Felt Craft for Valentine’s Day

This little felt Valentine’s bee is so cute.  His body, legs, and antennae were all wet felted and the details were needle felted.  A thorough tutorial on this little bee would be quite extensive; so I prepared a shortened tutorial.  If you have any questions after perusing this simplified tutorial, please feel free to ask!  In total, the bee takes about 6 hours to complete.

felted bumblebee with heart

There are previous tutorials that walk you through many pieces of this bee.  They are as follows:

2  Wings(created the same way as these ears).
Heart
26 Beads
Ball

First take the wet felted ball and slightly needle felt it to create an oblong ball.  Then needle felt one end flat.  In the first image, take note of the paper template for the face and the straight pins that mark the stripes of the bumblebee.  I prefer to mark these important parts of the bumblebee before attaching any of the small felted pieces.  “Measure twice, felt once!”

The felted beads are strung together as follows:

4 tiny beads are strung together for each antennae. 3 small beads are strung together for the bottom four legs. The second picture demonstrates how to thread the beads so that the two ends remain on one side of the beaded string.  Thread the antennae and bottom four legs in this fashion.

3 small beads, one heart, and 3 small beads are strung together for the top legs/hands.The third picture demonstrates how to thread the top legs and heart.felted valentine bee tutorial

After the beads are strung, it is time to attach them to the bee.  The antennae are attached right above the paper template.  The legs are attached in the middle of each stripe(between the rows of straight pins).needle felted valentine bee

Now it’s time to add the stinger and wings.  Spread out the unfelted end of the stinger, place it on the body, and needle felt into place.  Be sure to remove any straight pins that are in the way.  Now do the same for the wings.felt Valentine's craft tutorial

Needle felt a bit of beige wool around the very edge of the paper template.  This will create an outline of the face.  Then needle felt more beige wool on the inside of this outline.how to felt a sweet bee

Adding the stripes to the bumblebee is very simple.  Simply needle felt a black line along the top of each row of straight pins.  Then needle felt the head with black wool.  Add more black wool to the second and fourth stripe and needle felt into place.  Then, add yellow wool to the first and third stripe and needle felt it.  At this point, the whole bumble bee is “colored” in.

Now size down needles(larger number) and needle felt the entire body once more; this will give a more finished look.  Be sure to tack down the antennae and legs with a super strength felting needle until they are positioned as desired(a size 32 works really well for this).  The final step is needle felting a sweet little face.
needle felting craft for Valentine's

Now the bumblebee is complete.  I’m sure you will have no problem convincing that special somebody to “bee mine” when offering this handmade gift for Valentine’s!!!  As always, good luck.  And Happy Valentine’s Day!!!Felt Bee Gift for Valentine's Day

how to wet felt beads

Wet Felted Beads Tutorial

I really, really, really wanted very small felt beads for a couple of my felted projects and I finally had the time to practice my wet felting skills.  About 30 or 40 attempts later and I’ve got a working method. As a result, today’s tutorial is wet felted beads!

The washing machine works great for larger wet felted balls but tiny beads under 1/2 in. don’t really work well using that method.  Needle felting doesn’t work well either, unless you want bandaids all over your fingers!  So, wet soapy, possibly dishpan hands are necessary to complete this task!

wet felting beads

Let’s Go . . .
First things first,  roll up some tufts of wool into loose balls.  Tie a knot in the wooly tuft, grab it by the knot, fold in half, and roll it up.  Then get another tuft, set the knotted rolled tuft on it, and roll that up.  When adding a new tuft turn the loose ball so that you are working it in multiple directions.  Keep adding tufts of wool until the loose ball is about twice the size of the wanted dimensions.  It takes some trials to figure out the right amount of wool to begin with!

Lightly needle felting the loose ball can help with the wet felting process; but it is completely optional.  I tried it both ways.  Needle felting it first avoids creating unwanted seams; but if you go slow and steady they shouldn’t happen anyways!

tutorial on wet felted beads

The small light green ball was needle felted first and the teal ball was not.

Once the loose balls are formed, prepare the necessary materials. . . a bowl of cold water with ice, a small dish of soap, and boiling water.  Set the icy water and dish soap on a towel because things are about to get wet!  Keep the boiling water on the stove.  Once it boils you can turn it off.  But when it starts to cool down, turn the stove back on for a bit.

Drop the wool ball into the boiling water, then submerse it with a spoon.  Remove the ball from the water and drop it on a towel for a couple of seconds.

tutorial on wet felted beads

Use HOT water not warm water.
The felting process is much faster with hot.

Get a small bit of soap on your fingertip, then place it in the palm of your hand.  Start working the ball between your palms.  Hold your left palm still and move the right palm in a circular pattern.  Do not apply pressure now or the wool ball will be squished!  Very slowly and carefully, continue to roll the ball between your palms.  Do this for about 2 to 3 minutes.

At this point, the ball should become a little more dense; now is the time to start applying pressure.  Lightly apply pressure at first and then increase the pressure.  You can go a little faster now that the ball is dense.  Eventually the wool bead will start to feel like a little rock in your hands.  The whole felting process takes about 4 to 5 minutes.  Now drop the felted bead into the icy water and submerse it with your fingertip.

wet felted beads

Your hands should get a little sudsy while felting.
If it’s so soapy that it is difficult to roll the ball smoothly, wipe your hands on a washcloth.

how to wet felt beads

Apply pressure when your bead resembles the 4th picture.
Or about 3 to 4 minutes into felting.

Set the soggy bead onto a towel to dry.  It will take up to 12 hours to completely dry.  The beads will harden up a bit after drying.  If they are completely dry and still not dense enough, just repeat the entire process again.  More than likely if that happens, you did not apply enough pressure in the final step!

how to make small felt beads

Test your wool to see if it is colorfast.
If not, do the beads in batches of similar colors.

These little beads can be strung together rather easily and you can even embroider embellishments on them.  My felted beads will become beady legs for a felted doll and a felted bumblebee.  Just remember getting that perfect felted bead will take a bit of practice!

how to wet felt small beads

Dyeing Wool Roving or Batting With Tea

I just started on a new felting project, a little girl with roundish pigtails.  I am going to be making a larger cloth version for my daughter’s birthday and decided a miniature one would be a good trial run.

Anyways, when I started to “color” in her face, I realized that I was using tea colored wool for her skin.  I thought that perhaps other felters could benefit from this.  I follow the same method that I use for dyeing wool with food coloring and substitute brewed tea for the food coloring.  It creates a very soft beige that is hard to produce with food colors.  I will have to find some time to research natural dyes and experiment a little.  But for now,  I will just be happy that I can make more beige with a little bit of tea whenever the mood for felted baby dolls hits me!  Give it a try.  I wonder if different kinds of tea produces different shades of beige?

natural wool dyes tea

needle felt toy rainbow

How to Felt a Rainbow

 

This needle felting tutorial is a very colorful one . . . a felted rainbow.  I designed this rainbow when coming up with different charms to hang from a mobile; however, you could hang it from just about anywhere!  I was a bit intimidated by the rainbow part of this rainbow, but it is actually easier than it looks!
needle felt rainbow

First, draw and cut out a rainbow template.  Place it on a tuft of spare wool(it will be covered later) and needle felt around the outside of the template.  This creates an outline on the tuft of wool.
how to felt a rainbow

Next fold the extra wool towards the center of the outline and needle felt into place.  Between the bottom of the arc, the wool needs to be carefully pulled apart before pulling it to the center.
how to felt a rainbow

Flip the felted piece over; then needle felt the back.  A clover pen speeds this part up a bit.  Then take a single felting needle and reinforce the edges.
rainbow tutorial

Switch to a smaller needle(larger number) and needle felt the entire rainbow, the front, back, and edges.  Continue felting until the shape is solid.
how to felt a rainbow

Here is my little “helper” handing me my paper template.  So cute . . .  Now on with the tutorial!
my little girl

Remember ROY G. BIV, for some reason I can’t forget.  Simple needle felt a line of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple onto the felted rainbow.  These will be our “coloring” lines.
how to make a felted rainbow

Next add a hanger, if you would like.  My hanger is a constructed from twisted embroidery thread.  Pull it up through the center of the arc, back down through the center, and tie it off on the bottom of the arc.
needle felting rainbow tutorial

Start coloring in your rainbow.  Make sure that your felting needle remains vertical, so that any wool pulled through to the opposite side is lined up with the rainbow design.  Carefully felt over the knotted embroidery thread; you don’t want to break a needle!
how to make felted rainbow

Flip it over, the opposite side has a hint of rainbow.  Simple follow this “hint” and needle felt the rest of the rainbow.  Keep the felting needle vertical so that the colors don’t become mixed on the finished side.
how to make a felt rainbow

Two small balls are used for the clouds.  Wrap the unfelted wool on one side of the rainbow around a ball and needle felt it.  Continue until the ball is secure.  Repeat with the other side.
how to make a felted rainbow

Next clean up the clouds a bit.  Add some white wool to the base of the rainbow and needle felt it into place.  Keep adding white until no color is peeking through.
how to felt a rainbow

Add some cute faces if you would like.  And the felted rainbow is complete.  This rainbow will take around 3-4 hours to create.  Be patient with the rainbow stripes and all will be well!  Good Luck.
needle felted rainbow