What is Bamboo Felt?
The currently available bamboo felt is a felt fabric made from a blend of two rayon's. One rayon is made from bamboo fibers, and one rayon is derived from other sources, most commonly wood pulp. These two rayon's are then combined through commercial needle felting to create what is referred to as bamboo felt.
Bamboo stalks contain fibers
Bamboo cellulose fiber before being processed into bamboo rayon.
These Bamboo fibers can be woven into a stiff and rough fabric, similar to linen or hemp fabrics.
Fabric made with bamboo not made into rayon.
If the bamboo fibers are first turned into a rayon the structure of the material being made changes.
Regenerated cellulose bamboo fiber (AKA Bamboo Rayon)
All rayon fibers are then combined by machine usually by needle felting
Rayon are layered and put into a machine which uses needles to create felt.
You cannot actually “felt” or create a soft smooth fabric with bamboo fibers without first processing it into a rayon.
Finished Bamboo rayon felt
So it may help to know how rayon is made:
Rayon fabric is the product of any cellulose fiber like cotton, bamboo, or most commonly wood pulp, —usually from pine and spruce trees, which is processed to create a regenerated cellulose fiber (fancy phrase for turned into different, softer, easier to work with material.)
So what are the benefits of a bamboo felt if it’s just a rayon felt?
*Starting with the fastest growing grass like bamboo rather than a slower growing tree fiber makes bamboo a more sustainable fiber to work with.
*Bamboo is great for the planet, it produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees, it also prevents soil erosion.
*Since bamboo has no real threats in terms of pest nearly all of the bamboo grown in the world is grown organically with no pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides used. All rayon is 100% biodegradable.
*Bamboo is made up of smooth rounded fibers which are very soft even on extremely sensitive skin. It has a buttery feel to and is very lightweight.
*Bamboo felt is a beautiful fabric to work with, it has the softness of a cashmere, and the sheen of a silk it flows and drapes like silk and cashmere too! *Rayon fibers, bamboo rayon especially, carry dyes very well and so they can be used to create very vibrant felt colors.
*Bamboo is also hypoallergenic and highly absorbent.
What are the drawbacks of bamboo felt?
*Chemicals are used in the production of all rayon, although technology seems to be moving towards fewer chemicals and new techniques for creating regenerated cellulose fibers are in the works.
*Rayon fibers become very weak when wet and do have a tendency to shrink when washed.
Bamboo felt will shrink and dry cleaning is recommended. Never machine wash an item made from rayon felt try to hand wash if possible. I have not noticed a difference in the strength of bamboo felt versus other felts.
*Bamboo felt is a little on the pricey side but it is a new fabric to the market so I am sure the prices will go down.
What is bamboo felt good for?
Bamboo felt is great for any application where you might normally use a 100% wool felt. It’s higher price point means it’s usually used for special or important pieces like Christmas ornaments, gifts, keepsakes, stuffies, baby booties, etc.