Surface Design – W5 ( Unconventional Materials: Felting and Applique )

Unconventional Materials: Felting and Applique

What is Felting?
Felt is a non-woven textile that is produces by matting, condensing and pressing fibres together. Felt can be made of natural fibres such as wool or synthetic fibres such as acrylic. There are many different types of felts for industrial, technical, designer and craft applications. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can vary in terms of fiber content, size, thickness, density and more factors depending on the user of the felt.

Types of Felting:
– Wet Felting

– Dry Felting (Needle Felt)
– Nuno Felting

Wet Felting

Felt is made by a process called wet felting where the natural wool fibres, stimulated by friction and lubricated by moisture (usually soapy water). move at a 90 degree angle towards the friction source and then away again, in effect making little “tacking ” stitches. While at any given moment only 5% of the fibres are active, the process is continual, so different ‘set’ of fibres becomes activated and then deactivated. thereby building up the cloth.

Materials Used:
– Wool
– Soap
– Hot Water
– Plastic sheets (protect working desk)



We start our wet felting by aligning the wool onto a plastic surface(protection) you can align the wool in any position to your liking. Can be in circle ball, strips or even lump. Do take note that once the wool are bind together it would become relatively thin so if we are looking to make a thick felt we have to put more layer or wool, but we could also add more along the way.


We can add drops of soap and also hot water. Hot water would increase the speed of the wool being bind together:) if we want it to bind a little slower we could add room temperature water. Cover you wool with a plastic layer and start rubbing the wool, the action of rubbing actually binds the wool together. We could also peel the plastic sheets up to check on our felt or also flip the felt over and rub the other side of the felt:)


Once you have reach the desire “stiffness” and thickness you want just simple leave it to dry and you would have you felt:)


As the first experiment that I did in class my felt turn out to be very fragile and loose because I did not put enough wool. So I decided to experiment again at home with more wool:)


I think I accidentally put too much soap….




Dry Felting (Needle Felt)

Needle felting is popular fibre arts craft that creates felt without the use of water. Special needles that are used in industrial felting machines are used by the artist as a sculpting tool. While erroneously referred to as “barbed” needles, they in fact have notches along the shaft of the needle that grab the top layer of fibres and tangle them with the inner layers of fibres as the needle enters the wool. Since these nothes face down towards the tip of the neefle, they do not pull the fibres out as the needle exits the wool. Once tangles and compressed using the needle, the felt can be strong ans used for creating jewelry or sculpture. Using a single needle or a small group of needles (2-5) iri a hand-held tool, fine details can be achieved using this technique, and it is popular for 2D and 3D felted work.

Materials Used:
– Wool
– Felting Needle
– Sponge base



Dry felting is pretty simple and straight forward. Just use a sponge like material as base, hold your wool in the shape you want and.. poke.. poke… poke… poke… poke…
I want to create a little human so I started by rolling my wool into a ball and poke poke poke poke


I am so sorry towards my little human the eye didn’t came our right. I find little felt ball so cute so I create different size of them:)


Since Professor Galina mention that wool would shrink in hot water. I thought why not duplicate another set of felt balls in same sizes and soak them in hot water:)


So I soak them in hot water for about 45 minutes and let it dry. 


Even though the difference is a little. But if we take them out and look compare we can see that it did shrink. Maybe the reason for the small change would be that the water is not hot enough. 
*Blue ball on left: Normal felted ball (larger)
*Blue ball on right: Dip in hot water (smaller)

Nuno Felting

Nuno felting is a fabric felting technique developed by the Polly Stirling, a fibre artist from New South Wales, Australia, around 1992. The name is derived from the Japanese word “nuno” meaning cloth. The technique bonds loose fibre, usually wool, into sheer fabric such as silk gauze. creating a lightweight felt. The fibres can completely cover the background fabric, or they may be used as a decorative design that allowes the backing fabric to show. Nuno felting often incorporates several layers of loose fibres combined to build up colour, texture, and/or design elements in the finished fabric. 
The nuno felting process is particularly suitable for creating lightweight fabrics used to make clothing. The use of silk or other stable fabric in the felt creates fabric that will not stretch out of shape. Fabrics such as nylon, muslin, or other open weaves can be used as the felting background, resulting in a wide range of textural effects and colours.

Materials Used:
– Wool
– Fabric (Silk etc.)
– Sponge


Surface Design – W3 ( Creating Unconventional Fabric using Threads, plastic )

Creating Unconventional Fabric using Threads, plastic

– Plastic Fusing
– Fabric of Thread

Plastic Fusing

Plastic Fusing is the creation of plastic made fabric by heating and melting the plastic letting them stick together to create a large piece of fabric where it could be later use to create various products, costume, outfits, stationary etc.

Materials Used:
– Iron
– Scissors
– Plastic Bags
– Baking Paper

Experiment 1:

Start by cutting and placing the plastic to create the design you want. After, place the design on you iron board with the baking paper on the bottom followed by your design and lastly another layer of baking paper.


Heat it with iron and press it with pressure. Do peel up the baking paper halfway to check if the plastic are melted consistently. Be careful when doing this because sometimes the plastic may stick onto the top baking paper when you try to peel it up. 


Experiment 2:

I tried to cut the plastic onto strip this time round also also instead of plastic on the floral plastic. I tried by placing the strip plastic onto bubble wrap.


Heat it up and remember to check:)


Fabric of Thread

Fabric of thread is the creation of fabric using the combination and joining of thread using water soluble stabilizer. It could then be use to create outfit or other products such as lamp shape or even bowl etc. 

Materials Used:
– Sewing Machine
– Water soluble stabilizer
– Thread, Yarns, Fabric Strips, Trimmings
– UV resistant clear acrylic spray (for securing of shape)






Cut and create your design by placing the thread onto Water soluble stabilizer. Do remember to put it in between the Water soluble stabilizer.


Secure your threads and items on Water soluble stabilizer with fabric pins. After sew them with a sewing machine, the simplest way to secure the thread in position are going in a up down method with sewing with sewing machine.


I decided to challenge myself with the industrial sewing machine as we don’t get much chance to try it. But it was way to hard to control the speed of the sewing machine. Maybe I just have stupid legs hahahaha. Anyway, I transfer to the normal sewing machine to speed up and also to try both machine hehe:)


Front and Back.


Prepare the needed material to dissolve the Water soluble stabilizer. You’ll need water, Moulds (optional), Your Work and an empty container.


Put your work into the empty container and pour water in. Slowly rub on the Water soluble stabilizer and it would dissolve:O


After that you could put it on a mold and let it dry of simple leave it flat. You could put onto anything as long it is strong enough to help you hold onto your desire shape:)


It was really an interesting technique and something that I have never tried before, It is challenging using the sewing machine especially controlling the speed of it. However, once you’re done and once you wash and dissolve it the remaining pattern are really beautiful. If I have a chance, I would like to try and create something more 3D probably a shape I design or even sewing them together to create the shape after I have dissolve them:)

Surface Design – W2 ( Transfer Printing – Wet )

Transfer Printing:

Transfer Printing is the transference of an image to fabric or other material via a substrate. Image is then transferred via heat and pressured. 

Types of transfer Printing:
– Dry Transfer 
– Wet Transfer
– Digital Transfer

Wet Transfer
Wet transfer are a little more expensive transfer method to do at home. Reason being, the ink use for creating the design are a little costly. However, other materials such as paper, baking paper, iron and brush are relatively cheap and easy to be bought. Similar to dry transfer, but this time round, instead of using crayons, it would be replaced by transfer ink. There are also two types of wet transfer, direct and in-direct printing.

Materials Used:
– Fabric
– Transferring Ink
– Items
– Iron

(LAST WEEK) As wet transfer could only be done when the ink are fully dry. Hence, prepping the design would be needed and recommended. Simply used a paint brush and paint your creative design on a normal printing paper and let it sit till it is fully dry. TAKE NOTE: the ink may look different from the colour it suppose to be, but it is alright. The vibrant and accurate colour would be shown once heated:)
*we could actually do the wet transfer using the hot press machine. Sadly it was spoil so we have no choice but to use iron instead:(

Since it is my first time trying wet transfer, I decided to start off with the most simple design which is the watermelon I drew last week.

Similar to dry transfer, we place the fabric first on the iron board, followed by our design facing downwards and lastly baking paper on top to prevent burning of the paper.

Do remember to constant check your print halfway through ironing to fully get the ink transferred onto to fabric. However, be careful do not shift your design if not once you put it down and iron again the second time your design would not be align.

TADA!!! the colour came out really pretty and vibrant. I thought that the black would be more solid however maybe due to heat, it was melted and blend a little with the red. ALSO! looking at my painting on the right I actually diluted the green a little to create a gradient (both are the same green just one a little more water). However, when printed the gradient does not come out. Therefore adding water to create the different colour does not really work. Next time it is recommended to use two different colour, one lighter and one darker.

In-Direct Transfer Printing

In-Direct Printing is similar to dry transfer. By letting the ink directly be printed onto the fabric surface. However placing patterns on the design, the transferred print would eliminate the places block by the patterns which would come out wide and only print out the places that are not block by the pattern. I found some dry decoration flower at home and home and thought it would be interesting to try it.

Then Kaie offer me this little fabric coaster like item and I though why not place them all together and try it:)

The way to place on the iron board its a little different compared to dry transfer. Because there is items on the design, if we flip it over the items on the design would shift and drop. Therefore we place the design along with the items on the iron board first, followed by putting the fabric ontop then lastly cover it with baking paper and then iron to heat it.

Direct Transfer Printing

Probably because I was using iron instead of hot press machine, therefore it is not tightly compress enough (not enough weight to press the heat onto the design and fabric). Making the in-direct print a little less visible, not really obvious.

After Ironing, because the heat it not heavy enough to compress and press down causing the part block by the fabric coaster became a big white circle instead of the letting the ink transfer through the holes in between the coaster. But instead, alot of ink were transfer onto the fabric coaster instead and I thought “Hey, I could do direct transfer with this!”

TADA!!!:) the direct printing works:)


All my wet transfer for the second week!:) It was definitely more fun playing with ink firstly because of the interesting colours it gives out. but also because there are more variety to experiment with. Also touching the ink on the surface it doesn’t create the waxy texture compared to the crayons and crayons do gives out a very strong wax smell especially after heated. Therefore I really love the effect and process of wet transfer.

NOTE* If the hot press machine exceed the temperature suitable for specific material it would burn in. Try not to go over 200 especially for fabric.

PD 4: ( The Infraodinary )

Readings Reflection:

It makes me think about think about things in a different angle, especially first paragraph. Usually we think about things in a positive manners, like plane exist because we want to travel, news exist because we dig and are curious of other people life. But thinking in the negative manners like what the writer did, I start to think about situation and things in an opposite side. Usually we take many things for granted not paying much attention to it as day passes bye.
Slowing our pace and notice our surrounding, we would realized many things happen for reason. Even in design, the tiniest detail are added in for a reason.