Felting Tips

Super Molded Felt Skulls!

I’ve been working on some new techniques this week, mainly trying to get a molded felt thing going on. Basically I’m taking the old-school process of making wool felt hats & transforming it into making cute skulls!

Skulls 3 Super Molded Felt Skulls!

Going back to my roots with a little foam sculpting. Then “pulling” the felt over the foam base & setting it with glue. It’s a little tricky, but I’m getting the hang of it!

Skulls 4 575x575 Super Molded Felt Skulls!

 

Skull Mold Super Molded Felt Skulls!

 

I think this has a lot of potential! Maybe an easy, quick way to create many copies & variations of sculptures!

We’ll see….

Skulls 2 280x280 Super Molded Felt Skulls! Skulls 1 280x280 Super Molded Felt Skulls!

Great Week: Post #1 – Wee Felt Worlds Book!

So this week is going to be posts that announce AWESOME stuff that’s been going on around here! Last Thursday & Friday were filled with positive, exciting events!

Post #1 – Revealing “Wee Felt Worlds” Book!

wee felt worlds Great Week: Post #1   Wee Felt Worlds Book!

Awesome Needle Felting Project Book with such a variety of styles & projects! Available on Amazon!

That’s right! It’s been over a year since I worked on this super fun book. I was honored to be asked to contribute TWO scenes into this collection of needle felted dioramas! There are so many cute & inspiring artists & projects!

*Available on February 5th, 2013

*Available now for preorders on Amazon! Check it out here!

Back Cover Great Week: Post #1   Wee Felt Worlds Book!

The back cover of the book with my little T-Rex included!

 

There’s something magical about things made in miniature—and now you can create whole wee worlds of them, with three-dimensional critters and scenery. It’s easy to do with needle felting, an oh-so-simple process that requires few tools. Choose one of ten fun felted scenes with 50 individual items, including a prehistoric landscape with dinosaurs, volcanoes, and Paleolithic plants; a camping adventure featuring an adorable bear cub; a sweet sewing room, and even a galaxy far, far away with UFOs! Along the way, readers get tons of techniques and tips from the designers—from basic felt shaping to creating joints—and lots of helpful step-by-step illustrations.

How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!

Today I am posting an old-to-me-new-to-you, fun & easy tutorial on how to make some Wet-Felted Spikes. You can also use this technique to make longer cords or snakes. It’s fun & easy & fast & all-ages. Enjoy!

 


HOW-TO: Wet Felted Spikes & Cords:

spikes+1 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!First you’ll need to get your material together:
• A bowl of cold water
• A bowl of warm dish-soapy water
• Some tufts of wool
• A towel (to help control wetness)
• A Bamboo Sushi Mat (or other textured felting surface)
• Some plastic wrap (to help control mess)


spikes+2 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!

Now measure out a tuft of wool. I was making small spikes, so I used a very small thin tuft of wool. I found that you need to break up the wool so that it is short because as you felt it, it will stretch out & be really thin and limp. Remember that even though it may look like a lot of fluffy wool, it will felt down REALLY fast!

 


spikes+3 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes! Now dip your tuft into the warm soapy water. Since I was making a spike, I want to leave one side dry & fluffy. This will give you a good “flange” of wool to felt to another surface. If you are making a cord or snake, then you can just dip the whole thing in!


spikes+4 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!

Alright, ready to start felting!! It looks all limp & loose now, but not for long.


**THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART OF THE WHOLE TUTORIAL….

f07cde9b7a9e5fd00d17b10355a9a7bd How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!Create animated gif

Now start to felt on top of the Bamboo Mat. Be sure to be gentle at first, the wool will be very loose and want to stretch out & come apart. If you start gently rolling the wool back and forth, it will start to firm up & felt together. DON’T roll in just one direction, it will just wrap around itself and not felt from the inside out. Now just keep dipping the wool into the warm water & rolling it on the mat. It won’t take very long to felt, only a couple of minutes.

 


spikes+8 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!Here is the little spike after a couple of minutes of felting. Stay away from the edge if you want to keep it a spike. See the fluffy end at the bottom, this fluff will help you seamlessly felt your spike to a felt base.

Dip & Roll… Dip & Roll…


spikes+9 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!When your spike is pretty firm, dip THE WHOLE THING (fluff included) into the cold water to rinse the soap out. The cold water will not only rinse the soap out, but also shock the wool, which will help you firm & felt it up even more.


**HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! (sorry just figured out how to make a GIF animation & am really excited how it helps illustrate process. You’ll be seeing a lot more of this now that I know how to do it!!!)

1589d0fc9ae2700e0091f29e40f962d3 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!Create animated gif

Just keep rolling & rinsing. You’ll see when the spike or cord is done felting when… well… it just wont felt anymore. This whole Dip & Roll process will take only a couple of minutes when using a small tuft. I guess if you don’t have a Bamboo Mat or other textured felting surface, you could probably just use your hands and rub the wool between them. Like when you were a kid & you made clay snakes. This would take a lot longer than if you use another surface. Try using whatever you have around the house as a Felting surface: drawer liner, non-slip floor mat, silicone oven mitt, paint tray liner, etc.

 


spikes+12 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!This is what your spike will look like when you finish felting. It’s a little on the rough side, if that’s how you like it… uh… But just let it air dry.


spikes+13 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!I like my felting to be pretty clean, so I needled my spike, just a little to tighten them up even more & poke in all the fly a way fibers.

*Note: Never feel like you cannot mix felting techniques. If you try wet-felting something & it doesn’t turn out right, go ahead & needle felt over it!! There are no rules when felting. They all do the same job, just in different ways. Don’t be a felting “elitist” or “purest”. Whatever get the job done for you!

 


spikes+16 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!It’s so hard for me to get crisp points with felt. So with these spikes I cut off the very wispy end of the wool & needle-felted directly into the tip. This firms up the tip a little. Then you can just clip any stray hairs that may still be sticking around.


spikes+18 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!If you are making cords or snakes, you are pretty much done at this point. But if you are making spikes, now is the time to take advantage of that fluffy end you left. Take the fluffy end of non-felted wool, thin & spread it out to create an awesome flange to felt. This will help you attach the spike solidly & easily, without adding a lot of extra wool.


spikes+19 How To Make Wet Felted Spikes!Now just place your spike wherever you want it, and felt it on!!! I’m not a wet-felting expert, but I think you can also wet-felt it on.

DONE!!!!!
YEA!!! Thanx!! I hope you enjoy this fun & animated tutorial. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to comment on my blog.

HAVE FUN!!!

Pondering My New Felting Video How-To: Shading with Pastels

So I just uploaded a new How To video to YouTube about shading wool using chalk pastels!

I got some great feedback from some amazing Felters yesterday via Twitter:

[box] You actually inspire me to take bigger chances, experiment and play. @shanakohnstamm [/box] [box] Thanks for sharing. I’ve always loved your shading but the airbrush wasn’t an option for me. This is! @runredrunfelts[/box]

It got me to thinking….

★  The real reason I experiment so much, honestly, is that I’m lazy! I see such amazing felting work & realize how much time & labor goes into them. I figure there HAS to be an easier way to create the look that we want without all the work!

★  I don’t see my art work as precious. I think this gives me the “courage” to take more risks with the whole process. It’s just wool after all! Never feel like you are stuck with what you have created so far, you can always cut it, add to it, change it!

★  I’m not really a felter, but a sculptor that happens to work with wool. I love being able to sculpt fibers into fun Plush, without having to do all that pesky sewing! That’s why I don’t feel like I have to be constrained by the traditional techniques of the craft.

★  You learn the most from your mistakes! Like in this video, after working with the eyeshadow, I knew that it wasn’t as good as the chalk pastels. That’s why it’s an experiment. Sometimes you gotta screw it up before you perfect it.

 


 

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest! And I hope you enjoy!

 

Oh Merino Wool… How I Love Thee…

Are you scared of Merino Wool?

Elephant 5 Felted Chicken 224x300 Oh Merino Wool... How I Love Thee...

Elephant in process pict, before ears & fine detail

Before now I had been too scared to try & use Merino for any of my Needle Felt Sculpture. I was a die-hard Romney Wool fan & thought that Merino Wool would be too fine & slow to use for dry felting. I’ve read so many good things about Merino, but then so many needle felters complain about how difficult it is to work with.

Well…

I think I was bored a few months back, running low on wool & decided to order a small batch of the Merino to experiment with later. I’ve avoided it, but last week it was conveniently sitting on top of my wool stash & I grabbed some. Boy am I glad I did! It’s amazing….

Elephant Felted Chicken 1 198x300 Oh Merino Wool... How I Love Thee...

First try using Merino Wool. Spent extra time sculpting the core wool so that it’s just a skin of Merino Top.

Elephant Felted Chicken 4 198x300 Oh Merino Wool... How I Love Thee...

Gotta love the “Junk in his Trunk” (I mean his backside)!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many needle felted sculptures are so detailed & I’ve always wanted to achieve that amount of fine detailing, but thought I was doing something wrong. Come to find out that it was simply the wool I was using! Romney isn’t fine enough to get really precise detail, but Merino is. Not sure it’s for everyone, but step outta your comfort zone & try something new. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results!

I’m in love…

Now just gotta get down to painting him grey!

Elephant Felted Chicken 2 300x198 Oh Merino Wool... How I Love Thee...

I always love doing wrinkles & stuff. Merino makes this so much easier.

Elephant Felted Chicken 3 300x198 Oh Merino Wool... How I Love Thee...

Close up of detail. Amazed at how fine I can get!

Felting Tip: Ironing Flat Wool Felt

I was playing around with the first piece that I’m making with the help of my Silhouette Cameo Die-Cutting Machine, & stumbled upon a little trick that might come in handy…

I was ironing on the cut felt shapes to the base wool, then needle felting. At one point I decided to add additional shapes after some where already in place. As I was ironing, I noticed that the iron kinda smoothed out some of the needle holes. It’s not a end all solution to getting rid of the pesky holes, but it definitely helped it look more finished.

 

Ironing Felt 1 Felted Chicken 224x300 Felting Tip: Ironing Flat Wool FeltIroning Felt 2 Felted Chicken 224x300 Felting Tip: Ironing Flat Wool Felt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, it’s not a HUGE difference, but to the trained felter’s eye, I think you can see it.

 

 

Notes on Die Cutter Felt:

Here are a few quick notes that I’ve noticed while playing with my Silhouette Cameo for these couple days….

  • Dyed wool is too fluffy to cut cleanly on the machine. I think the process of wetting, cooking, and wringing out the usually thin wool, fluffs it up. I’ll have to buy some colored pre-dyed wool instead.
  • I need thicker iron-on interfacing. I think I have the thin stuff so it doesn’t adhere to the fluffy wool as well, then annoyingly comes off & sticks to my cutting mat.

 

 

And here is an in-process pict of the piece that I’m making. It will have yarn line detail & then be slightly 3D with some core wool & backing.

Sugar Skull Felted Chicken 232x300 Felting Tip: Ironing Flat Wool Felt

Unfinished Sugar Skull I have started using cut felt shapes from the die-cutter.

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