how to stiffen felt


Hello friends!

I am **almost** ready to share a couple of really big projects–can’t wait–but until then I thought I would share another basic tutorial, one I use all the time: How to Stiffen Felt.  This is one of those things that I often think of as a STEP within a larger PROJECT, but, because it is a little involved it’s worthwhile to write out exactly how to do it–and the methods that I have had the most success with.  I used several of the tips my friend Jessica shared on her blog, and tweaked a few things.

First of all, stiffened felt is really useful when crafting toys or objects that you would like to stand up without stuffing.  I recently stiffened felt for this nativity set I made.  Grab the free template HERE.  So, in this way, although stiffening felt can be a bit tedious it is a time and money saver in the end.

kid's nativity 2


Ready to stiffen felt?  Let’s do it!  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Felt–I use a wool blend felt I purchase HERE.  Much cheaper than 100% wool felt and yet so much nicer to work with than yucky acrylic felt.
  • White School Glue
  • Warm Water
  • Old Container
  • Wax Paper
  • Iron

how to stiffen felt for crafting

First off, cut your felt into pieces larger than the piece you ultimately plan to cut.  The felt may shrink or change shape in the stiffening process.

Next, mix 1 part glue to 3 parts warm water in a disposable container.  I know Jessica used more glue, but I found that more glue left a film on my felt and using only 1/4 glue in the mixture was plenty.  Stir the glue and water until they are completely combined.

Place each piece of felt in the glue/water mixture, submerging it completely.  Let the felt become completely saturated.  Jessica has a good tip about starting with the lighter colors and working your way to the darker colors, as most felt (mine certainly did) will bled and tint the glue/water mixture.

Now, for the tricky/time consuming part–drying the felt.  First off, it is important to try and get out as much of the water/glue mixture was possible. Don’t wring out the felt, as this will destroy the felt.  I found that pinching the felt between my hand and the side of the dish and pulling it through worked the best to get out most of the liquid and in the end having a repetitively flat piece of felt.  Any extra time you spend getting out the liquid will save you oodles of time on the drying step.

Lay out the felt in a single layer on wax paper and allow 24-48 hours to dry completely.  Drying time will depend largely on the type of felt you used and how well you got out the liquid.

Once the felt is totally dry, flatten it and make it nice and crisp with an iron.  Place each piece of felt under a clean cloth while ironing.

And, now it’s time to get on with the rest of your project!

As a final note, I always encourage people to use tape when cutting out patterns, and not straight pins.  HERE is the full explanation on that.  This is even more important when working with stiffened felt.

Thanks for being here!

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