Saturday, January 17, 2009

Felting Stones: A Free Tutorial


Materials list:
stones
wool
yellow rubber gloves
dish soap
hot water

I needed a paperweight for the literature I bring to my windy outdoor craft shows and I knew you could wet-felt around objects, so when the husband and I went to Nauset beach on Cape Cod this past summer, I loaded up the tote with beach rocks! He loved hauling that back to the car, yep. The stones that ended up working the best were the round lentil shape, and the smaller they were, the easier it was to felt around them. Like, exponentially easier.


You'll need wool roving, which is combed and cleaned wool, Be sure to use the kind that is feltable, don't use roving that is labeled "superwash", you can needle felt that kind, but it won't wet-felt.

Pull off some strips of roving and wrap the wool around the stones first in one direction then the other, and then each way once again. You want to be sure there won't be any bald spots. The wool-wrapped stones will be a little awkward, there's nothing really holding the wool on there and it's all a bit slippery.




Mix some very hot water with some dish washing liquid, then don those attractive yellow rubber gloves, stand over the sink and cradle the stone in one hand while you drip hot soapy water over it with the other.

I will warn you, this gets a little icky, strands of the wet wool will try to cling to your gloves as you carefully turn the stone and coat all the sides with the soapy water, gently coax the stray strands back into place until the whole stone is covered with wet soapy wool.

Once it's completely wet, cradle the stone between both hands and gently start agitating the whole thing, don't use any big motions here, you'll tear a hole in the wool covering. Pat the wool and pass the stone from hand to hand, working up a nice lather. What should happen is the wool should start to tangle into a loose coat around the stone. If the coat seems to be holding together and there aren't any holes, you can start using more pressure as you rub the wool over the stone.


This is another awkward phase, the wool will be all loose and wrinkly, but if you add more hot water (and soap if needed) and keep agitating it, patting it and turning it around and around in your hands, the wool coat will start to tighten up and before you know it, the wool will be tight around the rock!

Rinse it well, squeeze out as much water as you can and place it in a sunny window to dry. When it is dry, I like to trim any fuzzies off the surface of the felted rock with a pair of sharp scissors.


When I put these on my table at shows, people pick them up and go "Whoa!" Because they look so soft and the weight of them is a surprise.

12 comments:

  1. It's something I've always wondered about and have never tried. Maybe I'll have to.

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  2. You explain this all so well. The felted stones are lovely. And they come from Cape Cod ! Makes them very special indeed.

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  3. What a great tutorial! I like that you explain what to expect during the difficult stages, but also how to get through the issues successfully. Thanks for sharing :)

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  4. Neat. Your yarn choice was perfect, too.

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  5. I think my back's still out from carrying those stones off the beach. But the payoff is definately worth it.

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  6. Hey! I've got one of those on my desk! :) I was just looking at it yesterday and thinking "I'm going to have to get her to teach me how to do that" and then I look, and you already have!

    :)

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  7. alamode, it's fun! What could it hurt just to try?

    Thanks mom! I tried Vineyard stones but they weren't round enough :)

    Thanks bee, it pleases me to hear thet :)

    Thanks Cicada!!

    Dell, I'll give you a back rub :)

    Kristin, you will be felting stones in no time! I've no doubt you can do anything creative you put your mind to, a natural talent!

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  8. Ah, thanks Liz!! :) We need to make a felting date, anyway!

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  9. Wow, that's pretty cool! I've seen felt rocks on etsy but never knew they were real rocks inside. :)

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  10. Elisa, Thanks! I think not all the ones on Etsy have a stone inside, I have looked at the descriptions carefully to be sure.

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  11. Thanks so much. I did this with kids today and can't believe how beautiful the stones are or how easy the whole process is! I want to dye some roving with Kool-aid but will the heat in the dyeing process pre-felt the wool and make it useless for wet felting? I love those lurid Kool-aid colors!

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  12. Hi Elizabeth!

    Thanks for your comment :)

    I don't know anything about dying wool, but I know wool is dyed and is still felt-able so there must be a way :) Good luck!

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