I took a little time out of my schedule to play a bit with my new BabyLock Embellisher. Have you seen the way people are felting by hand? One of the things I like about that is you can use a plastic template/form and when you felt the fibers, they stay in that shape so you get a nice clean edge on it. Great, except I don’t want to take that long and I don’t really like the designs. So I thought I would try to make my own stencils and see if it worked as well as the plastic “by hand” ones do, but with the ability to do it on my machine. Following is what I did.
Okay, it’s not byootifulll… but it was my first try and I’m sure I will get better as I go.
The first thing I did was draw an image. Could I possibly have drawn a simple one? no. I actually drew a couple different images, but I’m only showing one so you don’t get bored with pics.
I wanted to have both sides match, and I drew this with a pencil rather than using my graphics program. In order to get the mirror image, I burnished the pencil lines onto the other side of the paper.
I am using freezer paper, here. I must say, I bet I could use Sulky’s Totally Stable and it would work as well or better than freezer paper. I didn’t have any on hand when I did this, but I do, now, so am going to try it next.
I drew over the burnished lines to make them clear.
Then I layered the master paper over 2 more sheets.
All of them were shiny side down.
I pressed them with a hot iron to fuse them together. I let it cool on the ironing board where it is now stuck.
Once it was cool, I removed it from the board. If you take it off too soon it gets ripples.
Using a craft knife I cut out the image. I only cut out the area for one of the colors. If I cut the whole stencil out I’d have to make it all the same color! Eeeuuwww!
Here are the finished stencils that include all of the “holes” I need for the assortment of colors I will use.
Because it is on Freezer Paper (or in the future on Sulky’s Totally Stable) I can press it to the fabric (I used a cheap felt) and it will stay in place. You get the idea.
So I decided to do this funky looking flower. I tried it on some black felt.
You can see how I did one stencil first that had openings for one color. Actually, I still blended 2 or 3 colors of roving together because I didn’t want it to look “flat”.
I used an awl to help keep the roving in the open area of the stencil. NOT while I was felting… I might have broken needles. I would felt by machine, then stop and scoot the edges in, then felt some more. Lots faster than by hand. Here’s what the first layer looks like. You can see that it is really difficult to get the level of detail that I cut into the stencil. In the future I will use a simpler design.
If you turn the fabric over after you peel off the stencil, you can felt it again and make it really permanent. You may even decide you like the way the back looks better than the front!
The second stencil was for applying the second color, turquoise.
Then the third stencil is for the color for the center/top of the flower.
I did not, unfortunately, put a stabilizer under it. So when I was done it was pretty “loose”. See how the black has stretched? I’m still experimenting with which stabilizer I prefer. It is especially important to me that I know what stabilizer to use when I use felted wool since I want to make usable things with it that don’t shred and fall apart. If I can’t USE it what’s the POINT?!? I took some pearl rayon and did a little outlining to see how it would look.
Tell me what you think! And if you have done much felting and have any tips, please feel free to share.