ADDING TEXTURE AND DEPTH TO CARD MAKING USING FELT

 by Kate Macaulay

Group of cards on a fireplace

One of the things I really love about working with felt is the feel of it and lately I’ve been experimenting with using felt on greetings cards where it can really bring a lovely cosy texture and a depth to card design. Somehow felt seems to make the card look more substantial, like a mini work of art or something to be left on the mantelpiece just for decoration.   

Fabric on cards looks great but can often leave you with the problem of untidy fraying edges - felt doesn’t fray so the issue does not arise. Craft felt is also highly tactile, comes in a wide range of colours and it can add life to a card where a paper only design can look a bit flat.

 METHOD 1:   Good old fashion sewing ….

Set Of Embroidered Cards

The first method is to sew it on.Geeting Card With Embroidered Felt Cactus On The FrontTri Fold Cactus Card Opened Out

It isn’t easy to sew through card but can be done by hand or machine stitched.  If using the hand technique, it can help to use a sharp tool to make the hole through the card first. After sewing on, you will be left with the unsightly threads on the back of the card though, not pretty. The neatest solution is to use a gatefold card.   

Cactus Card opened Up So That The Stitching Can Be Seen

Sew the design on to the central panel, fold the right hand panel so that it covers the unsightly back of the design and stick it down. Before doing that, always secure any tied off loose ends with a piece of sellotape so that no runaway threads unravel.  

Greeting Cards With Embroidered Felt Circles

Sewing can be used to embellish the felt prior to attaching Embroidery threads in different colours add another layer of interest and texture. You can layer the design, adding even more depth and texture to the card.I’ve used Wonderfil Eleganza www.wonderfil.co.uk  thread which glides through the felt, giving a lovely richness to the stitches.   The Wonderfil colour range is fantastic, it is superbly easy to work with and it also includes a special range used by the queen of wool applique, Sue Spargo www.suespargo.com in her stunning creations. For embroidery on to felt, I use embroidery needles (larger eye but sharper point than a regular sewing needle), a chenille (24) needle or a long darning needle (1).   

 

  TOP TIP:   To get really crisp shapes, you can use a die cutting machine with felt and adhesive felt, both work well.

 

METHOD 2:   Sticking on with glue …. isn’t difficult but can leave you with lumpy blobs

Sticking felt on to card isn’t difficult, a simple PVA glue will do the trick although a specialist felt glue works much better. The problem with using any glue is getting it to look good.  

Embroidered Elephant On Greeting CardIn this elephant design , I’ve stuck the die cut shape on to the card using blobs of PVA glue. It doesn’t give a terrible look but I’ve also managed to crush poor Nellie’s eyes as I passed the card through the embossing machine in an attempt to spread the glue evenly.

I’ve used enamel dots for the eyes, using a glue gun to attach them to the felt. 

TOP TIP:   PVA glue works fine but specialist Felt Glue gives a really secure bond.

The other problem is that felt being a textured and absorbent fabric makes it difficult to get the glue to spread evenly so you tend to up with an uneven spread of glue which translates to a lumpier look to the design. It can add a slightly rustic feel to the design, giving the feel of a crumplier, more interesting finished look but personally I prefer the designs to look clean and smooth and for that adhesive felt is the way to go.

 

METHOD 3:    If you want clean and smooth … adhesive felt is the way to go

By far and away my preferred method is to use adhesive felt. I think of adhesive felt as being like a sandwich with the adhesive layer being the filling between an upper layer of felt and a lower layer of backing. The backing is discarded to reveal a lovely clean uniform layer of tacky adhesive, ready to press down on to the card and secure the felt to the card. With adhesive felt there are no loose unstuck bits even at the edges of the shape, no blobs of glue around the edges to disguise or wipe off and no messy glue to ruin clothing or work surfaces.     

Adhesive felt can be cut using needlework scissors or most household scissors will do the job. The felt can also be die cut and it works well, even with the thinner dies, and in most machines. I use a Sissix Big Shot and their Thinlit and Bigz dies work just fine. Die cutting gives a lovely clean and crisp edge to the felt. I’ll be blogging about die cutting felt at a later date.

The tricky part is to get that backing layer off cleanly and in one go. Through trial and error I have discovered the the best thing is to score all the way across the backing with a pin or needle. Scoring is an art as you don’t want to dig right down into that filling layer of adhesive. Apply enough pressure to cut through the backing but not enough to cut through the adhesive layer. Once you’ve scored the backing, bend the felt along the score and you should easily be able to lift off the backing using a fingernail or a craft knife. If you find that you’ve cut too deep and you’re ripping off the adhesive layer then simply score somewhere else, applying a little less pressure. If you don’t score from edge to edge, the danger is that you half pull off the backing leaving half of it still on, usually with a mess of ripped backing.  

 

TOP TIP:  Score the backing layer from edge to edge and bend along crease lifts the backing away from the adhesive layer. 

Once you’ve got the backing off, attach the shape to the card by pressing down cleanly and firmly and making sure to smooth out any ripples as you go. 

DARK BROWN BEAR DESIGN:

Greeting Card With Dark Brown Felt Bear DesignThe bear card has been made using the Paper Smooches Bear and Frog die.   

LIGHT BROWN BEAR DESIGN:

Greeting Card With Light Brown Felt Bear DesignHere I’ve taken inspiration from a book illustration and created my own design using some of the dies from the Paper Smooches Bear and Frog die for things like the pupils. It can be hard to cut perfect little circles for the pupils by hand so I tend to ether use enamel dots or a die cutter.

MOUSE:

Greeting Card With A Felt Grey Mouse DesignHere I’ve used some of our new heather felt in Koala and used a peep hole technique to add interest with a pop of fabric, die cutting out the heart and attaching the fabric behind. I’ve also used an embroidery thread double stitched to create the whiskers.

 

 WHERE CAN I BUY ADHESIVE FELT?    

Animal Themed Adhesive Backed Craft Felt Squares   Mixed Pack Of Adhesive Backed Craft Felt Squares

Any of our craft felts, including heather felt and printed felt, can be purchased as adhesive felt. We make up the felt on demand so you can have the size you want. If you just want to have a go we have created two specialist packs with card makers in mind.   Each pack consists of 24 pieces of 15cm² wool rich craft felt with an adhesive backing.  Our ANIMAL pack has colours suitable for making a wide range of animals from aardvarks to zebras. The MIXED MULTI pack has a wide selection of brighter colours.   

A selection of greeting cards made using adhesive backed felt

There are several ways of attaching the felt to the card stock,

Felt can be sewn on to cards but it isn’t easy and you’re left with the problem of making the back, the inside of the card, look pretty.  You can stick felt on to cards using most household glues, including PVA, but the problem is sticking it right to the edge and keeping the glue neatly out of sight. It isn’t easy to achieve that kind of a finish unless you use adhesive felt. The big advantage of adhesive felt is that you can stick right up to the edge of the felt without worrying about any messy glue spoiling the outer edge or missing a bit of glue and the felt gaping at the edge.   

WORKING WITH ADHESIVE FELT

There are a few things to think about when working with adhesive felt, mostly common sense but some I’ve had to learn the hard way.