Felting is an ancient way of mixing fibres together. Learn how to make a felt fashion bug in bright colours, non caveman-style…
Since I discovered felting in its all forms, I was just hooked into it. I am not sure what it was: either the beauty of the colours, the nature of the wool, the fact of rediscovering the ancient art or just a simple pleasure of making things with my own hands – but there is something in felting that still keeps me discovering its beauty, versatility and artistic appeal.
People have been making felt for centuries. Felting is a process of mixing fibres together – the ancient way is to do it with water and agitation, the modern addition is the felting needle which is very sharp with the barbed edge. What I love mostly about felting is that it can be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish. The artistic possibilities of this medium are limited only by your imagination.
I have prepared a fun introductory project for you which combines wet and needle felting to make one-of-a-kind wearable cuties. Experiment with mix’n’match colours, fibres and sparkling bits to create your very own one! Have fun!
If you have any questions about this tutorial, let me know. And I love to see your versions!
You can send me the links to your creations at www.flickr.com/photos/fingtoys.
What you need for creating a felt fashion bug:
- a handful of wool roving, in 3 different colours to make it more interesting – I used merino top in 3 shades of pink just because it is so irresistible for me at the moment, but this design can be done in any colour combination using whatever wool you’ve got around
- a bar of soap
- a surface mat
- a felting needle
- a bit of wool for face and eyes (I used pink, white and brown for this project, it goes well with the colour scheme)
- assorted beads, sequins and other embellishments – you name it
- a needle and a thread
- button / bobby pin / brooch base
Start by pulling wool from your roving – just note that wool fibres are very fragile before they are felted, so pull gently and never cut wool! Mix different colours together and wind them in the ball shape. Keep in mind your ball will shrink in the felting process, so you need to start with the bigger size.
Soak your dry ball in the warm soapy water and start rolling it gently between your palms like you would with a clay ball. Add more pressure as the ball started to felt – you will notice it by increasing hardness. You can continue this process for a while and receive nice felted ball at the end, but if you are like me with absence of the necessary patience then I have a quick tip for you J You can place half felted ball on the slightly uneven surface mat, add soapy gel to it (to make soapy gel just mix half soap with half water) and roll it between your palm and mat in the circular motion applying increasing pressure – I found this way to be easier and definitely faster!
You know it’s finished when it’s no longer fuzzy, then you can rinse the soap out of your ball with cold water and allow it to dry.
NEEDLE FELTING (FACE AND EYES)
Start by making the loose ball out of face colour wool, then place it on your felted dry ball. Now take your felting needle and poke the face area, applying face fibre to the base. I usually start with loose poking on the whole area and finish with defining the edge. Do the same steps for the eyes, the loose balls will become smaller and the detail finer. Finish the face with very loose ball for a blush on the cheeks.
DECORATING YOUR FELT BUG
Now is the time for most exciting part of this project – decorating! Put together your bits and pieces, and let your creativity run wild and free. Small tips for you – start stitching from the bottom to hide the knot and when stitching the beads try to return to the same place where you started.
The final step is sewing the button at the bottom of the ball, so you can wear your cutie at any button hole – just bear in mind that the size of the button need to match the buttonhole’s size.
Alternatively you can attach a bobby pin or brooch base.
And there you have it!