How to make Felted Balls

I’ve gotten pretty hooked on making felted balls and I promised a how to post soon. I gave my sister a tutorial a few weeks ago and in no time she had a great looking blue and green necklace.  I’ll warn you up front,  these are not for the dainty – dishpan hands are an inevitability.  But, they look great strung together in necklaces and earrings and I’m already planning to use them for my Christmas decorating.  So, grab your supplies, roll up your sleeves, and get felting.  Here’s how to do it:

The supplies:  100% wool roving (it takes about one ounce to make a necklace) and one bowl of hot soapy water – add as much dish soap as you would for washing dishes.  The water temperature should be as hot as you can handle it.  You’ll also want to keep a dish towel close by to dry your hands between balls.

Step One:  pull apart a small portion of the roving.  It’s important to pull the roving and not use scissors.  It’s easier to start with a small piece than a large one, since you can always add more roving later.

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Next,  use your fingers to fluff the roving by pulling the fibers apart.  Then, roll the fluff into a ball and you’re ready to start felting.

Dunk the ball into the hot soapy water and start working the fibers.  The best description I’ve heard of the this part is to pretend that you’re petting a baby chick.  Very lightly rub the fibers in a circular pattern until they begin felting. Apply light pressure at first, and when the ball starts felting you can apply more pressure.

The whole process will take several minutes, so be patient. Re-dunk the ball into soapy water as needed during the process. Be sure to keep even pressure while you’re felting so you don’t end up with an oval. When the ball starts getting hard, you can squish out the extra water to check how hard the ball has gotten.

Depending on how the ball felts, you’ll probably end up with a few wrinkles.  No worries, you can always add a little fiber to smooth out any bumps you may have.

Tear off a little extra piece of fiber and wrap it around the ball evenly.  This layer will smooth out the surface and can fix any shape problems you may have.  Dunk the ball again and repeat the felting process with the outside layer being very careful to keep the ball round.  (It goes a lot faster this time around).

And then, before you know it… Ta da!  You’re first felted ball.  Let you’re creative juices run wild.  All you have to do is dunk, felt and repeat about 20 more times and you’ve got the makings for a necklace.  Just use a sharp needle threaded with beading wire to string them together.

Good luck and Happy Felting!

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