Tutorial – Seamless Felt Notebook
I usually begin seamless felted items with a resist, so called because it resists the layers felting together. To get the right size I measure the item and add 40% to allow for shrinkage. With a notebook you need to measure the width of front, back and spine. My book measures 31cm wide by 21cm high so my resist is 43cm wide and 30cm high. Don’t forget to round off the corners so they don’t poke through your fibres.
2. Laying out the background
Don’t have your hands too close together so the fibres will separate easily. Begin by laying a fringe half on, half off the resist and then fill in the centre. Your next layer of fibre needs to be at right angles to the first layer.
Put your net on the fibres and wet out with soapy water. use your hand to press all the water down through the fibres until it goes flat and give a very light rub with a bag. Take off the net and turn the resist over to fold in your fringe. Repeat as above on this side but leave a gap in the centre.
3. Adding a pattern
Turn it over and add your pattern bearing in mind that you’re looking at both front and back. Front of the cover is on the right, back is on the left.
Then it’s back on with the net, wet it out and rub until the pattern is set and do the pinch test above. If the fibres stay together then you’re ready to roll. If the fibres start to separate you need to rub for longer.
4.Ready to roll
I use a piece of pipe insulation for rolling but you can use a broom handle. Wrap the whole thing up in the bubble wrap and roll 100 times. Unroll, the package, turn 90 degrees and roll for another 100. Unwrap, turn it over and repeat.
When the resist begins to buckle it’s time to remove the felt. To full (harden) the felt you can continue to roll or throw it onto the table. The impact of the throwing shocks the felt into hardening and gives a more textured finish.
Remember to keep checking the size against your book so that you don’t shrink it too far. When you’re nearing the correct size, cut down to open the flaps out so the book can be inserted and then remove the excess felt. Whilst the felt is wet it can be shaped, so stretch it and pull it back into shape if you need to before leaving to dry.