Twelve inexpensive felt studio tools

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I regularly find myself on the look-out for items that can be used in the studio, that aren’t necessarily intended for studio use. While I don’t mind spending more on quality materials, sometimes my most useful tools came to me free or for under $10. Thrift stores, discount stores, hardware stores and yard sales are often a treasure trove of ideas.

For agitation, I was tickled to find this pet food tray. Not only is it a great surface for wet felting smaller objects, but it can be used as a washboard. Same with the soap dish (Thank you, Dollar Store!). It bends easy to go around smooth rounded surfaces. The exercise ball is heavier than it looks. I use it for fulling only.

Ribbed surface (pet food tray), exercise ball, soap dish

Ribbed surface (pet food tray), exercise ball, soap dish

 

I don’t often need to blend my own colored wool, so spending $60-$100 on carders simply didn’t make sense. So, when I saw these grooming brushes at my local pet store for $4 a piece, I couldn’t resist. Perfect for rolags and small batches. The pink shiny fingerguards have saved my little fingertips more often than I’d like to admit. I’ve only seen them offered by FiberInfusion on Etsy. Eyebrow & bikini razors are fabulous for shaving finished pieces.

"Blenders", small razors, finger protectors

“Blenders”, small razors, finger protectors

 

One of my favorite “cheap” tools is this salad spinner from a store that rhymes with Shmig Shmots. For quick drying pre-felts or smaller objects that simply won’t towel dry easily. ย The shelf liner is ribbed and make for a great alternative to bubble wrap.

Salad spinner, ribbed shelf liner

Salad spinner, ribbed shelf liner

 

I can’t tell you how often I use tulle in my practice. It’s great for laying out delicate designs. It’s great bundled up as a ‘scrubber’, although it creates a lot of soap foam. Most importantly, its fabulous for blocking (shaping wet wool.) A friend of mine gave me oodles of tulle leftover from her fabric stores. The smaller the weave the better, but even the larger stiffer tulle can be useful in stuffing & shaping a vessel.

Tulle

Tulle

 

Speaking of shaping, binder clips are a great tool for creasing/pinching felt. I have them in all sizes. ย Foam-covered wire comes in handy for stabilizing and hanging wet felt. Some are from New England Felting Supply & some from a leftover kid’s toy called Toobers & Zots.

Binder clips, Foam-padded wire, hanger clips, rubber bands

Binder clips, Foam-padded wire, hanger clips, rubber bands

 

Workspace ergonomics is essential for good studio health. I grabbed some inexpensive PVC pipe and a hacksaw to raise my wet table to a comfortable height. And the padded flooring was the best $15 investment! Before finding it in my price range (Costco), a doubled-up yoga mat worked well for standing on for long periods.

PVC table riser, padded flooring

PVC table riser, padded flooring

 

I think that was more than twelve, but I hope this has been helpful for both newbies and experienced felters & crafters alike. Did I miss anything? What are your favorite non-traditional tools? Please share!

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16 comments on “Twelve inexpensive felt studio tools

  1. These are brilliant little ideas!
    I love how you’ve adjusted the height of your working table – something I really need to sort out! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Fantastic little finds! And the pet food tray! Genius! I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled more when I’m shopping ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Rebecca ๐Ÿ™‚

      Finding the right height for your work table makes so much difference. I’d been using dorm bed risers (about 5″ tall) but it simply didn’t get the table high enough. Since adjusting to my height I find I prefer to work standing up, needle-felting and wet-felting. (Who knew? I’m usually hunched over my computer!)

    • Ooooh, great ideas. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a beaded foot roller & massage tools! Sadly, no Chinatown in Nashville but I’ll pay closer attention at the International Markets.

      Thanks Monika!

  2. I also use a plastic tray from that old let’s throw a party and buy some vendor…its intended use is as a meat marinator but I find the nibble spikes in it just right for wet felting. And solar pool cover – the flexible kind– may not seem cheap but I bought one at the end of a season and I have used it for four years now and still have a big chunk left.

  3. Thanks for sharing some of your tools of trade! I love felted things (especially your wonderful creations) and have very little idea how it is done, so a little bit of insight like this is really interesting. I also like that even these very utilitarian items (that first pic for instance) can look a little bit like art when they’re photographed right! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I use the rubber fingers you can pick up at a stationery store for just a few bucks a pack in assorted sizes they have saved my fingers for sure

  5. As a beginner wet felter and homemaker these tips are invaluable! ๐Ÿ˜€ This makes wet felting actually feel like it will be possible to start without sending our account into the red. Thank you so very much for posting this article.

    • Thanks Karen! I keep thinking of other tips but forget to write them down for later.

      One extra hint for wet-felters. Go to a beauty salon supply store and find a salon apron. They’re water-resistant, lightweight and not very expensive. Keeps your body dry!

  6. Love your table risers idea. I’m a quilter instead of a felter, but need a way to use a folding table as a cutting table. This will be perfect! Thanks for posting.

    • You’re welcome, Martha!

      If you have carpet, or want to slide your table around a bit easier, they make end caps for the PVC pipe. Also, having different lengths of pipe will allow you to “adjust” based on your standing posture. Happy quilting!!

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