Temperatures are below freezing, the days are still short, we can’t go out anywhere, the shops are shut… but hey, the heating’s on, there’s food in the cupboard, my dog is there for constant cuddles and we have crafts for company. That’ll do me for now.
In an effort to bring some colour into our lives I am stuck on pretty pastels and all things spring at the moment and it doesn’t get more pastel or spring like than this gorgeous Easter garland. It is also a great way to use up any scraps of wool you have in your felt box and, if you have needle felted before, there are always plenty of scraps in your felt box.
So here I am with a little golden nugget of a needle felting tip for almost perfectly firm and round needle felted balls; use a wooden BBQ stick. I have been using one for ages to create even, smooth shapes and discovered – after trying many other techniques – that using said stick is by far the fastest and easiest way to make perfectly shaped felted balls, in just 3 to 4 minutes! Who knew?
This gorgeous garland is so easy to make and, teamed with the needle felted bumble bees (also a breeze to make), you have yourself a beautiful piece of spring décor to brighten even the most dullest of days. The bees also make a great brooch, or pin.
Click HERE for bumble bee tutorial.
TIME TO MAKE
Felt ball: 3 minutes
Bumble Bee: 20 minutes
Felt Ball Garland: 50 minutes (14 balls)
With 3 bumble bees: 2 hours
YOU WILL NEED
1 Small length of wool top or carded wool; mine are approximately 1g (20cm long) but you can make them bigger. Just make sure they weigh approximately the same so your felt balls are all a similar size; unless you prefer odd shaped balls…
2 Felting needle; a size 38 or 36 is best as they are sturdy and less likely to break on the stick
3 Soft felting surface; foam mat, rice filled hessian bag or a piece of flat felt
4 Sewing needle and strong thread to create your garland
Let’s get going!
SCROLL TO THE END IF YOU LOVE A VIDEO TUTORIAL!
1 Select your first piece of wool.
2 Twizzle the end of the wool in your fingers to slightly matt it.
3 Wrap the end firmly around your wooden skewer
4 Continue to wrap the wool around the stick (no need to use your needle yet) and use your thumb and finger to stop it from moving down the stick and becoming too long.
5 Continue until all the wool is wrapped around the stick. TOP TIP: It should be firmly wrapped but also springy to the touch. If it is too firm it will be harder to shape.
6 Start to shape by poking your needle gently into the ends of the wool – avoiding the stick – at a diagonal angle so the needle doesn’t bend. TOP TIP: Keep moving the stick around with your free hand so the shape is even and there are no flattened areas.
7 Repeat for the other end and continue to shape the entire ball until it is quite firm. It won’t be perfectly round yet but that doesn’t matter.
8 Slide off the pointy end of the stick.
9 Continue to firm and shape with your needle. This will also close the hole created by the wooden stick.
10 Finally, roll the ball firmly in your cupped hands (for a few seconds) to create an even round shape and smooth finish.
Once you have enough for your garland string them together with strong cotton. If you are adding bumble bees make sure you push the needle and cotton through the upper part of the bee as they are top heavy and will be upside down when you hang it. Also, it took me longer than I care to admit to work that out. 😳
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