There is an array of felting mat options out there so I have put together a video tutorial (below) showing you my favourite mats and best practice for using them. If you are using different felting techniques then you, like me, will probably use a combination of two or three; there is no one size fits every project.
I have also just invested in some Eco needle felting mats which can be used on their own, on top of your foam pad or hessian mat. They are fabulously thick 100% wool felt made here in the UK and the feedback has been great! I love mine and use it all the time now.
If you use it on top of your foam mat you will rarely, if ever need to replace your foam block. They are completely biodegradable but honestly, it will be a long time before they need replacing.
Getting The Best Out Of Your Felting Mats
Hessian rice mats are particularly useful for needle felting pictures or any other flat felting, like big hare ears, flowers, gnome hats, wings etc. It also works brilliantly with the 7 needle multi tool which will have you powering through your flat needle felting projects.
MAKE YOUR OWN HESSIAN RICE MAT
You can easily make your own mat from a piece hessian filled with dried rice or similar. I used an old hessian shopping bag for my first one. Just make sure the weave is quite tight otherwise it won’t last long at all and always use a piece of felt on the top to protect the surface. This will easily 10 x the life of your rice mat.
1 Cut out twice the size of the area you want to work on
3 Sew up all four sides, leaving a two inch gap to fill with rice.
3 Fill with dried rice or similar
4 Sew up the gap securley
5 Slap a bit of felt on top and you are good to go!
Hope this helps and remember, there is no right or wrong choice. Much of it is personal preference and the type of needle felting project you are working on.