Introduction: Rainbow Carded Batt

This Instructable shows you one way to make a rainbow carded batt. you will need a drum carder and a variety of dyed fibers. Nearly all the fibers shown I dyed myself (except for the Angelina fiber).

Drum carders are used to prepare fiber for spinning. A drum carder is a machine with two "drums" covered in carding cloth (a cloth with little metal teeth all over it). When you feed fiber into the carder the fiber is separated and "fluffed". It has some texture to it. Drum carders can also be used to blend colors.

This rainbow batt can be spun into yarn or felted.


Drum carder

Drum carder tools

Fiber dyed in the color of the rainbow. I used a mix of wool, Firestar, nylon, and Angelina.

Ribbon/string (to tie the batt)


Step 1: Set-up

Pick out and weigh your fiber. I wanted wool to be my base fiber, so the majority of the batt is wool with only a small percentage being the other fibers. I weighed each color to make sure there was an even amount of the base fiber.

Lay out your base fiber and all the add-in fibers (nylon, Firestar, Angelina, etc.) by color and in the order you are going to use them.

I keep the various tools I use while carding next to the carder so I can get them quickly. Tools include a paintbrush for pushing fiber down, a knitting needle for pulling the batt up, a flicker brush, and a hair styling brush-thing for cleaning the carder. Also a pair of long tweezers for pulling out or adding in delicate things.

I have a motorized drum carder, this allows me to focus on feeding fiber into the drums and gives a little more control as I don't have to worry about hand cranking the drums. It's also a LOT easier on your arms.

Step 2: Prep Fiber

Unless I already have fiber fluffed out, I run the fiber I want to use through the carder once or twice. This helps spreads the fibers apart and fluffs them. The 3rd photo shows how to pull a batt off a drum carder. I use a knitting needle to do this by sliding the needle under the fiber 1/2-1" and pull it up, I continue all along the drum and then turn the carder back on to pull the batt off. Picture 4 is the end result. I will pull this fiber into thinner strips to make it easier to feed somewhat even stripes into the carder. I repeated this step with all the colors I wanted in my batt.

Step 3: Base Layer

The first layer is wool. I stripped each solid color batt into thinner strips and lined them up in the order I wanted my rainbow. This is just one way of creating a rainbow batt.

I ran about 2 layers of wool through before moving to the next layer.

When feeding fiber into the carder, do so in small amounts. Putting too much fiber in at once can cause jams. Also, do not hold onto the fiber when the machine is pulling the fiber in.

Step 4: Technique: Painting On

Painting on is a technique where you "paint" fiber directly onto the drum carder as it's running. It's often used for putting on finer fibers. I used it it to make a very thin stripe of dark purple. I also used it later on to add bamboo, firestar, and angelina fiber.

Step 5: Layer 2: Bamboo

After the wool, I put on bamboo. There's no green because I didn't have the right shade of green bamboo. I ended up not using the orange and yellow as well because they didn't match the more fluorescent orange/yellow wool I used.

Step 6: Layer 3: Firestar & Add-ins

Next I painted on the firestar (sparkly nylon) and Angelina fiber. Angelina is super sparkly and a little goes a long way.

Step 7: Repeat Layers 1-3

You can repeat the wool, bamboo, firestar and other add-ins until the drum carder is full or you can stop with what you have.

Step 8: Removal

Carefully remove the batt from the drum carder as shown in step 2.

Step 9: Ta Da!

The first picture is the back side of the batt, the second picture is the front side.

After I pulled the batt off the drum carder, I rolled the batt and folded it in half. Then I rolled it again like a cinnamon roll and used string to hold it together.

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest