I think it deserves more consideration.

ArtFelt Paper

ArtFelt Paper is a starch based product, created by Gerhard Schoppel, of Schoppel-Wolle in Germany. He invented it to make his daughter’s school felting project, easier. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ especially when helping a child with homework! This paper becomes a base on which wool and other fibers, can be fixed in place, until ready for felting. Designs can be made with shingled wool, or thin pre-felt material. You can draw on it with permanent markers, or outlined with pencil roving. Using a foam board or similar underneath, a barbed felting needle is used, to tack fiber to the paper. After the design is complete, it is wet with soapy water, rolled up in plastic and thrown in the dryer. ArtFelt paper can be used with wool and woven fabrics, like silk and cotton, with interesting results. We will be looking at all sorts of things, so lets get started.

My experiments began with batts I created on my drum carder. They were at least 70% wool with other fiber and fun bits blended in. I pulled shingles from the batt at first, and then thought, why am I not using the batt as is? So, I pulled a section off and thinned it out with my hands.

Batt on the left, Roving on the right

The following photos are labeled to show my process. I’m surely not an expert by any means, but there is very little information, on how to use the product. Most of the things I’ve seen it used for, are less than inspiring, so I am jumping straight into the fun part.

It is then placed in a low temperature dryer for 10 minute intervals; unrolling and turning 90 degrees as necessary. If you are like me, you put it in the dryer the second time and forget about it. No worries: it’s most likely still damp enough to reshape.
Zoom View shows the small tufts of fiber coming through cotton fabric.

I didn’t stop there… I used the same batt to test bulky wool yarn, sari silk yarn, and art yarn, simply layed across the batt. I applied to the thinnest amount of wool fibers over the yarns. (top photos) Then I went crazy with whatever I could find; blue bamboo threads, sequins on and pulled off thread, chopped up pieces of sari silk ribbon. (middle photos) Then I chopped up all sorts of art yarns to see what they would do. (bottom photos)

Then, I had to test out all sorts of silks on different fiber batts. The gold fiber batt (top photo below) is 100% merino wool. I used magenta silk noil nepps, hand dyed hankies (right side) under chopped sari ribbon pieces. The blue fiber batt, contained fibers that were obviously not wool: not much shrinkage. I applied silk lapp at the bottom, sari silk roving in deep blue, silk yarns, and a blue lock that fell off after felting.

I wanted to see how ArtFelt paper worked with silk fabric. To really test it thoroughly, I used 100% NZ Merino for both tests below. The top sandwich had; ArtFelt paper bottom/wool middle/silk fabric and sari ribbons on top. The result was not much shrinkage at all. The ribbons could easily be pulled off, and the silk fabric adhered, but felt very loose. The bottom sandwich…I didn’t take a photo of the other side!! The layer order is; silk fabric bottom/ArtFelt paper middle/wool and decorative bits on top. You can see the silk peeking out from the lower left corner.

The wool layer felted really well. Even the bits of fiber are secure. How did the silk fabric do? It adhered really well to the wool fiber. It looks the ruching on the cotton fabric, but it has a softer, genteel look.

ArtFelt Paper between the silk and merino layers.

I think the possibilities are definitely positive for this product. I think there are still more things that can be done with it. I did a couple more samples to see how it would work for pre-felt pieces. The green was some wisps of fiber I had lingering in my stash. It is very thin. I thought it could be useful, as trees or grasses, in a landscape. Then I carded a batt to create a pre-felt of sky and water or land. The last photo is a brooch by Louise Giordano, (http://scarf-it-up.net) who used ArtFelt paper to create the piece.

9/18/2022 Update: 35% ArtFelt discount period has ended for this article.

Capi

26 thoughts on “Experimenting With ArtFelt Paper

  1. Ooh – another rabbit hole! This looks very interesting Capi, I love your experiments with this new technique.
    On a slightly different note, I particularly like your batt right at the beginning of the post, it’s gorgeous.
    Ann

    1. Story to have to agree with you, this paper IS a rabbit hole, from which you will be very happy to never climb out of!

  2. Very clearly explained Capi and lovely photos.

    The batt you made (shown at the top of your post) is scrummy 🙂

    You couldn’t have tested the artfelt more thoroughly – everyone can see its capabilities in your lovely samples.

    1. Thank you, Lyn. I have some batts, I made using parts of purchased batts, blended with my stash of colors and fibers. It’s like being a kid in a candy store…making cotton candy!
      I plan to see what I can do with the samples too.

  3. Very interesting and colourful experiments, Capi. And most thoroughly tested, photographed & explained. Well done!

    1. Thank you, Lindsay. Except, I forgot the most important part…how to remove the paper with boiling water! Oops 😬

      My husband just saw your last post, and was blown away by your work. He thinks the colors, you are able to to achieve on felt, are amazing.

      Capi

  4. Nice results! I’ve used this product in the past. And I’ve also felted using a tumble dryer without it. I noticed that, as far as I can tell, you don’t mention that the final step in the process is to bathe the finished piece in boiling water to dissolve the Art felt paper. When I used Art Felt Paper that step was essential. Has the product changed? Also, I bought one of their large felting foam boards and love it for needle felting. I’ve had it for years and it’s holding up very well. It’s a good investment.

    1. Kathryn, you are so correct. It still works the same: rinsing out with boiling water. I totally forgot that part of the process!! My husband was taking care of my mother (Alzheimer’s) while I took photos and typed away outside on our patio. It totally slipped my mind. I’m going to ask Ruth, if I can edit after the post.

    1. Just seen you are in the US – I’m looking for a supplier in the UK Thankyou

  5. Your post is so interesting Capi. I have not heard of that product before. I do not have a tumble dryer, so probably no point in further inquiry about it. But, I am so impressed with what you have shown, thank you so much.

    1. Thank you, Marie. Isn’t it fun, we all have such different interests, but appreciate everyone’s individual gifts! I still love that jacket of yours!

  6. Very interesting post. I wonder if it would be good to needle felt a picture and then add it to part of another picture that will be wet felted. I was just about to ask if the paper dissolved in the dryer but I see that was answered . Yes you can go back in and edit, I’ve had to do it.

    1. You present an interesting idea, Ann! I found you can control the amount of ArtFelt felting, by the number of times in the dryer. I’m thinking, for the price of a stamp, I can send a “letter” to Canada, and you can perform an experiment! This could be the gift, that keeps on giving… ❤️ Hugs, Capi

    2. I’m not completely clear on your question but if you are wondering about felting in stages, yes, you can use this paper in stages. I toss the item in the dryer (it does NOT have to be a hot dryer) a bit to prefelt it, take it out and go to the next stage of whatever I’m creating. This is very helpful with delicate items.

    3. Thank you for your knowledge. The distributor I buy from, is Skacel Knitting. I wish there were some more interesting videos to go with the paper. This has been listed in my Etsy shop for 3 years…I have had 3 orders today alone.

      Please note: Etsy’s shipping algorithm is wrong, all the time, for our shop. 🙄We refund overages manually after orders are processed.

  7. Yes, Capi, go ahead and edit and update. This is great information and always good to know how to use a product you are selling.

    1. I will get it edited, early in the week. Received a lovely message from a lady in Alaska this morning, that got re-inspired by my post. 👍🏻

  8. How many rabbit holes can we fibre folk get into? Turns out, with the aid of these lovely products, many! 🙂 What an interesting and well documented experiment, Capi. My favourite photo was definitely the one where you show the fibre sticking out from the wrong side, like little trees (or soldiers?) all lined up in attention! It made me chuckle 😀

  9. I’ve just tried to look at the website – http://www.itsartfelt.com as shown on the label of the package – to look at the videos mentioned, but there’s nothing there. I hope they haven’t gone out of business.
    Ann

    1. I recently ordered and received more paper from them. Not sure why videos are missing but there is an updated You Tube video by the company that simplifies the process and provides excellent examples.

  10. Oh my gosh I love Art Felt paper. I took a class in it about five years ago in the fabulous Silver Threads and Golden Needles fiber shop in Franklin, NC. I fell in love with the technique during the class and have ever since kept a stash of the paper on hand. I assure everyone reading, it is SO easy and it works! I still wet felt the old way for certain projects but this paper is my first go to item for felting. Go to You Tube, search art felt and watch the video, preferably by the owner of the company, Stacel. Have fun!

    1. Ooops so sorry, a typo above. Search Skacel on You Tube. I’m sure one can correct typos on this board but I have no idea how. Need to figure it out!

Leave a Reply to ruthlane Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: