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A Quick Fall Themed Tutorial - Needle Felted Acorns


Hey guys! I sent a poll to my Art Letters mailing list asking what types of tutorials I should make.  Needle felting acorns was mentioned in the comments, so I jumped right in to making a quick video for you! 


You can do this with any size acorn, but the cap can't be too shallow, otherwise the wool won't stay in.  The acorn cap needs to resemble a deeper bowl. Let me know if you have any questions.

PS: If you have a suggestion for a tutorial or course--if there's something you'd really like to learn how to felt--leave a comment and tell me about it!

Cupcake Toppers DIY

I've had this idea for a cute DIY for a long time now, and I'm glad that I've finally had time to create it!  These needle felted toppers are super easy, and it's a really fun way to jazz up some cupcakes.

You'll need these supplies:
--wool in your chosen color(s)
--felting needle(s)
--felting foam
--floral stem wire (I used 18 guage)
--wire cutters.



Ball up your wool to the approximate size that you'd like your balloon topper to be.  Hold the ends of the wool fibers together--these will be the bottom "knot" of the balloon.   Start felting the top into a rounded shape.




Once the rounded part of the balloon is to the desired firmness, start guiding the loose end fibers toward a point.  Keep felting and tightening the fibers, but leave the very ends loose.



When you have a good balloon shape, it's time to make the "knot".  Gather the loose ends with your needle and felt them into the center of the "knot."  You'll end up making a ring around the base of the balloon.  If you need to, you can felt around the top of the ring to make the "knot" a little more defined.







If there is not one already, make and indention in the middle of the ring.  This is where you'll insert the floral stem wire.



To insert the wire, hold the balloon firmly and twist the balloon back and forth while pushing in the wire.  Make sure you don't push the wire all the way through the balloon.  If you keep your fingers at the top of the balloon while you're doing this, you'll be able to feel the wire when it's close to the edge.




 Now it's time to make your wire look like a string.  Carefully bend it without making any angles.  I used my thumb and forefinger to hold the wire and pushed my thumb into the wire to slightly bend it. 


Now you can make as many as you need.  The balloons will slide off the wire, so be sure to handle them by their "strings" only.  You could add a dab of super glue or hot glue to the wire at the base of the balloon to make them a bit more secure.  Just keep in mind that gluing fibers is tricky. 




Let me know if you try this out! I'd love to see photos!!



   



How to Repair a Sweater - DIY
Did you know needle felting can be functional as well as decorative?  Today I'll show you how to repair a small hole or tear in a sweater.  You'll need your choice color of wool roving, felting needles, felting foam, and your poor sweater.



Here's my poor sweater: 

I put a bright piece of felt under the tear so you could see what I needed to repair.

You can do any shape/design.  I chose to do a heart.  Before I placed the foam under the tear, I wanted to mark where the points of the heart should be in relation to the rest of the sweater--I didn't want it to be crooked.  I used a chalk pencil.

Place your foam inside your sweater.

Start felting the wool into your sweater around the tear.

Fill in the tear with the wool and form your shape.

Fill in the shape, and try to keep a uniform surface in the wool.  You don't want one part of the shape to be more raised than the rest or even lumpy.

The tear is fixed!

This is what it looks like on the inside.  It's really fuzzy!

I added a smaller heart for aesthetics. 

After you're done needle felting, you'll want to iron your design--without steam.  Iron from the inside of the sweater...

 ...and then iron the outside.

Yay!




You'll want to be mindful of your sweater care after you add the wool shape/design.  Don't throw it in the dryer, because the wool will likely shrink and get all wonky, and wash in cold water only.

Of course, you don't have to just cover a tear....go crazy with your designs! Needle felt all the sweaters!!

Felted Ball Garland Tutorial
Last year, I shared this DIY on Heather's blog. It's been a while, so I thought I'd give it another round here on my blog. Enjoy!




You'll need:
Wool roving or batts
Felting Needle(s)
Foam
Large sewing needle
Embroidery Floss
Scissors

I'm a sucker for rainbows, and I'm longing for some Spring-y colors, so I chose lots of bright wool for my garland.


Decide how big you want to make the balls.  Keep in mind that you they can't be any wider than your sewing needle, otherwise you'll lose your needle in the ball as you thread them up. :)  Compact the wool in your hand to determine how much of the roving you'll need for the size balls you want. 

 You can go ahead and divide all of your wool into this amount if you want.  It certainly does not have to be exact.








Time to felt! Grab your felting needle and foam.



Keep your ball compacted, and carefully begin to shape it with your felting needle.  (If you've never needle felted before, here are some tips:  Always felt on top of some kind of foam. The needle will go through your wool, poking into the foam as you felt. Never look away and always be mindful of where your fingers are. These needles are sharp and barbed, folks. It hurts when you miss...)



 As you poke, the barbs are compacting the wool fibers.  So, turn the ball as you poke, making sure to cover the entire surface.  The more you felt, the smoother and less lumpy your balls will be. 

Voilà! Just a *few* more to go.


After you've felted to your heart's content, now decide what order you want to string up your balls.  To go with my rainbow wool, I thought it would be only fitting to use some rainbow embroidery floss.




The wool provides enough friction on the embroidery floss, so you shouldn't have to secure each ball in place. 

To finish off your garland, you can tie small loops at each end or leave the floss a little longer to wrap it around a nail, depending on where you will it. 

Hang it up and enjoy your wooly decor!


Let me know if you try this--I'd love to see pictures! You can share them on my facebook page. :)

Felt Heart Tutorial
Hi friends!  If you're a novice needle felter, I've got a fun tutorial for you today!  And it's just in time for you to use it for Valentine's Day!

Let's make some Easy Peasy Felt Hearts!




You'll need some carded wool or wool roving in your chosen color(s), felting needles, and foam to protect your work surface.



The amount of wool you choose will determine the size of your heart.  I tear off a chunk and ball it up to get an idea of the size of the heart that it will make. 


Start with your wool fibers laying somewhat flat.



Fold over one side to make a straight edge.  Do the same to the other side.  Your goal here is to make pretty edges and a point for your heart.





Needle felt the edges that you folded over into the heart.  Make sure the fibers are firmly secured.  The more you poke, the tighter the fibers will become.  Now you should have some pretty edges and a point.



Now we need to make the rounded top of the heart.  Fold over the top to make pretty rounded corners.



Felt it down, and you'll end up with a funny looking triangle.



The last step is to make the little heart humps.  Using the needle, felt the valley of the top of the heart by poking in the same spot in the middle repeatedly.  The more you poke, the deeper the valley.



Give your heart a final once over with your needle, smoothing out any lumps or imperfections.



These are so pretty strung up as a garland, scattered over a table with some flowers, or sitting in a pretty bowl.  Have fun with these, and let me know what you do with yours!!
My needle felted owl
Here is a step-by-step example of how chunks of wool turn into something super cute. (Some steps are bigger than others.) I shared this picture a while back on my facebook page, but now I get to describe what you are seeing.
Step 1: Here you can see my different tools (described here) and the chunks of wool roving that I have gathered for the project. There is a large portion of core wool, some light brown for the beak and feet, white and black for the eyes, and teal for the body of the owl.

Steps 2-6: In these steps I create the base shape for the owl with the core wool and the 6-needle tool. Here I gather and shape the wool with my hands before I begin stabbing it. I roll, gather, stab, roll, gather, stab until all the wool is felted into the base shape.

Steps 7-9: Now it's time to cover the base with the actual color for the owl. This part can be tricky, because we don't want any bald spots. The more you stab the wool, the tighter the fibers become, which means they can eventually pull apart to reveal bald spots. Our little owl doesn't want that...

Step 10: After the body color is attached, I add another chunk of the same color for the owl's ear tufts. (The educator in me would like to speak up and say the feathers on some owl's heads are called ear tufts but are not actually ears. Owls' ears are located underneath feathers not too far from their eyes, much like where ours are positioned. They are also lopsided--one ear is higher than the other--which gives owl's impeccable hearing.) Thanks for indulging me.

Steps 11-12: It's time for the eyes! I like to have nice, clean lines in my felted designs, so sometimes even basic circles can be very time consuming. I use one needle for this and carefully poke and gather the white (then black) fibers to create evenly shaped circles. (The educator is now refraining from describing real owl eyes...)

Steps 13-14: Here I use the light brown for a cute little owl beak. Again, I use one needle to carefully sculpt a cute, little beak shape. (Did you know owls can't smell...?) Sorry, couldn't help it.

Step 15: Of course he needs little feet. Three toes in front and one in back. (Owl feet are extremely strong and they have super sharp talons on each toe to help catch their prey.)  I'm no longer keeping the educator at bay, by the way.

Step 16: All done! Now he's ready to sit on a bookshelf or desk so he can watch over you and make you smile.