5 tips to (successfully) create with felt |Keeping it Real

Monday, November 15, 2021

5 tips to (successfully) create with felt

If you've been visiting a while you already know I love working with felt - it doesn't fray, it's very versatile, comes in every color under the sun and can be sewn, glued and easily cut to any shape you want. 

 Unfortunately, all these great qualities don't necessarily guarantee success. Sometimes projects fail. And no one likes to show a failed project (or even admit to one). So here are a few tips to ensure the best outcome when working with felt.

1. Get the most appropriate type of felt for your project

There are many types of felt around. There's 100% wool, 100% acrylic, thick felt, soft felt, etc, and the best one depends on the particular project you have in mind.

Acrylic felt tends to be better for projects like embellishments, Christmas ornaments, appliques, etc, and I prefer to use wool for soft toys, key chains, coasters, purses and other projects that need to withstand being handled a lot.

If you're making a box out of felt, you will need a thicker, stiffened felt that will hold its shape. If you're sewing a small pincushion like this one, a softer wool felt will be better.



2. Use good quality felt

Does this seem obvious? It is, but the truth is that I have had problems in the past. Once I bought felt at a craft store to make stuffed seahorses for my kids. I was pressed for time and it was the only thing available, so even though I wasn't totally convinced I bought it anyway. Shortly after I completed both seahorses (and gifted them), the felt had already worn thin around the stitches and even a few small holes were visible. Those seahorses still exist today but I've had to mend them several times over the years. If I had taken the time to make sure I was buying good quality felt, that particular project wouldn't have become so frustrating.

To make sure your project comes out in the best way possible - and lasts - make sure to double check the quality of the felt.

3. Trace your pattern carefully

To be honest, when possible I prefer to cut  felt with die cutters (my Sizzix Big Shot), to make sure I have clean cut lines. But of course you can't own dies for every shape possible, so eventually you need to trace patterns at some point.

I don't like to pin the patterns for tracing over the felt, especially when working with small pieces, because pins sometimes distort the shapes. I prefer to just hold down the pattern and trace slowly around, one section at a time. 

For larger pieces I sometimes use chalk to trace the patterns, for others a soft pencil or disappearing ink is enough. For smaller ones I may just cut around the paper pattern directly. It also depends on the type of shapes to cut or the details of each pattern.

 Remember to turn the pattern over if you need to cut mirrored sides. Even if felt doesn't really have a right and a wrong side, tracing always leaves some sort of mark and it's safer to have patterns traced on the "wrong" side.



4. Try to be as accurate as possible when cutting

Get a good pair of scissors - smaller, thin blade scissors work better, especially for smaller shapes. And never forget: don't use the same scissors to cut felt (or fabric, for that matter) and paper. Paper cutting dulls the blades and that in turn will make it difficult for you to cut your felt accurately. 

5. Assemble your project carefully

Sometimes it's better to take a bit longer to sew (or glue) a felt project, making sure everything fits together. 
Even though felt doesn't fray, getting all the pieces of a project fitting together can still be a challenge. If you're working with small pieces, I sometimes find useful to have a pair of tweezers close by. 
And if you're using glue, make sure the glue only goes where it should. Unfortunately. I have ruined more than one project with drops of glue falling where they weren't supposed to - and trust me, glue on felt looks terrible and often means you will need to restart the whole process.


Felt is wonderful to work with, and you can create amazing things with it. Follow these tips to make sure you're getting the best experience with your felt projects. 


Thank you for stopping by, and have a wonderful week,

Keeping it Real, craft blog

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