More Experimentation with Felting and Paper

More Experimentation with Felting and Paper

I have continued with my experimentations with mulberry paper and felting. My first post is here if you missed it.

Mulberry paper with embossed leaf laid out over green wool ready to felt.

I have had this mulberry paper with leaves embossed on it for quite a while. I loved the paper but never used it for anything. It is fairly thick and the embossed portions are really thick. The question was whether it would felt easily to the surface. I tore out a single leaf and placed it over a small torn piece of green, short fiber merino batt.

Mulberry paper with embossed leaf laid out over green wool wet down on felting surface.

The wool and paper were then wet down (sorry for the blurry photo) and I felted as I had on my previous paper samples, treating the paper as if it was fabric as in nuno felting. I wondered whether I would lose the embossed lines of the leaf, whether the paper thickness was too heavy to felt in easily and if it would felt differently than the thinner papers I had tried previously.

Mulberry paper with embossed leaf felted to green wool as a sample.

Here’s the end result. You can still see the leaf. It felted very easily and doesn’t seem much different than the thinner papers. I think if I had done a lot of wringing of the felt it would have distorted the leaf but I was careful to avoid fulling in that manner.

Hmmm… how can I use this leaf paper in a design? What would happen if I added ink or dye to the paper before felting? What if I dry brushed paint over the surface of the paper after felting? What else could I do to the surface to enhance the feel of leafiness? How would hand or machine stitching look on the surface? Will it be easy to stitch through? Any other experimental ideas for me? Obviously, more samples to follow.

Wool laid out for landscape with birch tree, river and distant trees and mountains. Birch tree from mulberry paper on the surface of layout.

Next on to experimenting with paper in my landscapes. This is the layout of wool and a paper birch tree. (This also works for my spring tree for our year long tree challenge.) The piece is pretty small and ended up about 7″ x 9″ after felting.

Wool wet down for landscape with birch tree, river and distant trees and mountains. Birch tree from mulberry paper on the surface of wool.

Here’s the piece after wetting down and curbing the edges a bit before felting. Again, I treated this gently to allow the paper to felt in.

Wet felted landscape with birch tree, river and distant trees and mountains. Birch tree from mulberry paper felted to the surface.

Here’s the piece after felting. I plan to add some free motion machine stitching to add more interest in the tree and more branches as well. I will probably add a few more leaves to the tree as well and perhaps a bit of detail to the rest of the landscape. The tree worked well and the paper really stands out to make the tree the focal point of the landscape. I definitely need to do more experiments with landscapes and paper. How else could I use the paper besides tree trunks? How would scraps of green paper felt in to make foliage? What would a variety of colors of paper layered over each other and then felted look like?

I love asking ‘what if’ and trying out these ideas, which lead to new ideas and further experimentation. I haven’t even begun to scrape the surface with how paper and felt can be used together. I would love to hear your ideas for experimentation so please leave a comment with your “what if’s”.


18 thoughts on “More Experimentation with Felting and Paper

  1. Great results, so far Ruth. That picture of the tree looks good already, I’m
    looking forward to it’s next appearance, and your next stage experiments.

    1. Thanks Ann! I need to get stitching on the landscape and add a few more spring leaves. Hopefully, you will see that on my next post 😉

  2. What an interesting experiment! It seems like it might be fun to play with inks or dye with the paper. I look forward to seeing what you do!

    1. Thanks Karen, the paper experiments have been fun. I am definitely going to try inks, paint and dyes next.

  3. Definitely think you should try the inks but avoid FW Acrylic Ink as I tried it and it bled away to nothing! Acrylic paint works well with this technique, before and after felting. It would be interesting to paint a range of greens with acrylic and cut them up for foliage, I think could work well with your paper trees.

    1. Thanks Karen, I am surprised by the FW Acrylic inks because the ones I have are usually water fast once dry. Good idea on the range of greens for foliage, I will definitely try that. Or for forest floor, I think the paper would work well in bits for lichen. I will just go ahead and try all of the different inks etc. to see what they do and so I have a record of them.

    2. You might find yours are ok and maybe I didn’t let the ink dry thoroughly before felting the paper. Whatever the outcome I know you will have fun with more experimentation!

  4. It was a surprise that the leaf veins didn’t disappear! The texture of the tree trunk looks good in the landscape – looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

    1. Yes, it was a surprise. About halfway through, I thought they were going to completely disappear. But they came back after drying. I hope to work on the landscape tomorrow and add some FME.

  5. So many ‘What Ifs?’, try to explore one & another set of WI’s? pop into mind….we just need time & all the resources!

    Fascinating to see how well the leaf felted in, despite it being so thick.

    Your paper tree has produced interesting texture – I’m looking forward to seeing how your stitching explores this texture & adds to the overall picture.

    1. Thanks Antje, yes, there are so many what if’s and one just breeds another, kind of like rabbits I guess. The leaf was really thick but felted right in, no problem. So it seems you could felt in many layers of mulberry paper – so many possibilities. Hopefully, my next post will show the stitched tree..

  6. I particularly liked the leaf, Ruth – to be honest, it ends up looking a lot more like a fossil to me (a bonus in my eyes).

    My what if: what if you embroidered the paper first and then added it to the rest of your woolly surface?

    1. Thanks Leonor, the leaf does look like a fossil and the surface texture of the paper looks almost rock like. So that’s another idea, fossils/rocks. And I love the idea to embroider the paper first and then add to the felt. Great “what if”. I will add it to my list!

  7. Wow I was surprised the leaf didn’t loose the embossing too. If you had cut around the leaf instead of tearing it out it would look even more like a leaf. Much like the cement leaves they make for stepping stones. A fossil was my first thought too. I think the paper would make great stone path or retaining wall in a garden picture. I can’t wait to see what else you do with the tree.

    1. Thanks Ann, yes, it was interesting to see how the paper developed. And yes, if I had cut a leaf shape, you could see it better for sure. A stone path or wall is an excellent idea for the paper. Next post will be about finishing the small landscape with the paper tree.

  8. That’s engaging experimenting, Ruth! I was a bit surprised by the paper felting easily, as it seemed quite thick. You mention that you will try also felting more layers of paper one over the other: I will be very interested in thatayering of paper, and how the colours of paper change because of it. If you paint the paper with acrylic, say, and then felt it, will the shape that you painted be visible and not deformed afrerwards? What if you treat the paper with, I don’t know, wax or glue or nail polish on some parts and then felt it: will the waxed/whatever parts not felt and appear whiter and not deformed…can you draw shapes with wax on the paper and then have those shapes stand out once the surrounding areas are felted in?
    Looking forward to your next experiments.

    1. Thanks Caterina, the paper felts like a dream. I have a list of things I still need to try. I do know that if the paper is painted heavily with acrylic, it will block the migration of wool and won’t felt as easily. But I hadn’t thought about the use of wax, glue or nail polish. I have soy wax that I might experiment with at some point. You can also mark on the paper after felting and then your shapes will be exactly as you want them.

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