Use: For nuno felting use solar pool cover, which looks like blue bubble wrap. The Solar pool cover is more durable than bubble wrap.
Purpose: In nuno felting the small bubbles of the solar pool cover help to agitate the materials. The bubbles 'give' a little bit helping the fibers move.
Variations: In nuno felting the solar pool cover can be placed bubble side up (for more agitation) or down (for less agitation). The solar pool cover can also be flipped during the nuno felting process; smooth side up for felting stage and bubble side up for the fulling stage.
Alternative: Bubble wrap with 3/16" bubbles. (This is the bubble wrap used to package fragile items for shipping.) The smaller bubbles (3/16") provide more even surface than the larger bubbles (1/2") to agitate the materials. Smaller pieces of bubble wrap can be taped together, with packing tape or duct tape, on the smooth side. In general, many other items used for felting would be too hard for nuno felting.
Use: For nuno felting use nylon tulle. This is very fine netting with a small diamond shaped pattern.
Purpose: The tulle helps hold the fibers and design in place while wetting down nuno felting projects and in the beginning of the felting stage. The tulle also provides friction in the fulling stage.
Variation: A protective layer can be used on both sides of nuno felting projects.
Alternative: Sheer polyester curtain/drapery lining fabric (voile) provides less friction and is more opaque than tulle. In general, many other items used for felting would create too much friction for nuno felting.
Use: For nuno felting use liquid olive oil soap made using the cold press method. Soap helps open the scales of the fiber and helps the fibers to move, making it easier for the fibers to move through the fabric and entangle.
Purpose: Olive oil soap is a natural moisturizer and is good for the hands, which are often wet during the nuno felting process. Olive oil soap does not create a lot of lather, which makes it easier to see nuno felting projects and rinse them out. The low lather is also good if a front load washing machine is used for fulling.
Tip: Use pure olive oil soap. Castile soap was originally made with pure olive oil, today the term is used loosely to refer to vegetable based soaps. Do not use soaps with other oils, especially coconut oil because it produces more lather. Olive oil (or castile) soap is sponified. Sponification is the reaction of combining lye with oil to form soap. Soap made using the cold press method naturally contains glycerin, which is desirable. Lye is a caustic, or alkali, necessary in the soap making process. There is no lye in the finished soap. Commercially made soaps do not use the cold press method and often have other undesirable additives.
Alternative: Experiment with other soaps.
In nuno felting, water mixed with soap is used for the felting and fulling stages. Water is also needed for rinsing out nuno felting, and to create an acid rinse.
Soapy Water Mixture
Use: For nuno felting use liquid olive oil soap mixed with water.
Tips: Mix about 1 tablespoon of olive oil soap with about 2 cups of water. The mixture should feel slippery between your fingers when you put a dry hand in it. The ratio of soap to water may need to be varied, because sources of water and soap can vary. Be careful, too much of any kind of soap will coat the fibers inhibiting the felting process. Do not leave soap in nuno felting projects when completed, soap (which is alkaline) can degrade wool (which is acidic).
Use: For nuno felting use a pot and ladle.
Purpose: Something is needed to heat and hold the soapy water mixture in. And something is needed to disperse the soapy water mixture onto nuno felting projects.
Alternative: Containers, spray bottles, squirt bottles, sponges, etc.
Use: For nuno felting use a stove top.
Purpose: A heat source is needed to heat the soapy water mixture for the fulling stage.
Tip: A thermos can be used to keep the soapy water mixture warm.
Use: For nuno felting use a round pool noodle. (This is a cylindrical piece of closed cell foam used as a toy for swimming.)
Purpose: Pool noodles provide some 'give' which helps the fibers to move.
Tips: For nuno felting the round pool noodle (not other shapes) will provide an even surface to agitate the materials.
Alternative: A soaked rolled towel can be used as a rolling bar. A rolling bar is not necessary, but it is helpful to have something to push against, and it makes the felting go more quickly. In general, many other items used as rolling bars for felting would be too hard for nuno felting.
Use: For nuno felting use strips of spandex cloth to secure rolled nuno felting projects.
Purpose: Provides stretch for a snug fit to keep the nuno felting roll together.
Tip: Use a bow, not a knot, when securing rolled nuno felting projects. This will make it easy to open the roll.
Alternative: Strips of any stretchy fabric, including panty hose.
Use: Old towels and sponges.
Purpose: To clean up any water spills. To remove excess water from nuno felting projects. To wrap around nuno felting projects to catch leaks and provide a softer surface for your arms when rolling.
Use: Vinegar or lemon juice.
Purpose: To reset the ph of nuno felting projects, wool is naturally acidic and vinegar or lemon juice will neutralize the alkaline traces of soap in nuno felting projects.
Scissor or rotary cutter to cut items as necessary.
Ruler or tape measure to measure items as necessary.
Optional Tools for Nuno Felting
Plastic Sheeting (1 or 2 mil thick)
A thicker mil plastic would be too hard for nuno felting. Plastic sheeting can be used with a bubble rolling mat to minimize the effects of the bubbles (on one or both sides of nuno felting projects) and plastic sheeting can be used to create a template (by marking the outline of nuno felting projects on it).
Painter's Masking Tape
Can be used to mark the outline of nuno felting projects on the work surface to create a template.
Can be used to mark the outline of nuno felting projects on plastic sheeting to create a template.
Packing Tape or Duct Tape
Packing or duct tape can be used to tape together smaller pieces of bubble wrap to create a rolling mat. Tape on the smooth side.
Scale (That weighs small amounts accurately)
To accurately measure amounts of wool for nuno felting projects to create a more uniform result. For larger nuno felting projects or two sided nuno felting projects, split the area to be covered equally, and measure out equal amounts of roving for each section.
A steam iron can be used to block nuno felting projects (to help shape and set the finished project before it dries).