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Wet Felting with kids

Sometimes children’s crafts can feel redundant. Materials like poster paints, construction paper and glue sticks tend to lead to predictable results. For a kid-friendly project beyond the usual, try wet felting, which combines wool, water, soap and friction into a fun new material.

Instructions:

For your first project, start with felted balls.

  1. Put warm water in a bowl with several drops of everyday dishsoap. Pull apart a small amount of wool from the bunch and wrap thestrands into a ball. You can use a single color or mix severaldifferent colors together.
  2. Place the ball of wool roving into the bowl of water and beginworking it back and forth between your palms to create friction.For younger children, consider placing the wool roving inside apiece of panty hose and securing the top with a knot to make iteasier to maintain the shape of the wool in their small hands.
  3. Roll the piece of wool around in your hands for a minimum offive minutes. Periodically dip the ball back into the warm water ifit starts to feel dry. When you are satisfied with the consistencyof the wool, let the balls dry overnight.

Other project ideas:

Felted jewelry. Turn your felted balls into art
you can wear. Decide whether you want to make a felted bracelet or
necklace and cut the piece of string, cord or ribbon to the
appropriate length. Thread a child-safe needle with the string,
cord or ribbon and use the needle to pierce each ball onto the
string. When you have the desired amount of felt balls on your
string, tie the ends into a bow.

Felted acorns. Plan an autumn nature walk to
gather up some fallen acorns. Carefully remove the tops of each
acorn. Match up your acorn tops with similarly-sized felt balls.
Dab a bit of craft glue into the inside of each acorn top and
insert your felt ball into the top (or adults can use a hot glue
gun). Let each acorn dry overnight. Gather several felted acorns in
a bowl as a fall decoration or hang each acorn from a ribbon and
use them as ornaments or gift tags.

Felted bird eggs. Use the same basic steps to
create more challenging projects such as felted eggs to display in
a bird’s nest. Follow the basic felting instructions, with slight
modifications. When trying to create different shapes (other than a
simple ball or flat surface), use another item as the core to
maintain the shape. To make felted bird eggs, use plastic or
Styrofoam eggs. Wrap a piece of wool roving horizontally around the
egg shape. Wrap a second length of wool roving around the egg
vertically. Little hands will likely need some help with the
wrapping. Follow the basic wet felting instructions to turn the
wool roving into a continuous piece of felt around the egg shape.
Display your felted eggs in a bird’s nest as part of a seasonal
nature table.

For more wet felting project ideas, consult Complete Feltmaking: Easy Techniques and 25 GreatProjects by Gillian Harris.

Materials:

  • Wet felting
  • Natural wool roving (available from craft stores in a varietyof colors)
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Dish soap
  • A pair of panty hose (optional)
  • Other projects
  • Felted jewelry: a child-safe sewing needle, piece of string,ribbon or cord and scissors
  • Felted acorns: real acorn tops, craft glue (or a hot glue gunif you have one-for adult use only) and ribbon (optional)
  • Felted bird eggs: Styrofoam or plastic eggs
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