One question I get asked often is about the different types of felt available and what type of felt I use. I mostly use a lovely soft 30/70 wool blend felt in my toys and games that I sell. I also used eco felt bamboo blend felt.
There are about 5 different types of felt.
1. 100% Wool Felt
This type of felt is made from 100% wool. Wool felt is one of the oldest man made fabrics. It traps air to make excellent thermal insulators and it is extremely resistant to wear. It feels soft and luxurious. It comes in different thicknesses ranging from 1 - 5mm. 100% wool felt is rather expensive given that it is pure wool but does feel so very nice and soft! Often used in industry's, billiards table tops, wall coverings, fashion accessories such as slippers and hats. It does have some disadvantages too though. Wool felts tend to be thick and this can make sewing and shaping it more difficult. It can feel itchy and may not hold well on the seams, can stretch itself out of shape and smell wooly when wet.
2. Wool Blend Felt.
Wool blend felt is a combination of wool and often rayon. Blended wool felt can come in different percentages of wool and rayon. eg. 35% wool, 65% rayon, or 20% wool, 80% rayon. Wool blend felt holds up well to wear and stress.Wool blend felt will not be pulled out of shape as easily as wool. Rayon blend felt is soft and quite comfortable on the skin. The blended felt will wrinkle but will easily flatten out with time or the application of a low temperature iron. The blends generally resist insect damage and retain the mildew resistant qualities of wool. Blends generally wash well and spots are easily removed. They come in a huge array of colours. Used for sewing crafts, pillows, garlands, ornaments. Can be sewn, glued, moulded.
There are a couple of different eco felts available. One type is made from bamboo/rayon blend. Bamboo felt is available under a few different brand names such as Xotic felt. The other type of eco -felt available is almost identical to acrylic felt and created in the same way but instead of being made from plastic pellets are made from recycled plastic bottles. This type of felt can be glued, sewn and melted. Eco felt can fuzz and pill easily and can be uncomfortable to wear. It does not allow for air flow like wool blend felts. Not recommended for clothing or wearables.
4. Acrylic Felt
Acrylic felt is made by interlocking acrylic or acrylonitrile which is made from a type of plastic. These fibres are then interlaced to create a felt. Acrylic feltis very easy to care for because they are made from plastic. This type of felt wash well and won’t shrink. The colours will not fade with normal usage but can it be stiffer. It is very affordable and will last a long time. Often used in children's art and craft.
5. Needle Felting
Needle felting is made with 100% wool and is made with a piece of wool that has been combed, formed into a clump and twisted to hold the fibres. It is used for making dolls, critters, hats and scarves.