Tutorial – Nuno felt scarf

Here’s a quick guide to making a nuno felt scarf. Nuno is the name for a scarf made from fabric and wool fibres. Natural fabrics like silk and cotton muslin work best but synthetics can also be successfully used.

1. Materials

In this example I’m using a silk scarf which I painted some years ago and then got a little bored of. Time for a makeover! The fibres are Blue Faced Leicester but you could also use Merino or Shetland. I’m also going to decorate it with silk fibres but you can add many types of decoration, just try a few experiments.

2. Laying out

Wetting your fabric first will wash out any dressing and allow it to sit completely flat on your bubblewrap. Lay the bubblewrap bubble side down. You will get better shrinkage (and therefore more crinkling of the fabriic) if you use less fibre. So try to pull very finely but evenly. Lay the fibres in random directions. If all the fibres are laid in one direction you will get shrinkage in just that one direction e.g. if the fibres are laid vertically from end to end your scarf will be nearly as wide but much shorter after felting. After you’ve laid out the fibres it’s time to add any extra decoration like silk or soya bean fibres.

laying outlaying out

3. Wet and work

Add cool soapy water (hot water sets the fibres felting before they’ve had a chance to work their way through the fabric) along the length of the scarf and then cover with either a net or a piece of decorators plastic sheeting (as I’ve done) Use your hand to press all the water down through the fibres until it goes flat and give a light rub with a bag. Take off the net (or plastic) and roll the whole thing up in the bubble wrap. Roll 300 times then unroll and roll another 300 times from the other end. Check if it’s ready (see below) or keep rolling. Different fabrics and different fibres require different amounts of rolling.

wet outrubroll

4. Finishing

You’ll know it’s time to stop rolling when the fibres are making their way through the fabric. You can check this by feeling for them or sometimes you can see they’ve come through. You can fold the fabric over the back of your hand then lift it up to the light – you may now be able to see them.


Turn the bubblewrap bubble side up and rub the scarf against the bubble wrap along the whole length. Now you can put the scarf into soapy water as hot as your hands can stand and then throw the scarf 12 times. After each set of throwing check that the scarf isn’t felting to itself. The crinkles will very quickly appear as the fibres are felted When you stop is partly a matter of choice but you shouldn’t be able to pull the fibres off the fabric easily and expect a shrinkage rate of approx. 50%

Wash the soap out and rinse in vinegar water before leaving to dry. You’re done!


23 Replies to “Tutorial – Nuno felt scarf”

  1. Thanks for that Marica, much appreciated. If you’d like to send a photo of your scarf I’d be pleased to mention it on my blog or to link to your blog if you decide to show it there.

  2. Hi Linda, literally that, pick the scarf up and then throw it back down onto the table. It helps to shock the wool into felting.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing!!! I am at the begining,and I think this tutorial is very very useful!
    Can you tell me wich is the best natural fabric in order to have a beautiful result?
    thank you again.wish you all the best!!!

  4. Thanks Agatha. My favourite fabric to use for nuno is silk chiffon. It’s very easy to use, dyes easily and has a wonderful drape. Good luck.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing!! I am about to make my first nuno felt scarf. Can you tell me why the scarf has to be rinsed with vinegar water before leaving to dry?What is the difference if i just rinse wuth cold water. And could you let me know the ration of vineger and water?Thanks !!

  6. Hi Alice, the vinegar helps to get rid of the soap (which can discolour over time) and return the wool to it’s nturally more acidic state. Enough water to rinse and just a small amount of vinegar is sufficient, once dry, it won’t smell of vinegar.

  7. Hi Angela if you run out of time can you continue the following day or must a scarf be completed in one session.

  8. Hi Sue, no piece of felt ever needs to be completed in one day so you’d be absolutely fine to continue another day. If it’s going to be a few days inbetween make sure it dries out or it will get smelly. Angela

  9. Hello! Do you need to rub until ALL the fibres come through the fabric?

  10. Hi Eleanor, Not all the fibres but a goodly amount. If you put the fabric over your finger (wool side down) you need to be able to see a beard of fibres coming through 9Or feel them). If you can neither see nor feel them you need to keep working it. 🙂

  11. Hi Dawn. It’s just like making clay rolls. You make it before you make the scarf. Layout the wool, wet it with soapy water, keeping 3″ at one end dry and roll until hardened. You can then use the dry unmatted fibres to attach it to the scarf and work as normal. Angela

  12. Thanks so much for your clear instructions
    ? Can you go over a scarf and add in the bare spaces and redo the nuno felting?

  13. The only reason not to is that the bits you’ve already done would shrink even further and become quite hard and inflexible. I wouldn’t recommend it

  14. Could you please clarify: the silk scarf you painted and then decided to repurpose for this nuno project, is it a regular silk scarf? My real question is, can I repurpose old silk scarves into a project like this? Other sites have suggested that the bar fabric has to have a fairly open weave. Thank you!

  15. Thank you for this tutorial. I’m new to nuno and want to embellish but they don’t seem to felt or stick to the fabric. What am I doing wrong?

  16. love the clear instructions for Nuno Scarf making and intend trying it out on a silk scarf dyed many years ago Thank You

  17. hope to be in touch again when i ve worked on my scarf
    thanks again

  18. Only unfelted fibre of very lightly felted pre-felt will stick to the fabric in wet felting. You need soft fluffy fibres to migrate through the fabric to hold it on. If the felt you’re trying to attach is smooth then there’s nothing to migrate. I hope this makes sense.

  19. The more open the weave of the scarf the easier it is to nuno felt with it. You can repurpose old scarves. Drape one layer of the scarf over your hand and blow gently, if you can feel you breath on the hand holding the scarf there’s a good chance you can nuno felt with it. I have successfully used, silk chiffon, silk gauze, silk paj, silk habotai, cotton scrim, cotton muslin and some synthetics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *