Very few businesses make good quality felting mats. Generally, it comes with a needle felting starter kit as an accessory. And the ones that do make some, provide minimal options. They are mostly small in size and hard to get.
Why take so much trouble when you can make your own?
Making one is very easy. You can modify and repair it whenever you want. And as you are already into felting, making it will be a practice run for larger projects.
Stick to this article if you don’t know how to make a needle felting mat.
Types of Mats You Can Make At Home
There are two types of felting mats that you can go for-
- Wool mat
- Hessian mat
Making the wool mat is a bit complicated than the hessian mat. There are also two kinds of wool mats that you can try making at home. Those are-
- Wet washed wool mat
- Regular wool mat
Here we will show you how to make a needle felting mat in all the processes, including the hessian mats.
How to Make a Wool Felting Mat (Dry Wool)
Although challenging, wool mats are the best options here. Making dry wool felting mats require the most skill. Even if you think you won’t be able to pull it off, we would suggest you to go for it.
Gather the following items before you start the project-
- Felting base (A general foam will do)
- Felting needles (With a greater number of barbs)
We think approximately 200G core wool would be good for the project. And you will find more details about the cardboard in the first step.
Now follow the following steps to make your felting pad-
You need the cardboard for making a mold for your mat. It will help to maintain the intended size of your wool mat.
Cut four pieces of cardboard to make the sides of your mold. Make sure the sides are higher than your required mat height by at least an inch. And the length should be as long as you want your wool pad to be.
Place all the sides in a line and tape them together. Then tape them in a box shape. You can also use a box if you find one with the right dimension.
Place the foam inside the box or the mold you made. If your foam base is similar to the project mat’s dimensions, you can tape the cut cardboard around the foam. If your foam is larger, use T-pins to keep the box in shape on top of the foam.
Now, start felting some wool into the corners of the base. Then felt wool into the edges of the base. The idea here is to make all the sides stronger.
Take more wool and spread it in the base evenly. Tuck them in the edges. You can use a single barb needle for better results. Then start felting the wool with a larger felting needle.
Make sure the corner wools that you felted before stick to the main section. Keep rotating and flipping the wool. Add more wool after felting the previous portion down. Make sure the base is firm before adding more layers. Use the box, frame, or anything else as the reference of the dimension.
Add more and more layers until you have an even and firm pad. It should be around one inch thick and dense enough so that it takes an amount of force to penetrate the full depth with the needle.
Now, you can add more fiber to the middle of the pad as it will have the most stabbing. Smoothen the edges by wrapping wool fiber sheets around the edges and felting them in place with a single needle tool.
Now you have your new wool felting pad. You can increase and decrease the size and thickness anytime you want.
How to make a hessian/ burlap felting mat
Making a hessian felting base is much easier than wool options. You can also do this process with cotton.
You will need the following items to make that-
- Sewing machine (needle and thread if you want to hand stitch)
If you can’t buy the hessian sheets, you can cut them out from an old bag or some other hessian-made object lying around. The weave of the sheet should not be too tight, but it should allow the needle through.
Follow these steps to get the best hessian mat-
Take your hessian and give it a good iron before starting to work with it.
Cut a rectangle from your hessian sheet. You can choose the dimensions. However, we are gonna fold it at least once. So, take double the length than you want your final pad to be.
If the hessian or burlap is not that thick, you might want to add two or more layers of it. In that case, you have to double the sides for each layer. If you doubled the length first, then double the width for the second layer.
Sit down and think for a little bit with your sheet. You will get it!
Sew the edges with double stitches, leaving 2 inches for adding rice. Machines are more suitable than hands. Make the stitches close enough so that no rice can escape the bag. The backstitch should be fine. Lastly, turn the bag inside out so that the sewing seam stays inside the bag.
Fill two-thirds of the bag with rice. Use the funnel to make filling easy. You may change the amount of rice depending on your choice. However, avoid filling it too much or too little.
Sew the opening that was used to fill the rice. Make it as secure as possible.
This should be enough for a top-class hessian bag.
How to Make a Washed Wool Felting Mat
For most people, this might be the hardest of the three and also the most pricy. That’s why it is at the bottom so that you are not scared away that easily.
A wet-washed pad needs a lot of things. Those are-
- Piece of cloth
- Piece of felt
- Washing machine
- Laundry soap
- Ironing board
- Needle and thread
- Sewing machine
Cotton clothing materials are best. The cloth size should consider the shrinking of your cloth type. You can use any kind of wool for the project.
Now, follow these steps to get a quality wet-washed felting pad.
Place your piece of cloth on a large surface like the floor or a large table. Then fill one side of the cloth with rows of wool roving. After you have filled the side, place another layer on top of it. This time place them vertically, making columns on top of the rows. Create five layers like this altering the rows and columns.
After you have your five layers, carefully push them down as much as you can to feel the density of the wool after you have felt them. If you think you need more or less, add or subtract some layers.
Fold the other half of the cloth on top of the wool, fully submerging the wool inside it. It should look like a large wooly pillow now.
Take a needle and thread. Then sew the open side with loose stitches. Don’t use a machine here.
Carefully take the wooly pillow to the ironing board. Make sure the wool is still evenly spread. Then iron the pillow with a cotton or linen setting. Just flatten it a bit until it is half the original size.
Now take the flattened pillow to your sewing machine. Stitch lines onto your pillow with the longest and loosest stitches. The stitched lines should divide the wool inside into compartments and hold that in place.
Take this pillow and put it in your washing machine. Wash it in general settings for 40 minutes. 40 degrees Celsius would be an ideal temperature.
Unpick the stitches and rip the material to get the wool out after the washing.
Iron the wool using the same settings as before.
Tidy up the edges with the scissors. You may also want to give it a preferred shape if you are targeting something fancy.
Take two of the opposite edges and fold them underneath the middle like a pamphlet. Then stitch each of the edges underneath the middle with general settings of the sewing machine.
Now, your wet wash wool pad is ready. But we have to make it look good as well.
Take a piece of felt and place your washed wool pad on top of it. Use some glue to stick it to the edges of the pad. Then sew the clothing in place to make it look better.
And here you have your wet-washed wool needle felting pad.
We know that there are several other pad types that could have been made. But we can’t cover everything, can we?
But most of our readers think that this article covers everything about how to make a needle felting mat at home.
Pick a day and start working on the project. It should not that much time if you have read the article thoroughly.