Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stenciled felt coasters, art experiment

Art Experiment is a a series of posts using supplies which I own but have rarely (or never) used. Failure or success is not important, it is trying something different and seeing what can come from it.  There are three goals: try something new, use something in my supply stash, and have fun/experiment in the studio.
Finished coasters!

Over a year ago, I was experimenting with using Decolourant on felted recycled wool sweaters.  It didn't go very well. When I rinsed the fabrics after ironing, I could barely see any difference.  I went to a sewing expo and bought some Catch & Release (a product to remove color, which I believe is designed for wool but says it works on cotton too), and some wool felt that a vendor had for sale. The vendor was Crawford Designs and they make the Catch & Release product. These supplies have been sitting in my box of felt ever since (which I believe was last February).

My glass/metal coasters have been falling apart, so I decided to make some new ones.  I took out my wool felt, Catch & Release, some paint, and a stencil with different leaves on it.

I applied the Catch & Release directly to the felt using a makeup sponge to pounce it through the stencil.  After it had dried, I decided to do another layer of stenciling with paint mixed in to the Catch & Release. (If I do this again, I will do the colored ones first, as it was hard to tell where the clear ones were when I was adding the colored ones).  

After these were dry, I ironed the felt.  The clear Catch & Release did a fabulous job at removing the color.  The ones with the paint mixed in look like they were painted on, not like the original color was removed and replaced. I rinsed them with cool water per the directions.

I do like the way the fabrics turned out. I know the last time I tested the Catch & Release on recycled wool sweaters, it did not really work. This was probably because of the type of dye that is used in the sweaters. The dye in the wool felt I bought worked great with the Catch & Release product.

Just FYI, the Catch & Release product is pretty stinky.  It smells like those bathroom disinfectant sprays that add a floral scent, but the chemical smell is still there too. It smells when you apply it and it smells when you iron it, it just downright smells. And I don't have a great sense of smell so it is pretty potent if I am commenting on it. That said, I will use it again and cope with the smell.

After they were rinsed and dried,  I cut 4" squares from the felt.  I sandwiched some foam material between the layers (to help make the coasters somewhat impervious to liquids), stitched around the edges with a straight stitch a 1/4" from the edge, and did some free motion stitching around the leaves. Now I have some lovely coasters!
Here is my free-motion stitching on the front (I could use a bit more practice)
Here is the back side. I like the contrast on the back between the printed leaves and the stitched outlines.

I am glad to have new coasters, but am also excited to have this project finished. I started this before Thanksgiving, and between the holidays, traveling, and home renovation projects, they have been sitting on my sewing table half-finished for over a month. Hurrah, onto the next!


  1. They just look great! Especially combined with the stitching at the end :)

  2. Those look very nice. I finally found the smaller version of that stencil. Now to find time to use it. Right now I am doing the photography challenge and that is definitely time consuming. I liked the additional stitching. Maybe you will have to make a table runner to match your new decor in the dining room using that stencil.