16 June 2014

Needle Felting Fun

Wasn't the weekend gorgeous?  Today, we'll be crafting with this:

I know, it looks like cotton candy! Sorry to disappoint all those with a sweet tooth out there. This, my friends, is wool roving. It's the main material for a craft called needle felting.

Felting is on my list of "Crafts to try this Year" and needle felting is just one of its many branches.

I would define "felting" as painting a pattern or sculpting an object with wool fibers. 

I decided to try it with this kit that I bought at my favorite craft store.

It had everything I needed: wool roving in assorted colors, foam block, plastic template, felting needle, thread, and an instruction sheet.

Because poking with a very sharp needle is involved, I put a piece of thick cardboard on my work surface to protect it. Then I put the plastic template {it looks like a cookie cutter; another food reference that's making me hungry} on top of the foam block.

I pulled off small pieces of roving from the big ball that came in the package. I placed these inside the plastic template, roughly filling it.  

I pushed the felting needle straight down through the roving and into the foam block. This process tames the roving and allows them to stick together. Do this in shallow motions {about 1/4 inch} so that the roving doesn't bury itself into the foam block.

Repeat the needle-pushing until the roving begins to flatten. It also helps to rotate the block and pattern to get to the easy-to-miss corners.

Once I filled the bottom-half, I added a new color to the top, repeating the needle-poking process. 

Fair warning: hold the needle straight during the entire process. If the needle is angled, it will break. I learned that on my first try -- I had to buy a new needle to finish the project. Don't even try using a regular sewing needle or pin. It won't work.

I always referred to the photo to help me position the roving.  It's totally alright to remove the template to see how the pattern is taking shape. Also, gently peel off the roving from the foam block every now and then. We don't want to roving to stick to the foam block. That's not cool.

Continue the same process when adding details and accents.

The instructions say that the finished shape should be 1/8" to 1/4 " thick and fairly dense and firm. If you haven't achieved it, repeat the process using small amounts or roving. It also helps to peel off the shape from the foam block and poke the needle through the back side to make both sides even.

Also poke the needle around the edges to get rid of the strays.

And here is my little felted teacup. TADA!

By adding a string {attach it on with hot glue or by sewing}, it doubles as an ornament or gift embellishment.

Here is a tutorial that I found quite useful.

Enjoy your week!

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