Learn how to make felt using wool fibres, or other felt making techniques such as needle felting using non-wool fibres such as silk from this selection of books about making felt.
Felt making is an ancient technique for making warm, strong unwoven fabric from wool fibres. The fibres are felted together using soap, water and friction until they interlock into a permanent mass. The felt can be made into a flat piece of fabric by placing the wool fibre on a bamboo felting mat in perpendicular layers. Soapy water is sprayed onto the fibres to wet it and then the whole piece is rolled up. The roll is then worked backwards and forwards to agitate the fibres until they felt.
The wool fibre can also be worked into shape and felted in your hands and it is possible to create felt balls or beads using this method or longer sausage shapes for making other items. Needle felting, which is a dry felt making process, uses a sharp needle with backward barbs along the shaft. The needle is plunged into the fibre mass and as it is pulled out, the barbs hook onto fibres which are then pushed back into the mass when the needle is returned. This method makes the fibre (other fibres such as silk will work too) knot together and is very effective for creating 3d objects such as animals or dolls and for sculpting detail. Using a felting needle it is also possible to felt wool around a former or wire armature.