Making felt from wool fibre is a magical thing. You start with a masses of soft fluffy roving that resemble fairy floss, and through the wonderful process of felting, the fibres that once barely touched each other are bonded for life in a strong compact fabric. It’s quite the transformation.
I’ve enjoyed the craft of needle felting for many years now, but have yet to try my hand at wet felting. To be honest I’ve been a little intimidated by many aspects of wet felting, including it’s imprecise results. Unlike needle felting which lends itself to very accurate control of every fibre, if you so wish, wet felting is a bit more laissez-faire.
After visiting the wool show recently and picking up a few bags of colourful mixed roving, many of the sellers gave me project suggestions. They were so adamant that I was missing out on on the joys of wet felting, that they’ve convinced me to give it a try.
Here are 6 tutorials that I want to try, I’ll report back with my attempts next week.
Making Felt Balls
This is the kid friendliest of all wet felting projects and probably an easy one to start with. Emma loves playing with my wool fibre but I’m still not comfortable letting her loose with sharp felting needles so I think we’ll have a go at making felt balls this weekend. I get eczema on my hands from too much contact with soaps, so the ladies at the wool show suggested wearing vinyl gloves to prevent skin irritation – great idea!
Get the full instructions on Curly Birds – Making Felt Balls with Kids
Felted Rainbow Geodes
Once we’ve mastered our basic felt ball game, I think these felt ‘geodes’ will be fun to make. Living Crafts has a delightful story “The Rainbow Rock” which can accompany these surprise felt stones when given as a gift. I’ve seen this technique used to make giant geodes which are then sliced just like real stones and used as trivets and coasters.
Get the full instructions on Living Crafts – Rainbow Rocks
Wet Felt Covered Pebbles
Aren’t these colourful wool covered stones just the loveliest? I imagine they have quite a nice weight to them, and they would probably make really good pattern cutting weights. The tutorial steps include needle felting in the early steps, but I think there is a big risk of breaking the needle, so I’ll see how it goes without that step. This technique can also be used to make felt covered soaps.
Get the full instructions on The Magic Onions – Felted Pebbles
Zip Lock Bag Wet Felting
One of my aversions to the process of wet felting, was just the general potential for soap and water everywhere, but this zip lock bag technique keeps the soapy water contained and is great for me with my atopic skin. It’s also perfect for young kids who can lay out a design before it goes in the bag, and then have a great time squishing it around till it’s fully felted. This smiley egg trivet is a cute example of a small project that can be made with this plastic bag technique.
Get the full instructions on Martha Stewart – Sunny Side Up Felted Egg
Wet Felted Vessel
I think it will be a while before I advance to making a 3D object like this bowl, but hey, why not aim high. This tutorial gives very clear and thorough instructions for using a resist method to make the vessel and then shaping up the sides with the unlikeliest of tools.
Get the full instructions on Rosie Pink – How to make a Wet Felted Pod
Felted Mandala Rug
How beautiful is this rug? Made with many layers of wool and then decorated with felted wool rope and yarn, it certainly isn’t a beginners project but it sure is inspiring. The maker takes commissions and sells a range of hand felted items, but has generously posted very detailed instructions for her process of making this rug. The instructions are in Russian but the photos are very clear. If you use Chrome as your browser, it gives you a ‘google translate’ option that does a great job at translating all but a few words into English. I may experiment with some of these techniques in a smaller project.
Get the full instructions on Livemaster – Eco-Mandela Carpet