Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nuno Felting: Part 1

I'll be leading our next SpirARTuality group in Nuno Felting. Since none of us had ever done it before, I had to practice.
We bought our wonderful kits from Suzanne Morgan, here. She's got very complete written directions for nuno felting here, (and a link to my friend Deborah's blog which give me the idea originally). So here's my simplified photo version of How To Nuno Felt.

Here are the supplies you'll need:
-a hard, flat surface that can get wet (I used a big broiling pan)
-a towel to soak up excess water
-bubble wrap or a bamboo mat
-net or tulle
-old pantyhose or rubberbands (something to secure your rolled bundle)
-rolling pin, PVC pipe, dowel rod, or something similar
-The contents of a Nuno Felting Starter Kit, or: a prefelt base (or you may build yourself with alternating layers of wool), loose weave silk or other natural fibers, roving, yarn or thread if desired.

Step 1: Set up your Sandwich like this:
bubble wrap or bamboo mat
tulle or net
prefelt (or 4-6 pieces of alternating roving which will become the backing when felted)
your fabric design*
tulle or net

*For your fabric design, you may layer up fabric. However, make sure that there is roving between any layers of fabric. Also make sure there is roving on the top of the whole project so that the wool will bind through the layers of non-wool and felt everything.

Step 2: Once you've completed your fabric design and put the tulle/net on top, wet it down with some water with a couple of drops of soap (don't over-soap it--it will become a bubbly mess!)

Step 4: Rub in small circles for 10-15 minutes until the design is tacked down.
You can do this either with a wadded up ball of plastic, or you can use rubber gloves or a plastic sack on your hand.
Start out rubbing gently in small circles. As you go, you can press more firmly and make bigger circles.
Give extra care to the edges of fabric to make sure they get tacked down.
Every couple of minutes, pull both layers of tulle away from your fabric piece to make sure they are not getting felted into the piece. At that point, you can also re-position anything that has slipped.
Keep rubbing until everything in your piece is tacked down and doesn't move around.

When everything is tacked, it's time to roll up your sandwich and start the second part...

Nuno Felting: Part 2

Step B1: Once your patterned is stuck together a bit, it's time to roll it up and get to serious felting.
I used a rolling pin covered with Saran Press N Seal (to keep the wood from getting too wet) as the center of my roll. You could also use PVC pipe, a dowel, or whatever you have around.
Wrap the sandwich (bubble wrap, net, your fabric piece, net) around your core and secure it.
I used rubber bands. You can also use old panty hose or whatever.

Step B2: Roll! Roll! Roll! and Roll some more!
Roll it at least 100 times in one direction.
Then undo your package turn your fabric 1/4 turn, package it together again, and roll 100 times.
Undo package, turn fabric 1/4 turn, and then roll at least 100 times.
Make sure you roll it in all 4 directions at least 100 times.

You can roll any way you like--on a table, up and down the wall (a REALLY good workout), or on the floor using your feet (gliders work great for this step).
When you roll, put your body into it--use lots of pressure. But be gentle with your body, too.

Note: the fabric shrinks in the direction you are rolling it. So if you want to make it skinnier than it is, roll it up sideways then roll, roll, roll.

Step B-3: Squishing.
When you're done with all the rolling, then unroll it and pull your fabric out of the sandwich.
Get a bowl of hot water and dip your fabric into it.

Then squeeze it out 3-4 times.
Open the fabric and gently pull on the edges to "clean them up."
Then drop it into the water, squeeze the water out several times, and pull the edges.
Repeat, repeat, repeat until it's as small and tight as you want it.

When it's the size you like, spread it out and let it dry. You're done!

Magnetic Fabric Photo Frames

I've been away from my blog for so long, I can't figure out how to turn a picture or how to turn off underlining. Please excuse my unintended emphsis.

Each Christmas, we get dozens of photos from family and friends. And I'm not good about putting them in a photo album. So this year, we decided to send pictures ready to put onto your fridge. It was a really fun little project. Turn your head to see how they turned out:

Step 1:
Cut Timtex to your desired "frame" size.
(I prefer Timtex because it is very stiff and is sticky on both sides. You may use any sort of batting or stiffener, and separate sticky stuff if you prefer.)

If making mulitples (which I encourage you to do), cut them all at once. Remember, the frames don't all have to be the same size.

Step 2: Iron on your backing fabric.
Backing fabric can be just one piece of material, or you can sew together many scraps. I suggest using those things that take up room in your stash but never call out to you.

If you are making multiple frames, save yourself some energy here and place all the timtex close together and lay a large piece of fabric over all of it and iron all at once. Then cut the rectangles apart, leaving just a tiny bit of fabric overhanging the edge.

Step 3: Iron on your front fabric.
I did lots of strip piecing of my favorite scraps of fabric to make the fronts. I was really happy to be able to use tiny pieces of my favorite bits.

Again, if you're making multiple frames, put the timtex pieces beside one another and iron all at once. Cut rectangles apart, leaving a tiny overhang of fabric.

Step 4: zigzag around all edges of your frames:

Step 5: Sew on a vinyl cover for your photo. You may choose to cut the vinyl the same size as your frame, or just slightly bigger than your photo.
Sew around 3 sides of the vinyl.

Final Step: Glue magnetic strips or circles onto the back of your frames. Insert photo.