Updated date:

How to Wet Felt A Bentwood Chair/Seamless Upholstery

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Creative Wet Felting, a Wet Felted Bentwood Chair

Creative Wet Felting, a Wet Felted Bentwood Chair

A little about this project

This stunning art project is aimed at those interested in creating a unique piece of art. No sewing techniques are required for this project. Use this Tutorial as an opportunity to experiment with color, texture and a blend of woolen fibers.

  • Add silk fibers for sheen or alternatively, add bits of silk scarves or natural fibers to add texture and tones to the mix.
  • Use black and white fibers on their own or add a touch of red for a retro look.
  • Use spots or stripes to create leopard spots.
  • Color the legs or leg supports with a variety of contrasting colors for a wow factor.

This success of this project is only limited by what you can dream up or a lack of suitable fibers. This project should be of great interest to Fiber Artist everywhere.

'Failed' wet felting projects can be added to the mix. This is precisely what I did here. Small bits and pieces left over from previous failed projects were cut into small rectangles and applied to the surface and sides of the chair.

I regularly bid for mixed job lots of wool roving on e-Bay. The result is often a delicious blend of wool roving in a range of colors which can be used for projects such as this one a sensible price.

The pencil roving used for this project was one such buy. It can be used to great effect because the long strips can be wrapped around the cane in a continuous length, making it very easy to complete the first layer.

No two wet felted chairs will ever look the same. The final result is dependent on your personal choice or a blend of colors and fibers which you have available to you.

There is no need to feel pressure to complete this project in one sitting. This chair was created over the space of several weeks. Work small sections of the chair at a time and then proceed to the next when you are satisfied that you have completed it to your satisfaction. The underside of the chair was also felted.

Wet the area to be felted every time you return to the project. The fibers will only fuse together if they are wet.


Items required to complete this Project

  • A Bentwood Chair
  • A quantity Merino Wool Roving in a variety of colors
  • A quantity Pencil Roving to be used for layer 1. Substitute Wool Bats or roving if you have a lot of scraps left over from previous projects.
  • Berol PVA Glue
  • Warm Soapy Water
  • Curtain Netting
  • Bubble-wrap
  • Scraps of 'failed' felt projects or pre-felt made especially for this project.
  • A pair of Scissors for cutting the pre-felt or scrap pieces of felt.
  • A Palm Sander (not necessary but one could be utilized for speedier results)
A Vintage Bentwood Chair

A Vintage Bentwood Chair

Selection of wool roving in as many complementing colors as possible.

Selection of wool roving in as many complementing colors as possible.

Pencil roving

Pencil roving

Wrap the legs of the chair with pencil roving.

Wrap the legs of the chair with pencil roving.

Wrapping the pencil roving around a dampened Bentwood chair

Wrapping the pencil roving around a dampened Bentwood chair

Wet the fibers with a sponge.

Wet the fibers with a sponge.

Use Warm Soapy Water to Wet the Fibers

Use Warm Soapy Water to Wet the Fibers

Cover the wet area with bubble-wrap and rub with wet fingers.

Cover the wet area with bubble-wrap and rub with wet fingers.

Rub the Wet Surface of the Bubble-wrap until the Fibers  Felt together

Rub the Wet Surface of the Bubble-wrap until the Fibers Felt together

Wetting the fibers, covering and rubbing results in the effect shown here.

Wetting the fibers, covering and rubbing results in the effect shown here.

It is sometimes and advantage to see the fibers below.  Rub until the fibers below  until they begin to attach themselves to the netting.

It is sometimes and advantage to see the fibers below. Rub until the fibers below until they begin to attach themselves to the netting.

Rub the wet fibers with a folded piece of bubble-wrap

Rub the wet fibers with a folded piece of bubble-wrap

Covering the different areas of the chair in an orderly manner.

Covering the different areas of the chair in an orderly manner.

Cover the work and make sure that the wood below cannot be seen.

Cover the work and make sure that the wood below cannot be seen.

Spread a thin layer of PVA Glue onto the surface of the circular seating area.

Spread a thin layer of PVA Glue onto the surface of the circular seating area.

Winding a long length of pencil roving around the seat area.

Winding a long length of pencil roving around the seat area.

The pencil roving makes it easy to make a circular patter around the seat area.  Take car to cover the surface so that the wood does not show through.

The pencil roving makes it easy to make a circular patter around the seat area. Take car to cover the surface so that the wood does not show through.

Rubbing the wet fibers below the curtain netting with a piece of folded bubble-wrap.  Rub until the fibers no longer move.

Rubbing the wet fibers below the curtain netting with a piece of folded bubble-wrap. Rub until the fibers no longer move.

Felted roving on the seat area.

Felted roving on the seat area.

The chair has now been covered in 1 layer of Pencil Roving

The chair has now been covered in 1 layer of Pencil Roving

Covering the seating area with a fine layer of contrasting merino wool fibers and then a layer of pre-felted cut pieces.

Covering the seating area with a fine layer of contrasting merino wool fibers and then a layer of pre-felted cut pieces.

The fibers placed below and between the pre-felted are there to assist attachment of the pre-felted bits to the base of the chair.

The fibers placed below and between the pre-felted are there to assist attachment of the pre-felted bits to the base of the chair.

Cover the fibers and wet with hot soapy water.  Rub well with fingers or sand with an electric sander.

Cover the fibers and wet with hot soapy water. Rub well with fingers or sand with an electric sander.

Let the Fibers Overlap the Edge of the Seat

Let the fibers overlap the edge of the seat. A row of pre-felt pieces should be embedded in this fiber on the front, side and back edges of the chair. Please see images below.

Wet the fibers and cover with curtain netting and rub with bubble-wrap

Wet the fibers and cover with curtain netting and rub with bubble-wrap

The fibers have begun to attach themselves to the layer below.

The fibers have begun to attach themselves to the layer below.

The completed chair which has been covered in merino roving.

The completed chair which has been covered in merino roving.

Complete the Felting Process

Take time to ensure that all surfaces of the chair are properly felted. Cover with bubble-wrap and rub thoroughly until there is no movement of the fibers. Use hot and cold water to help the process and finally add another diluted solution of PVA glue to the surface. The glue should sink in completely and dry clear. Allow the chair to dry outdoors.



A little More About Pencil Roving

Pencil Roving is generally used to make 'Dreads' as were used in the video above. I used them to make a Chemo Hat but the same pencil roving can be used in thin layers to make beautiful delicate felt flowers. The pencil roving used in this project came from the same batch I used to complete the lower layer of this Bentwood chair project.

This really is a very useful and versatile product which can be used for a variety of neat projects.


Pencil Roving 'Dreads' Chemo Hat

You feedback is welcomed and invited!

© 2016 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 16, 2018:

I am sure you can Mary, it just takes a chair and a little wool and lots of rubbing:)

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 16, 2018:

This is a lovely chair to add colour to a dark corner or to a child's play room. I wish I can make something like this.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 03, 2016:

Sulabha

Thank you.

Sulabha Dhavalikar from Indore, India on September 03, 2016:

Ok. I'll do.

I liked your Hub on 'Having born a twin...". I just read it.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 02, 2016:

Sulabha

I would start with small pictures or flat pieces of Felt, to start with, and then move onto bigger things. Learn how the wool behaves under your fingers first. Felting is not an exact science but I promise that you will have a lot of fun creating with this medium.

Sulabha Dhavalikar from Indore, India on September 02, 2016:

Ok. If you say I'll start with wall hangings.

When I was young I liked doing art and craft things. Then other things became important. And now having a bi-focal lens, even putting a thread in a needle is difficult.

But I will start now.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 02, 2016:

Sulabha

One is never too old to learn how to doWet Felting. I promise you that it is really very easy. Start with a small piece of flat felt and when you understand how wool behaves when you rub the fibres with warm soapy water and friction you will realise what a wonderful medium it is to work with. The challenge is to create things which are 3D and have no seams. That is when it becomes felting really does become an Art form. Having said that, you can create wonderful wall hangings or pictures with a flat piece of Felt. I really do hope you give it a go. I appreciate the visit and you for stopping by to comment, thank you.

Sally

Sulabha Dhavalikar from Indore, India on September 02, 2016:

Dear Sallybea,

I wish I had met you when I was in my 30's. It's not possible for me to learn (though I have not given up.) Every time I pass on your link to my daughter and would-be daughter-in-law. They have a nimble touch.

And so I hope to see your creative touch in my home some day.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 16, 2016:

Thank you Devika, it it always a pleasure to have you grace on of my pages.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 16, 2016:

Hi sallybea your work is entertaining and creative.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 13, 2016:

ChitrangadaSharan

The chair certainly makes a statement and I am delighted with the way it turned out. The beauty of doing something like this is that there is no pressure to finish it in one day. Also, one can use up bit and pieces of woolen fibers which were left over from other projects. Better still if you don't like the effect you can always cover it again with new fibers:)

Your visit and comments are much appreciated, thank you.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 13, 2016:

Faith Reaper

Glad you enjoyed my one of a kind piece of art. Your visit and comments are much appreciated as always. Thank you so much.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 13, 2016:

This looks so cool!

Loved your project and your hub is very well presented and illustrated.

Love the colour combination as well.

Thanks for sharing!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 13, 2016:

This is gorgeous and so creative, Sally! It is a one-of-a-kind art piece. You've changed a boring chair into a masterpiece. Your instructions and photo are alwys easy to follow and beautiful in seeing the process step-by-step.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 13, 2016:

Larry Rankin

It was a project I very much enjoying working on. Your appreciation of it is a reward in itself, thank you so much.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 13, 2016:

Another wonderful art project.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 12, 2016:

Hi Devika,

Glad you enjoyed this one. This idea has taken a while to develop but now that it is done, I do love the end result. It has a uniqueness which certainly adds interest to the home. I appreciate you taking the time to comment, thank you so much.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 12, 2016:

FlourishAnyway

You are too kind. As for a creative gift! I think we all have a gift of some kind or another. All they need is time and encouragement to allow them to develop:)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 12, 2016:

Hi sallybea! Awesome idea! You started a new project and shared your wonderful ideas on HP always encouraging and interesting.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 12, 2016:

You truly have a creative gift. This makes me wonder what your home must be decorated like. Well done.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 12, 2016:

Thank you so much, Billy. You really do have a big heart and I am so grateful for your continued support.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 12, 2016:

I enjoy any and all creativity, and that's how I feel about your felt projects. I'll never do them....I'll never be able to do them...but I do enjoy reading about the process and seeing the finished product. Well done, Sally!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 12, 2016:

Venkatachari M

Thank you very much. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 12, 2016:

Very useful and informative article.