Wool Felt Blends- part 3 of Whats the difference between wool, acrylic, wool blend, and eco felt?

3 Apr

acrylic wool eco blend felt

AFC wool felt rainbow

Meet me in the middle, part 3 of whats the diffrence.

In this post we’ll look at Wool/Rayon felt blends, please see my other post on wool felt and Acrylic/eco-felt , or for a more simplistic match up check out Felt Smackdown.

Wool Felt Blends

Wool felt blends are blends of wool felt and another material most often rayon. Rayon is made from wood pulp a naturally occurring polymer. It can be manufactured to look like a number of different fabrics in this case wool. Rayon’s properties are similar to cotton or linen and it is the obvious choice for blends because it’s blends with other fabrics easily and in the case of wool it removes the “itch” factor and provides an added softness.

Wear and Care

Wool blend felt wears in a similar way to wool in that it holds up well to wear and stress it does however pill after friction is applied.  Generally this is not a problem in any normal situation as it takes a great deal of friction to cause this, in which case I do not want to know what you are using this felt for. Oh who are we kidding yes I do.  Wool blend felt has a very nominal amount of elasticity and will not be pulled out of shape as easily as wool.  The addition of rayon to the wool does not affect dyeabity at all allowing the felt to achieve very vivid colors. Rayon generally speaking is not damaged by bleaches, although it will alter the fabrics color.  Unlike 100% wool, rayon does not build up a static charge so when blended together the felt will not hold a charge. Rayon blend felt is soft and quite comfortable on the skin. The blended felt will wrinkle but will easily flatten out with time or the application of a low temperature iron. The blends generally resist insect damage and retain the mildew resistant qualities of wool so if you live in the wettest most bug infested place in the world (see Florida) your still in good shape with a blend. However only a moderate amount of water resistance is retained so you’ll want to wipe up spills as soon as possible. Blends generally wash well if washed correctly and spots are easily removed.

Safety and environmental impact

Rayon/ Wool blends retain a good amount of the fire resistant qualities of wool and when it does catch flame it generally burns out. Wool felt blends must contain a minimum of 20% wool in order to be felted without chemical processes this gives wool felt blends similar anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic properties but in a lesser amounts than 100% wool.  Since rayon is made from wood pulp a relatively inexpensive and renewable resource it can be considered a more environmentally friendly option than acrylic/ eco felts.



Blends can be sewn, needle felted, glued and molded.

DisadvantagesAFC felt stack

Rayon blends will shrink, although slightly less than wool. And when cut into shapes less than 1/3 of an inch they will come apart when strongly pulled however this effect is somewhat lessened when the wool percentage is higher. All in all Rayon blends span the vast chasm between wool and acrylic felts.

Now that your a felt expert why not put all that knowledge up to good use in Felt Smackdown. Of course if you missed part 1 or 2 you can go back and catch up.

9 Responses to “Wool Felt Blends- part 3 of Whats the difference between wool, acrylic, wool blend, and eco felt?”

  1. richie August 12, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    thanks! this really helped me. i wasn’t sure if a blend would needle felt, but now i can confidently go and buy the fabric i need for a piece i’m working on.

  2. jomaj January 2, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    This is great information. It’s frustrating to buy something (online) that is advertised as “wool felt” and find out it is some crappy acrylic. Usually the price is an indicator, but I’ve been burned in the past!

  3. Andy Popichak June 11, 2010 at 3:11 am #

    I wrote a similar blog about this subject but you did a better job 🙂

  4. Pat Christenbury March 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Could you tell me which type of felt is better for making “pouffy” felt flowers? I purchased a pattern to make a peony felt flower and the wool blend I used left the flower flat. I made a similar flower with eco-felt and it pouffed up nicely, but I don’t like the look of acrylic.
    Can you help me?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft March 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      Hi Pat,
      I’d have to take a look at the pattern but my best guess is that the flower in your pattern poofs because the acrylic is lightweight, you can poof out the base of most flowers by pinching one end of the petal. Wool blend arches over beautifully so this would be your best bet in terms of color selection. You could also look for a very soft thin 100% wool and that may would well for you although it will give your flower more of an angora look.
      Hope this helps

  5. s munson August 12, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    I am needing to replace the felt strips on my piano. I believe this is typically done with 100% wool but wonder if a rayon blend would stand up to the pressure better or worse. The places I am using them are in places where the piano cabinet touch other cabinet parts such as the top door and the fall board. Should I stick with finding 100% wool or do you think a rayon blend would be a better selection?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft August 14, 2017 at 6:40 pm #

      Hi there,
      I think this is one of those times you should opt for 100% wool since the lift tends to be a little “airier”. The fibers are much more course than the shorter stands used in wool blends. The blends are dense which may be great for durability and color but not shock absorption. I am sure you can use the blend in a pinch but 100% wool is really your best bet. Hope this helps.

  6. joemun09 November 19, 2017 at 11:01 pm #

    Thank you for the wonderful training. But what about the absorbency test?

  7. NEVI January 11, 2018 at 11:49 pm #

    What a good knowledge. Thanks so much.

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