How to Use Paverpol Textile Hardener to Stiffen a Felted Bird Pod

Updated on July 16, 2020
sallybea profile image

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Wool Felt Bird Pod
Wool Felt Bird Pod | Source

How Can I Harden Wool Felt?

This is a question I am often asked.

I prefer not harden the felt items I make, preferring to felt the wool until it can hold the moulded shape I want without having to resort to any glues or hardeners.

However, there are times when Paverpol fabric hardener is extremely useful! I use it to harden lamp shades and bird pods. The downside of using Paverpol is that it goes rock-hard when it is dry. Wool felt which has been hardened loses some of the translucence it naturally has under light. This fact should be borne in mind if you intend to use it to harden lamp shades.

How to Use Paverpol

Paverpol is water-based and is non-toxic. This makes it a good choice for a bird pod, which will be used exclusively outdoors. I use transparent Paverpol but it is also available in a variety of colors.

Note: This product comes with a warning! Paverpol can block up your drainage pipes. To prevent this, periodically clean any containers you use; let the material in the water settle and then pour off the water into a flower pot or the garden.

I tend to use Paverpol straight from the pot, but you can dilute it with water. I prefer to apply it to the inside of on a lampshade with a large brush or knead it into the fabric with my fingers. The bird pod entrance in this case is very small, so I simply paint the hardener on the outside of the pod using a paint brush. I squeeze and knead the woolen fabric well to allow the stiffener to penetrate the fibers. I then shape it and place it on a sheet of bubblewrap to dry.

Projects should be stuffed with a balloon or plastic bags and then left to dry. The bags can easily be extracted but don't use paper as it will stick to the glue. if any of the Paverpol drips onto the bubblewrap, you can collect the excess and paint it back onto the project before leaving it to dry.

An example of a lamp shade treated with Transparent Paverpol Fabric Hardener.
An example of a lamp shade treated with Transparent Paverpol Fabric Hardener. | Source
Wool Roving
Wool Roving | Source

Things You Will Need

  • Paverpol/Transparent textile/fabric hardener (500g) which comes in a variety of colors. It can be used to drape and harden fabric or sculptures which will be used outdoors. I purchased mine from Amazon.
  • A template which can be made from underfloor laminate, cut to whatever shape you require. The template used in this example measured 51 cm down the centre. The sides measure 49 cm. You can make it as wide as you like.
  • Merino wool fibers for all three layers. I used up a lot of left over fibers from different projects.
  • A piece of silk fabric (I used a used an old silk scarf) alternatively you can leave it out and make 3 layers of merino wool fibers of the same thickness throughout the project.
  • Party Balloons
  • A heavy duty bamboo blind and a tumble dryer (the latter is useful but not essential)
  • Warm soapy water (Olive Oil Soap grated and diluted in water) Olive Oil soap is kind to the hands but dish washing liquid will suffice if you have nothing else.
  • Bubblewrap
  • Warm soapy water.

Bird Pod Template
Bird Pod Template | Source

Layer 1

  • Cover the template with an even layer of merino wool fibers, in colors of your choice.

Side 1
Side 1 | Source

Wet the Wool

  • Wet the wool with warm soapy water.

Wetting the fibers
Wetting the fibers | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Cover with bubblewrap, wet and rub the fibers until the surface feels smooth.

Wet the bubblewrap and rub until flattened.
Wet the bubblewrap and rub until flattened. | Source

Remove the bubblewrap

  • Gently lift off the bubblewrap.
  • Be careful not to displace the wet fibers.

Remove the bubblewrap
Remove the bubblewrap | Source

Neaten the Edges

  • Fold over the edges over as shown.
  • Use a little soapy water where necessary.

Fold the fibers neatly over the edges of the template.
Fold the fibers neatly over the edges of the template. | Source

Make a Pod Loop

  • Pull off a length of wool, about half the thickness of the wool roving.
  • It should be as long as you would like the loop to be.

Pull off a length of fibre to make a hanging loop for the bird pod.
Pull off a length of fibre to make a hanging loop for the bird pod. | Source

Make the Loop

  • Wet the wool with soapy water.
  • Leave the two ends dry.
  • The dry fibers on the ends will be attached to the bird pod.
  • Rub the middle of the thick strand of wool until the wool feels firm under the fingers.

Rub with soapy water keeping the 2 ends fluffy and as dry as possible
Rub with soapy water keeping the 2 ends fluffy and as dry as possible | Source

Create a Loop

  • Place one dry part of the loop on the front and one on the back of the template as shown.
  • Both of them together should form the loop for hanging the bird pop up.

Open out 1 fluffy end and place at the top of the template, wet and rub well.
Open out 1 fluffy end and place at the top of the template, wet and rub well. | Source

Rub the Loop Well

  • Put a piece of bubblewrap over the join, where you attached the dry fibers to the top of the template.
  • Rub well.

Attach both ends, 1 on each side. Cover with bubblewrap and rub well.
Attach both ends, 1 on each side. Cover with bubblewrap and rub well. | Source

Prepare to Cover the 2nd Side

  • Cover the 2nd side with an even layer of wool roving.

Loop attached, 2nd side ready to be covered with wool roving.
Loop attached, 2nd side ready to be covered with wool roving. | Source

The Second Side

  • Repeat the pattern of the 1st side as is shown.

1nd side covered in wool roving
1nd side covered in wool roving | Source

Wet the Wool

  • Wet the wool using warm soapy water.

Wet the fibers with warm soapy water.
Wet the fibers with warm soapy water. | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the bubblewrap and rub the fibers until they flatten.

Cover with bubblewrap, wet and rub until fibers are flattened.
Cover with bubblewrap, wet and rub until fibers are flattened. | Source

Remove the bubblewrap

  • Gently remove the bubblewrap taking care not to displace the wet fibers.

Remove the bubblewrap
Remove the bubblewrap | Source

Flip the Project Over.

  • Flip the project over.
  • Neaten the edges.;
  • Smooth down the area where the loop joins and rub well.

Source

Neaten the Edges

  • Turn any loose fibers in.
  • Use a little warm soapy water if needed.

Neaten the edges
Neaten the edges | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the bubblewrap and rub well.

Cover with bubblewrap, wet and rub well.
Cover with bubblewrap, wet and rub well. | Source

Layer 2 Side 1

  • Cover the template with a layer of 'black' fiber as shown.

Cover in a layer of black fiber.
Cover in a layer of black fiber. | Source

Wet the Wool

  • Wet with warm soapy water.

Wet the fibers with warm soapy water
Wet the fibers with warm soapy water | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Cover with bubblewrap and wet the surface.
  • Rub well.

Cover with bubblewrap, wet and rub as before
Cover with bubblewrap, wet and rub as before | Source

Flip the Project Over

  • Turn in the edges.
  • Use a little warm soapy water if required.

Flip the project over and neaten the edges
Flip the project over and neaten the edges | Source

Cover the 2nd Side of Layer 2

  • Cover the 2nd side of the template with a layer of 'black' wool.
  • Wet with warm soapy water.

Wet with warm soapy water
Wet with warm soapy water | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubblewrap and rub well.

Cover with bubblewrap and rub well
Cover with bubblewrap and rub well | Source

Remove the Bubblewrap

  • Carefully remove the bubblewrap and flip the project over.

Remove the bubblewrap
Remove the bubblewrap | Source

Neaten the Edges.

  • Neaten the edges using warm soapy water.

Neaten the edges as before.
Neaten the edges as before. | Source

Layer 3 (Optional)

  • Place a wet silk scarf over the wet surface of layer 2 and smooth down the fabric.
  • You can leave out the silk scarf if desired and simply use 3 layers of wool fibers for your project.
  • If only 3 layers are used, they should all be of the same thickness.

Cover the wet fibers in a layer of silk (scarf)
Cover the wet fibers in a layer of silk (scarf) | Source

2nd Side of Layer 3 (Silk Scarf)

  • Fold the silk around the project and trim off any excess fabric.
  • Neaten as shown, smoothing down the fabric where necessary.

Both sides neatly covered in silk
Both sides neatly covered in silk | Source

Layer 4

  • Cover the silk with a very fine layer of merino wool.
  • A thin layer of wool created a ruffled appearance on the bird pod.
  • Wet with cool soapy water.

Please note that if you want the fibers to penetrate the fibers you should only use cool soapy water so that the fibers do not shrink before they are able to migrate into the silk.

Cover the silk with a fine layer of wool roving. Wet with cool soapy water.
Cover the silk with a fine layer of wool roving. Wet with cool soapy water. | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Wet and cover the final layer.
  • Rub Well.
  • Remove the bubblewrap carefully.

Remove the bubblewrap
Remove the bubblewrap | Source

Flip the Project Over

  • Neaten the Edges with cool soapy water.

Flip over and neaten the edges.
Flip over and neaten the edges. | Source

Side 2 of Layer 4

  • Cover the silk with a fine layer of merino wool roving.
  • Wet with cool soapy water.

Cover the last layer with a fine layer of wool roving.
Cover the last layer with a fine layer of wool roving. | Source

Cover with Bubblewrap

  • Cover with bubblewrap,
  • Wet the surface and rub well.
  • Remove the bubblewrap, flip over and neaten the edges as is shown in the next image.

Wet the bubblewrap and rub until smooth.
Wet the bubblewrap and rub until smooth. | Source

Roll the Project inside a Heavy Duty Bamboo Blind

  • Gently roll the project in the blind.
  • Increase the pressure after a while and keep on changing the direction in which you roll the pod by turning the project inside the blind.
  • Roll until the edges of the template begin to curl.

Rub inside a heavy duty bamboo blind
Rub inside a heavy duty bamboo blind | Source

Change the Direction of the Roll

  • Place the pod in different positions so that the pod can be shrunk from different directions.
  • Roll until the fibers no longer move.
  • You will start to see the template buckling as the fibers shrink.

Keep on changing the direction in which you roll.
Keep on changing the direction in which you roll. | Source

Shrink in the Tumble Drier

  • I always opt to use the tumble dryer method for the final shrinking stage.
  • This is an optional step.
  • You may prefer to rinse the project it in hot and cold water to shrink it more.
  • I sometimes take the project out to a hard outside wall and hit those parts which I want to shrink more.

Roll inside a piece of bubblewrap and put into a tumble dryer.
Roll inside a piece of bubblewrap and put into a tumble dryer. | Source

Rinse and Cut the Hole

  • Rinse the project in hot and then cold water.
  • Remove most of the water by giving it one last squeeze or put it back in the tumble dryer.
  • Mark a small hole as shown and cut out very carefully.

Do not make this hole too big, it is much better to make it small and enlarge it later. One is aiming to make this hole the right size for the particular type of bird you hope to entice into this accommodation.

Mark a small circular hole.
Mark a small circular hole. | Source
Cut the small hole.
Cut the small hole. | Source

Shape the Bird Pod

  • Shape the bird pod by inserting a balloon into the small hole.
  • Blow it up, knot it and put it back into the tumble dryer until it shrinks to the desired size.
  • Alternatively blow the balloon up inside the bird pod and shape as desired.

Rinse the bird pod well and then insert a ballon.
Rinse the bird pod well and then insert a ballon. | Source
Balloons
Balloons | Source
Tumble in the tumble dryer until the wool is still damp but not dry.
Tumble in the tumble dryer until the wool is still damp but not dry. | Source

Extract the Template

  • Remove the template as shown.

Remove the template
Remove the template | Source

Paint with Pavepol

  • Use a paintbrush to cover the surface of the bird pod with fabric hardener.
  • The pod should be damp but not wet when you do this.
  • If it is too wet it will dilute the glue and run out more than it should.
  • No harm will be done if you do this though, simply scoop up the excess and paint it back when it starts to dry.
  • Squeeze the project using your fingers until the Paverpol blends so well that it cannot be seen.

Paint the exterior of the bird pod with a neat layer of paverpol
Paint the exterior of the bird pod with a neat layer of paverpol | Source
Squeeze the project between your fingers until the Paverpol is completely absorbed.
Squeeze the project between your fingers until the Paverpol is completely absorbed. | Source

Shape the Pod

  • Shape the Pod
  • Start by increasing the size of the hole but don't make it too big.
  • Fold in the sides if you are using a similar shape template to this one.
  • If you make the template pear shaped you won't need to do this step.
  • Massage the cut edges of the entrance of the pod with Paverpol hardener.
  • Put a balloon inside the pod and leave it to dry on a sheet of bubblewrap.
  • If the Paverpol drips onto the bubblewrap, collect the excess and repaint using a paintbrush.
  • The bird pod will dry rock hard making it much more durable in hot and very cold weather.

Side View of the Pod

Make a fold in the side of the pod as shown, shape and leave to dry.
Make a fold in the side of the pod as shown, shape and leave to dry. | Source
The completed bird pod
The completed bird pod | Source

© 2020 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

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    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      2 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Thank you Devika, glad you like it. Thank you for your continued support, it is much appreciated. Keep safe.

    • profile image

      Devika Primic 

      2 weeks ago

      Wow! Sally you have created a beautiful bird pod and with such determination in each step. I like your work.

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      2 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy, it is always great to see you too. Thank you so much for popping by.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You're speaking Greek to me, Sally, but it's always nice to see your name pop up on my feed. I hope this finds you healthy and happy.

    • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      2 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Hi Peggy, no, not yet, as it is a little late in the season but I hope that they will next year:) It might even end up in someone's Xmas stocking. Paverpol is a very interesting substance, it it for instance quite amazing how one can drape textiles to look like real clothing on a wire frame or it can be used to preserve large sculptures which are left out in all weathers.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      What a unique birdhouse you made! I have never even heard of Paverpol textile hardener. Have any birds used your birdhouse yet?

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