Felted Cards

Today I want to show you something I’ve been working on recently, a range of cards featuring wet felted pieces/pictures.

The first cards I made using this theme were some aimed at valentine’s day. Although me and Nathan don’t really celebrate valentine’s day I had been noticing a bit of a gap in the market on craft sites/etsy/facebook selling groups etc. for valentines day cards that were simple, classy and unusual. Everything I saw was either very, very mushy or cheeky/rude.

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The felt hearts were made out of a sheet of felt I made myself from shades of pink, purple and red wool. After I had wet felted the wool together I let it dry and then sewed over the felt with my sewing machine in red, pink and purple cotton thread. Lastly I added some stitching in a shiny bronze thread to add a bit of sparkle to the card. As I wrote in my Felted Moths post, I love the combination of handmade felt and machine stitches, it creates such lovely textures! Finally I cut out heart shapes from the felt and used a hot glue gun to attach them to off-white cards.

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Although these cards were aimed at valentine’s day to begin with, as there is no text on the outside or inside I think they could be suitable for Mother’s day, anniversaries, weddings, engagements or even birthdays if the recipient was particularly into hearts.

The next set of cards I made were these, sea themed ones. I used the same wet felting process, this time using a light blue colour for the sky, brown and yellow for sand and a combination of blues and greens for the sea. I added texture during the wet felting process by including curly white locks of wool to resemble sea foam and breaking waves. This time I did not add stitching as I felt there was enough texture already but I would like to experiment with machine stitching on a felt seascape at some point.

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Again these cards are simple, with no text on or inside them meaning they could be used for any occasion. I gave one of these to my dad for his birthday last week and he was pleased with it. I like the idea that these cards are completely unique and each one is like a small original artwork in itself. They could even be framed by the recipient, making them a card and a present in one!

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These cards so far have not been great sellers for me but I am still pretty happy with the way they look! I think they might go down better at craft fairs where it is good to have some lower priced items on your stall so that people who like your work but have a smaller budget can still afford to buy from you. The textures and colours of the felt are also much better in person than in photographs.

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I am considering a meadow themed series of cards next, maybe poppies in a field or daffodils, everyone likes flowers right? And it would feel so appropriate with spring just around the corner!

What would you like to see depicted in felt on a card?

If you are interested my cards can be purchased here: Heart cards and here: Seascape cards

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Felted Moths

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My boyfriend Nathan recently celebrated his 27th birthday and as he is a big fan of moths (slightly weird creature to be a fan of..?) I decided to create a giant felted moth for him. This is something I’ve been meaning to try making for Nathan for over a year now and I’m so glad I found the time to give it a try. Being completely creative and trying something new like this is so important when you sell your crafts too, It’s like a little creative holiday!

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Anyway, this moth was created with a combination of felting techniques. The wings were wet felted in shades of brown, cream, yellow, orange and red felt. I made a large sheet of the felt using the wet felting process and then cut wing shapes out and embellished them with sewing machine stitches. I love the look of sewing machine stitches on top of felt, the combination of materials and textures really stands out to me.

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The body of the moth was needle felted, I added long fur to the abdomen and head sections, adding long fur is a technique I have only recently learnt but am definitely now obsessed with!

The eyes are toy safety eyes that I glued in place and the moths antennae are feathers that I trimmed down and glued to the head. The moths legs are made from a special kind of pipe cleaner that has barbs so it’s very easy to attach wool to. I use these special pipe cleaners for my stag heads antlers and I hear they are great as an armature when beginning a needle felted animal/figure too.

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The smaller moth in these pictures was a bit of a test for the larger one and it is actually available to buy from my Etsy shop. I had so much fun making this moth I’m thinking of making more in various sizes and colours to sell but I have no idea if that is the kind of thing people might want to buy. Butterflies and dragon flies could be beautiful made out of felt too. Watch this space!

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Nathan loves moths and I don’t mind them but I know they freak a lot of people out, where do you stand on moths? Would you want a moth or butterfly felt sculpture in your home? I’d love to hear your opinions!

Easter holidays are finally here!

As I am lucky enough to work in education today is the start of two weeks off for me, to say I’m excited is an understatement! I have so many ideas of projects I’d like to do, places I’d like to go and people I’d like to see during these two weeks but the main way I want to use my time is to finish some work in progress projects that have been building up. I thought it might be nice to share some of the projects I’d like to get on with during my two weeks. I’m sure I will be more motivated to get them finished if I’ve told you all about them.

These little needle felted animal portraits are actually finished, but my aim for the Easter holidays is to find cute little vintage picture frames for them. I’m very excited to see them all framed up, I think they will look great! I made these little guys much in the same way as my needle felted animal ornaments, except these were needle felted onto small pieces of pre-felt and made flat rather than 3D. The fox is wearing a needle felted suit jacket but the badger’s shirt and tie are made from shop bought craft felt, it was loads of fun experimenting with making these animal portraits and I’m definitely going to make more!

In comparison to the needle felted animal portraits, this is a project which I have literally only just started. These fabric strips will be made into a patchwork baby blanket for my cousin’s baby, due in July. I have made a few baby blankets before but in the past have kept each blanket to just one colour scheme with different patterns, this time I wanted to try a more multi-colored theme with coordinating patterned fabric. This fabric was purchased at the Craft 4 Crafters fair we went to last month in Exeter, I really love the cute woodland theme, the mushroom print is my favourite! Unlike my other baby blankets which have been hand sewn, I will be machine sewing this quilt. I’m looking forward to getting to know my new sewing machine better and increasing my quilting skills. I adore making things for babies and can’t wait to make things for my own little ones sometime in the future.

This patchwork quilt is a project I have been working on for years, that’s not even an exaggeration .. it really has been years. I am using the english paper pieces method and hand sewing the whole thing which is part of the reason it has taken me so long, the other part is that I keep running out of money to buy more fabric. However I can finally say I am nearly finished with this quilt! I am sewing a border at the moment, using a pretty floral fabric in shades of ivory, pink and blue.

I hope to have finished the border in the next week or so and can then move onto picking backing fabric and wadding, exciting! I have learnt a lot whilst making this quilt so I will definitely write a big post about it when it is finally finished. That will be a good day.

The final project I’d like to share with you today is this apron that I finished sewing this week. A couple of years ago I made aprons as Christmas gifts for lots of people and it was so successful I have decided to make a few for my Etsy shop too. This is the first one I’ve made, I love the combination of subtle heather grey fabric with the bold psychedelic paisley deer print. Although this apron is finished I need to iron and photograph it properly and then list it on Etsy. Hopefully I can get that done during my time off and maybe even make some more aprons. My mind is full of fun fabric and print combinations I’m dying to try!

I’d love to know what you all have planned for Easter? As well as these crafty goals I am hoping to spend lots of time with friends and family and of course, eat my weight in chocolate eggs!

My first Etsy custom order…

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Sorry it’s been a little quiet around here for a week or so, I’ve been pretty busy with work, quality time with friends and family and lots of making things. I must work harder on making time for blog posts!

Something pretty exciting happened the other day, I received my first ever custom order on Etsy! A lovely lady called Pamela told me she loved the seascape design felt fronted cushion I had on my site, but wanted 2 larger versions. I was more than happy to have a go at making these for her and just this morning I got them finished! You can have a look at my original seascape felt cushion in this post.

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Making two matching pieces of felt was tricky, it meant carefully measuring out pieces of each colour used so as not to include too much of one and make them look too different from each other. I had also not worked on a sheet of felt this large before, Pamela wanted her finished cushions to be 45cm squares which meant starting the wet felting process with squares of over 60cm. If I am going to continue to create felt pieces of this size I will have to find myself a new work space as none of my surfaces were big enough to roll the large felt sheets comfortably. Attempting to work out how large to start the felt sheet to allow for shrinkage during the wet felting process was another challenge that thankfully turned out ok.

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Despite these challenges making this custom order was a brilliant experience for me and one I hope to have the chance to repeat regularly. Being paid to create has always been a dream of mine and this week I got to live that dream a little bit, it felt great!

I am still new to Etsy and the world of selling handmade items but I am really enjoying learning as I go along and this custom order has definitely boosted my confidence. If you have any advice/words of wisdom/amusing anecdotes about selling your handmade items I’d love to hear them!

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Needle Felted Succulent DIY

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Just a quick post today to show you how I made this cute little needle felted succulent. This little guy is also available to buy from my Etsy site. Take a look at our Etsy shop here. I plan to try making a few other types of needle felted houseplants, more succulent varieties and some cactus would definitely be fun!

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For this project I used some wool roving I was given by a friend, it is coarser than the corriedale or merino tops that I usually use so it felted really quickly but it was a funny mix of blue-ish greens so all the leaves came out a slightly different colour!

Anyway, here’s how to do it:

Start by rolling some wool roving into a rough ball-like shape. The amount of wool you use will decide the ultimate size of your leaf, you will get the hang of using the right amount of wool for your desired size after some practice.

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Start to stab your wool with your needle felting needle repeatedly, turning the wool over regularly so that it mats together evenly. Once the wool has started to mat together, begin to focus on a top and a bottom side, creating a flatter shape.

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Create a pointed leaf shape by focusing your stabbing on the two top edges. Don’t forget to work the top and bottom evenly, as well as working on all edges from time to time to create a smooth, neat, well constructed leaf shape. When you are happy with your leaf, move onto another one! You will need to make leaves of all different sizes to create your succulent.

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When you have made enough leaves (I made about 20) it is time to build your succulent. Sorry there are no photos of this stage, I got carried away and completely forgot to document this part. I’m also not sure that I built my succulent and attached it to the pot  in the most sensible way, you may well have a better idea than me of how to do it, but here’s what I did:

I turned a small amount of wool into a rough, flat base and beginning with my four biggest leaves, positioned them on top and attached them by stabbing them a few times. I repeated this step with each of my next leaves, working in fours and decreasing in size as I went along, attaching them at first to my wool base, and then also to the other leaves underneath. I added a small ball of wool roving to the middle of the succulent so that I had something to attach the smallest top leaves to.

When my succulent was attached together I put some toy filling in the small plant pot I was using (I used a metal one but a tiny terracotta pot would look cute too) and then covered it with some green craft felt, glueing the edges into the pot with super glue. This looked a little like a green cushion inside my pot. I then positioned my succulent on top of the felt with some super glue in the middle and stabbed the lowest leaves into the craft felt with my needle a few times to secure it into the pot and it was done!

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Phew! That was a tricky one to describe, I hope it made some sense? Like I said, I’m sure you can figure out a much simpler way to attach the felted succulent to the tiny plant pot. My way was complete guesswork and hard to describe but I’m pleased to say my little succulent is firmly attached to his new silver pot home.

It was so much fun to combine two of my favourite things – felting and succulents! What do you think of my little needle felt creation? Would you give it a go? I’d love to see pictures if you do.

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Handmade Felt-Fronted Cushion

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As promised here is a quick explanation of how I made this felt fronted cushion cover, with handmade felt. This cushion ended up as a gift for my Dad’s birthday, but I have since started making more to sell on my Etsy shop, I may even keep a couple for myself too!

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My first step was to make a sheet of felt by hand, using the wet felting process. You can take a look at a tutorial I wrote on wet felting if you are not familiar with the process here. Or try this method which involves adding to a material called pre-felt here.

When making this piece of felt I tried putting smaller blue and green pieces in between layers of the sky blue coloured wool roving, hoping that they would show through in a subtle but pretty way. Unfortunately, as with many crafting experiments this did not work out, my top layer of blue must have been too thick as you couldn’t see the dark blue or green at all and I was left with plain blue felt. To jazz up my blue felt a bit I added wisps of blue and green later, using a needle felting technique. As with all crafts it takes time to learn how felting works, each time I have a go I pick up new knowledge so it’s never really a failure!

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Once my sheet of felt was made, rinsed and dried I measured the cushion I wanted to cover and cut two pieces of cotton fabric to be the back of the cushion cover. I went for a envelope style cushion cover, meaning the back was made up of two pieces of fabric which overlap so that the cover can be removed and washed if needs be.

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I hemmed the edges of the two pieces of cotton that would be visible, then pinned the cotton pieces to the felt piece, front sides facing. I was careful to make sure that I was pinning in a neat square, measuring as I went along to ensure my cushion cover came out square and professional looking.

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The last step was to sew the pieces together in a square shape, following the pins carefully and then trim off the excess felt. When turned the right way round I had a cushion cover with a felted front and a plain cotton envelope style back.

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I really like the contrast in textures between the felt and the cotton, the felt gives the cushion a warm cosy feel, whilst the plain cotton backing keeps the cushion looking modern and smart. If you don’t fancy making your own felt you can of course use this method of making an envelope cushion cover with any fabrics you want.

I have just finished another felt piece inspired by ocean colours, and am hoping to turn it into a cushion tomorrow. After that I plan to try making some in subtle, earthy colours like cream, grey and brown. These are not colours I usually go for when decorating my home but using an old, traditional technique to make fabric by hand from natural sheep’s wool has me all inspired to look to nature for my colour palette too.

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Well thanks for reading about my felted cushion covers. If you make your own felt, using any technique at all, I’d love to hear what you use it for in your home!

 

 

 

Thoughts on a Needle Felting Course

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Hi! Todays post is not going to be a ‘how to’ like most of my others, I just want to talk to you about a course I went on recently where I learnt to needle felt. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know that I have been trying out a few different felting techniques recently, the one I hadn’t tried yet was needle felting so me and my mum signed up for a course in needle felting penguins one saturday just before christmas.

I’ve got to say, I was a bit sceptical about craft courses to begin with. My process when it comes to learning a new craft is to do a little internet research/talk to friends and then just give it a go! This process can be really rewarding and is definitely cheaper than paying for a course. However I was very keen to learn needle felting and I thought that giving a course a go would be really interesting. I also thought that it might be nice to bring up the subject of craft courses with all of you here on the blog.

The course turned out to be brilliant, it was held at the Spinning Weal in Clevedon near Bristol and the lady teaching us was a talented needle felter and a great tutor. The course was five hours long and we came away with our needle felted penguin, all the materials needed to make more and a brand new skill. I was nervous about spending five hours doing one craft as I usually like to move onto something else after an hour or two to avoid boredom but in the end it did not feel like five hours at all.

Having a talented crafter teaching us a new skill was great but the other part of the course that I enjoyed was speaking to the other four ladies there about why they wanted to learn this and what other things they like to make. There was an interesting range of experience with craft in the room and although I was the youngest person there I definitely did not feel out of place at all. The other benefit of learning in a small group was sharing triumphs and mistakes as we went along, when I could not get my penguins beak to look anything like a beak the other people there were supportive and offered help and we all had a laugh at his silly huge beak! Learning alongside others really helped me avoid the “Oh f***k it I give up!” moment too which is a real bonus.

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Watching everybody’s penguins take shape turned out to be very interesting, they all turned out beautifully different. Comparing them at the end you could really see that perhaps one person was great at shaping whereas another person seemed to have got the colours spot on etc. My penguin is certainly not perfect but I am pretty proud of him and after the course I managed to make a few christmas tree decorations too. I plan to continue with needle felting, it is the kind of craft you can do on your lap while watching trashy TV which is my favourite kind of craft to be honest and with some practice a small penguin should soon take less than five hours to make! Like other felting techniques you don’t need much equipment and the felt itself can be found cheaply from craft stores and online.

I will be doing a blog post about how to needle felt animals very soon but until then I just wanted to share with you how I have been converted when it comes to courses in craft. If you live nearby here is a link to the Spinning Weals website and all their courses http://www.spinningweal.co.uk/courses/

if you don’t live nearby then I highly recommend giving a course in a new craft a go, I think you will be surprised how much you get out of it! What are your feelings on craft courses? How about craft groups? I have always wondered if meeting as a group to craft together would be worthwhile? I’d love to know your thoughts!

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Felting – Method 2

In an earlier post I showed you my first attempt at felting, with a method that involved using pre-felt as a backing material and then building up strands of felt fibre on top. Today I thought I’d show you another method which does not use pre-felt at all, meaning you need even less equipment/materials.

Once again I was taught this method by my mum, you can see pictures of both of our creations in this post. Again, this may not be the most technical of instructions but it should give you a rough idea!

To start lay out a towel and some bubblewrap, choose a base colour (this will become the back of your finished piece) pull wispy strands of felt fibre and begin to layer them on the bubblewrap. With this method it is important that your layers of fibres are lying in the same direction.

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Once you have a thick covering of fibres which you cannot see through build another layer of fibres going in the other direction – this is hard to explain, please see the images! Then sprinkle warm water and a little washing up liquid over your felt fibres and cover with a thin sheet of clear plastic or half a plastic carrier bag.

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Add some more water and washing up liquid on top of the plastic and rub your hands all over the felt, it should begin to mesh together. Once your fibres have flattened and look like they are becoming one piece rather than separate fibres, remove your plastic and begin laying more felt fibres on top. This layer will be the front of your piece so you may want to try and incorporate a design into it, I chose autumnal colours because I was in an autumnal kind of mood!

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Once you are happy with your design and have created a nice thick layer of fibres add more water and washing up liquid, cover with your plastic, get the plastic wet and soapy and start to rub over the felt once again.

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Once you can see that the fibres have really started to mesh together it is time to wrap up the felt, bubblewrap and plastic into your towel in a sausage shape and begin rolling the whole thing backwards and forwards on the table. You will need to turn your piece every 5 minutes or so to make sure you have worked at it from each of the four sides/angles. You may need to unwrap the towel and rearrange the felt and plastic in order to straighten out wrinkles which form and to work out which sides need working on.

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Remember that your design will always shrink with wet felting and may change shape slightly, it is not an exact science and it is hard to create something which comes out perfectly square or a pattern which is perfectly formed. I think that is part of the beauty of felting, what you end up with will be a kind of mix of all the layers/colours you put in but perhaps not in the way you expected it!

You can stop rolling when on inspection the fibres are all meshed together nicely and are now one sturdy piece of fabric, if you pull at the fibres slightly they should not come away easily. The last step is just to rinse your felt thoroughly, including one rinse with some vinegar in the water to make sure the soap is all washed out.

Here are our finished pieces! They don’t look like much but I have a plan to make some Christmas presents out of my little autumnal coloured piece. I will post about that soon I promise!

We’re going to a needle felting course next, I’m excited to make some 3D felt objects and see how the process differs from these wet felting methods!

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Felting – Method 1

Recently my mum went to a course on felting at a local craft shop called The Spinning Weal, here’s their website if you’re interested: http://www.spinningweal.co.uk/

After the course we decided it might be fun for her to teach me what she had learnt, it was fun and so I am going to share our experience with you too, there are a few different methods so I have decided to do them in different posts so as not to confuse anyone.

The best thing about felting in my opinion is that you don’t need any specialist equipment, all you need to go out and buy is some felting fibre – and then as long as you have some washing up liquid and some bubble wrap lying about you’re ready to go!

A quick disclaimer – I am not an experienced feltmaker! The following is a guide to how we made our felt pieces, it’s probably not the technically correct way to go about it but it worked for us. If you want to have a go, I’d suggest a quick internet search which will take you to loads of brilliant sites with much better instructions, hopefully though, this post might inspire you to give a new craft a go!

First we lay out towels on the table with sheets of bubble wrap on top of them, why the towels and bubble wrap? All will become clear!

Next we took a sheet of pre-felt and cut it to the desired size. Pre-felt is used as a backing for this felting technique, other techniques don’t use this backing so it is not always necessary. Bear in mind the size you cut your pre-felt to will not be the size of your finished piece – it will shrink!

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Then we chose our fibres, I went for sea colours because I just can’t resist them! Fibres come in long thick strands which you separate by pulling on the end. When pulling pieces off you are looking for thin, wispy, fluffy pieces of fibre which you can then layer up to create your design.

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We layered our chosen coloured fibres up to create a design, with felt making you can create pictures or patterns or whatever you like but with this method you cannot do crisp or clear lines, think impressionism!

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Once the felt fibres were built up and layered up to the point where we couldn’t really see any gaps it was time to put some water and a little washing up liquid on our pictures. We used a sponge to drip warm water all over the felt.

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Next we covered our pieces with some clear plastic (half of a carrier bag will do) added some more water and washing up liquid on top of the plastic and began rubbing our hands all over the pieces. The washing up liquid and water help your hands to glide easily across the plastic. It is this rubbing motion and the heat from your hands which will cause the fibres to mesh together and become one strong piece of fabric.

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It is quite tricky to describe how you know when to stop rubbing your felt! As I said before this is a rough guide to how we did it but I’m sure you can find more extensive instructions elsewhere if needs be. We probably rubbed our pieces for about 10 minutes, adding more water/washing up liquid if our hands stopped gliding so easily and also added more water underneath the plastic if areas of the felt looked too dry. The piece will flatten and you should be able to see the fibres start to mesh together, at this stage move onto the rolling.

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To roll the felt we wrapped it up in between the bubble wrap and the sheet of clear plastic into a sausage shape, we then wrapped the towel around it and began rolling it back and forth, applying pressure so that heat and friction could do their magic to the felt. Water and soap will probably come out of the roll as you knead it back and forth but that is ok. You will want to turn your project every now and then so that each side is equally worked on. The felt will noticeably shrink during this process. It is done when you have spent a good 5 minutes on each side and when the fibres don’t come apart or come off when you pull at them.

The last stage was to rinse all the soap out of the felt, we gave it a quick rinse in some vinegar too to neutralise the soap which can rot if left in the felt. Here are our finished pieces! They may not be beautiful masterpieces but for first attempts I don’t think they are bad. One brilliant thing about felt making is that even if your piece is not a frame-worthy work of art you can add to it by sewing beads or sequins onto it and cut it up into smaller pieces to use for card making.

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With a bit of practise I think anyone could create something really beautiful with this cheap and easy technique, why not try making someone a framed felt picture as a gift?