Sunday, February 7, 2010

Nuno Felting

Nuno felting is a technique developed in 1994 by the textile artists Polly Stirling and Sachiko Kotaka. By manipulating a small amount of wool fiber through a base fabric, they learned they could create a felted fabric with characteristics quite different from traditional felt. Nuno felt is thin, lightweight and drapeable. A similar process to wet wool felting, Nuno felting brings 2 different materials together to create a whole new textured fabric.
While I was in Tucson for the Crystallized workshops, one class that I attended was Nuno felting. Follow along with my how-to photos to make some of your own!

Step 1: start out with a base fabric (silk organza) a bit larger than the desired shape and size (the final product will shrink). Lay out a towel to keep your surface area dry and bubble wrap with bubbles face-up.

Step 2: place a thin layer of merino wool roving over the base fabric using a shingling method (overlapping each section slightly) Experiment with designs.

Step 3: place a piece of tulle over the entire piece.

Step 4: Sprinkle the piece with a water and olive oil soap mixture. We used empty plastic bottles with sprinkle holes in the cap for the water mixture. Use your hands to pat the mixture into the piece.

note: the piece should not be drenched with water, just slightly showered.

Monica came around with an exterminator spray container and misted each of our pieces. She uses this when she is making many pieces at once.

Step 5: with a styrofoam pool noodle cut down to size, loosely roll the piece up—the bubble wrap, base fabric, roving and tulle.

Step 6: secure the roll around the noodle—we tied it up with panty hose.

Step 7: roll on a flat surface, starting with both hands to elbows and back, about 100 times.

Step 8: unroll and lift up the tulle to check the piece. The roving should have started to connect to the base fabric.

Step 9: roll everything back up tightly this time and roll 100 times again.

Step 10: Repeat steps 8 & 9.

Step 11: after about 300 rolls, the piece should be almost completely connected to the silk organza. The final "felting" step is to lay the entire piece out, and with a more concentrated oil olive soap/ water mixture, sprinkle on and rub soap and fibers against the bubble wrap. The back side on the base fabric should begin to ripple when the roving is completely attached.

Step 12: when complete, it should resemble this texture. Delicately rinse the piece under running water and soak in a vinegar/water solution for 15 minutes.

Step 13: hang dry.

Monica and Pat, the wonderful Nuno felt instructors, wearing their handmade scarves!


  1. Thank you for a very informative and easy tutorial.

    I have just discovered this wonderful art of Nuno felting and would like to do my first piece.

    What happens if you'd put one layer of roving first, then the fabric, then another layer? Like a sandwich?

    And which kind of roving felts best?


    1. For nunofelting best to use merino wool, and yes. you can cover both sides of the silk w fiber. Just consider how to treat the edges if the front /back are not the same color.

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  4. What happened to the tulle? at which point is it discarded?

    1. After point 10 I should think, after the rolling is finished and the wool and silk have attached to each other.

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  33. I would love to take a workshop and learn how to Nuno felt. Do you have an event schedule for the end of the year? Thank you

  34. I really want to make this, but am very confused as to how exactly to lay out the materials. What do you lay down first , second and third, please explain

  35. Amazing. Was wondering how to make it. Thank you for this tutorial and will definitely try and keep you informed. Thanks once more.

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    i was wondering if you can use other fabrics besides silk organza. i find the silk and felt mix to look imbalanced and would rather use something more sturdy.

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  38. I tried this with the washer/dryer technique & spent an hour trying to remove the tulle from the felted together roll. Now I see my mistake!

  39. Muchas gracias por las instrucciones, están muy claras, gracias,gracias,gracias por no ser egoista.

  40. Very informative and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing.
    Will have to try this method.

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  44. How large a piece could you make with this technique? I would love to make a banner that is 145” by 40”

  45. When I place the tulle/netting over the top, my roving sticks to it and sometimes is difficult to remove after agitation and pulls some of the wool back up. Any solutions/tips?

  46. Should all embellishments that you put on top of merino have a thin layer put on top or around them to adhere to the layer. great blog by the way..

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  48. I have waitwed to start nuno felting however I have fibromyalgia and my shoulders only last 10 mins before the pain becomes too much and lasts for several days. I am sure I read about a roller machine, do you know anything about it, or another way I can make scarves with nuno. thankyou Marsha

  49. Obrigada por compartilhar este tutorial! Assim todos os dias aprendemos um pouco mais desta técnica apaixonante.