Has anyone fulled felt in a tumble dryer?

I don’t have a tumble dryer but Carmen does!  People sometimes post on the internet about zapping felt in a tumble dryer for a short while but this is not something that I have ever done myself.    Anyway, Carmen was telling me that she tried it out for the first time the other day and put a rug in her dryer for approx 10 minutes and it worked out amazingly well.  I would be really interested to get any comments and feedback from those of you who have tried this out before, did it work, was it a disaster, would you do it again???


6 thoughts on “Has anyone fulled felt in a tumble dryer?

  1. Good morning Nicola,

    I have had mixed results while using the heat settings, but I think my old dryer may get too hot and perhaps that’s the problem. Could also have been trying to rush the process too much. Sometimes, I get in too much of a hurry! I’ve had problems with pieces shrinking oddly.

    I actually have had much better luck in just using the “fluff or air only” setting (with no heat, just tumbling action). The “fluff” cycle has worked well on the pieces that I’ve used it on. Helps to finish the fulling process.

    I’d be interested in hearing how Carmen (hi Carmen…I feel like I know you from hearing about you in these posts) uses her dryer and at what stage in the felting process.

    Hope you’ve had a great week, and were able to get all of your projects accomplished.


    Hope all is well

  2. I’ve only tried it when I’m at my wit’s end on fininshing something that just doesn’t want to full itself the ‘old fashion way'(usually my nuno felts). I put it in on a high heat setting for 10 minutes, and it does work beautifully! I feel like I’m cheating, though. I think that I’m going to try the air-fluff method and see if that brings less guilt.

  3. I’ve used this methods for large pieces … like rugs and a heavy jacket. It needs to be rolled tightly, taken out frequently to roll in another direction and not be left in too long.
    Good luck…

  4. Yes Nicola,

    Since I am branching out with mohair, I am finding it is difficult to make it tight on the surface, even with electric sander. I have tried boiling water, followed by ICE water ….thinking the shock would tighten and dense the surface( not so hairy). The structure seems to be tight and nice but the surface has too many mohairs. I have discovered once I am finished with the fulling I wrap it in a towel, roll up to squeeze out the water…. roll a few times then, toss in dryer with a DRY terry cloth towel, using the wet towel from the roll up does not work as well. Plus, I have found it does not work to just toss the piece alone–it needs the abrasion from a terry towel. And don’t put rolled up felt like the sprials, or handles or my tassels as they loosen up and become larger.

    I also tried ironing the fulled piece dry and I like the result on my composition pieces, as the steam iron flatens and tightens it to very dense.

    The dryer tends to allow the fibers to crinkle a bit which emphasizes, natural crinkle of the fibers. HOW did you do the Sea scape piece without using a dryer? The white foamy waves are crinkled, very nicely!!!! HAHA I jsut knew you used a clothes dryer.

  5. Nicola,

    On a different note, I made a large spiral using various hues and tones of reds. oranges using plastic to resist. It is not on a ground but all airy and loose. I want to make a banner type with the spiral, with a black ground. So, I am NOW ready to make a large ground and put the spiral on it. the sprial is loose and airy so I am hoping I will not have to needle felt it.

    I have a bamboo window shade but I am confused how to approach it. Shall lay out the bamboo, then bubble wrap or some of the floor lament then the roving? I tired a small piece with the matchstick bamboo place mat and it does not seem to work… Maybe I do not roll it enough or enough pressure. I read that Tibetian original felt was made in fields with mats and boiling water then dragged by horses. Got ideas? No horses here


  6. Hi Nicola,

    I use the dryer for most of my nunofelting. I use the dryer to do the “rolling” for me and then I full the pieces on my glass washboard. Instead of bubble wrap and bamboo blinds, I sandwich my scarves between polyester curtain lining fabric an then wet it down with warm soapy water. I then use a wet rolled up towel instead of a noodle to roll it up. I place it in the dryer wet but not dripping along with another rolled up scarf or a damp towel. (I rubberband it all together with hairbands before putting it in the dryer.) I do med to med hot heat. If the scarves are too wet, not enough felting happens, if too dry it felts the fibers to themselves not the silk.

    I do about 40 minutes rolled from each end, sometimes 3 times total (x40 minutes).

    I used to make all mine by rolling with my feet or hands but it is exhausting and honestly I could never get them felted well enough by hand versus the dryer. I read about doing it this way on felting forum from a lady from Norway. She said this was how most of the felters she knew did it. She did not understand why everyone in the US was rolling it by hand!

    I do not feel guilty at all – it is a tool just like my washboard. I finish them all on the washboard so I can see and feel and make sure they are finished to the way I like them. I had considered a rolling machine for a long time but they seem much more labor intensive compared to the dryer!

    Anna Katherine

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