Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tutorial: Wet Felting

To kick off our summer vacation we learned the art of wet felting. A few months ago, while traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway we came across some cute hair accessories that I thought the girls would be able to make. The art was to make wet felted balls.

Wet felting is the process of taking layers of wool roving and combining them into one piece of felt (ball). We purchased pre-dyed packages of 100% wool roving at our local craft store. The wool roving comes in a variety of colors that you could select.

To start the felting process, we filled a container that was large enough for all of us to use of hot/warm water, and added about one tablespoon of dish soap to create a sudsy mixture.

We then cut pieces of the wool roving into pre-measured sections, so that our felt balls would hopefully be somewhat uniform in size.

For each ball, we started by pulling apart the roving to create a large “poofy” ball that we then shaped into a "loose" ball shape. If you are interested in having multiple colors of wool roving in your wool balls, this is the time that you would want to have your second or even third color ready. You would gently wrap the color around the primary colored wool roving ball. It does not need to be tight, just wrapped around the wool roving. Once you get the wool wet, it will begin to blend together.

Next, dip the wool roving (that has been formed into a ball) into the hot/warm, soapy water and begin to shape it carefully into a round ball… using the palms of our hands. Similar to how you would roll playdough when you want to make a ball.

You want to be careful that you do not press and roll too hard. Keep rolling and dipping the wool roving/ball into the hot and soapy water. You will begin to feel the wool becoming denser and denser as you roll. You will also want to make sure that it is keeping in the shape of a ball.

After you are done wet felting, you will want to rinse the balls carefully so that the some of the soap is removed from the wool. It is important to have the water hot/warm when you are wet felting. The wool does so much better when you are forming the balls.

It takes roughly 24 hours for the wool to try. We just placed them on a plate and laid them on the counter top. When they are completely dry you can make necklaces, bracelets and hair accessories.

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