It’s been a while since I posted a needle felting project, so I thought I would treat you to something a little bit special. I really love the idea of children playing with toys made from natural materials like wool, it’s really important developmentally to give them a rich sensory experience that plastic toys just don’t offer.
This needle felted rattle ball is a simple project, and I guarantee you will want to make more than one. A perfect gift for a special newborn or toddler. With a melodic jingle bell as a chime and it’s woolly tactile surface, both child and parent will appreciate this fun toy.
You will need:
Wool roving in your choice of colours, about 50g should be enough
Felting needles and pad
Rattle/bell – pre-purchase ready made or see below to make your own.
Making the bell rattle:
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the technique of needle felting you may want to read about Needle Felting Basics first.
-Start by firmly wrapping a layer of roving around whatever you are using as the rattle and secure it with some sewing thread.
-Repeat this with a few layers of wool roving and thread until you have your desired size (about the size of a tennis ball)
-Time to get your needle out. The idea is to poke or ‘needle’ the fluffy loose wool on the surface into a firmish ball without any lumps and that will hold its shape.
-Because the rattle in the center is a hard object we need to avoid poking the needle towards the middle as we risk breaking the needle (it’s very brittle).
-A better technique is to ‘needle’ the outer surface towards the side of the ball, keep the sharp end directed at the pad.
-Now it’s time to get creative and decorate the ball. I’ve chosen to do a three colour dip dyed effect.
-Take small amounts of coloured roving and lay over the section of the ball you want to decorate, ‘needle’ in gently, taking care not to hit the rattle.
-Go over the whole surface till the wool is firmly felted and you can not peel it off.
-Periodically roll between warmed hands to keep the shape even and remove needle marks.
-Finally to tidy up any stray fibers, give the ball a ‘surface needle’ (rub the needle across the surface).
Can you stop at one?