As with rolling, fulling can be labour intensive and time consuming. The fulling drum automates the fulling process saving you time and energy.
Not sure what fulling is:
To produce felt is a three part process; the laying of your materials, the rolling of the pre-felt and the fulling.
In the laying of your materials, the basic raw material is woollen fibres. These fibres have a barbed or scaled surface texture. Mohair, angora, alpaca, and some furs can also be successfully felted but with more difficulty as they have fewer or smaller barbs. If you are making nuno felt ie merging wool or other fibres on a carrier fabric (silk/cotton), you need to get the fibres to migrate through the fabric.
The Gentle Roller uses the rolling process to create the pre-felt.
The Gentle Roller - for wet felt rolling
The material may shrink very marginally as the fibres start to become entangled and matted together into a cohesive piece of material, and in nuno felt, the fibres migrate through the carrier fabric. This is the first part of the process and the more rolling you do the more entangled and cohesive your prefelt becomes. Good quality prefelt is the precursor to good quality felt.
To make the finished felt you then need to “full” your material.
The Gentle Roller - Fulling Drum
Fulling involves shrinking the prefelt into a strong permanent new form which is “felt”. The process requires a more vigorous agitation of the prefelt and the addition of warm water. This results in the noticeable shrinkage of the prefelt material (sometimes by as much as 50% in length and width, or a 75% reduction in surface area) as the scales/barbs grab and collapse onto each other to create a denser, fully cohesive felt fabric.
Fulling is often performed by hand, agitating and kneading (sometimes throwing and bashing) the prefelt and aided by warm soapy water. Sometimes it is performed in a tumble dryer – but don’t turn your back as the process may be slow to start and then suddenly significant shrinkage/fulling can occur.
The Gentle Roller Fulling Drum performs this agitation for you. Simply place your item in the fulling drum, if it is too dry then add a splash of warm, soapy water and set it on it’s cycle. Check it regularly to see how much shrinkage or fulling has occurred and to unravel the edges that have a tendency to curl inwards during the fulling process.
When you have happily fulled your material to a suitable final size you then finally have a “felted” item.
The Gentle Roller Fulling Drum
And here is how the did it in the old days: