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

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

Felted Smiling sun for nursery decoration

Happy Sun Needle Felting Tutorial

Last week, I needle felted my first baby mobile charm and this week I wanted to share a felting tutorial on my second mobile charm:  A Happy Sun!    Simply put,  mobile charms  are small toys attached to a baby mobile.  I always switched up the toys on my children’s mobiles and I decided to make a few of the felted variety.   I just love handmade additions to a nursery.

felt sun for baby mobile

This sun is a basic design made from a wet felted ball and a grip of needle felted triangles.  It is a pretty easy project, but the triangles are a bit tricky to get just right! Here it goes . . .

You need: Wool roving/batting, felting needles, felting pad/brush, and embroidery thread.

A wet felted ball is used for the base of this sun toy.  Follow my tutorial on wet felted balls and then move on to the triangles!

Needle felted triangles will represent the rays of the sun.  A triangle template will help ensure that all of the triangles are roughly the same size.  Just cut a triangle out of a piece of paper; use the wet felted ball to estimate the appropriate size of the triangle/ray.

I like to place a piece of paper between my wool and felting brush; it creates a smoother finish. Place the template on a tuft of wool.  Then needle felt around the edges to create an outline of a triangle.

felting tutorial on a toy sun

Take the extra wool from a side of the triangle, fold it to the center, and needle felt it down.  Do this on one more side.  Do not felt the third side of the triangle; the unfinished side will be used to attach the triangle to the ball.

how to make a needle felted sun

Now, needle felt the 2 edges of the triangle.  Then needle felt the top of the triangle.  Flip it over and needle felt the opposite side.  Size down a needle and needle felt the entire triangle once more.  Compare the completed triangle to the template as you go, making sure that you do not change the overall shape and size too much as you felt.

how to make a felted sun

Take the wet felted ball and a piece of paper.  Draw a circle around the ball.

how to needle felt nursery decorations

As the triangles are created, lay them out along this circle.  Keep making triangles until the entire circle is outlined with them.

tutorial on felted nursery decorations

If you would like, now is time to attach the hanger to the felted ball.  Follow my tutorial on this, if you need a little help!  The tutorial will give similar results to the hanger on the sun; the only difference here is that I am using twisted embroidery thread to create the hanger!

Next pin the triangles to get an idea of where they should be placed.  I made three sets of three colors and decided to felt them into place in a pattern.  First I placed the three bright yellow triangles equally around the ball and needle felted them in place.  Then I did this with the orange and finally the golden yellow.

tutorial on needle felting a miniature toy sun

Next, needle felt the main color onto the ball.  Felt the front and back side of the sun making sure that the core color does not peek through.  A good light is necessary during this stage!  Use a smaller size felting needle(a larger number) and felt it again; this will help smooth out any lumps and bumps.

needle felted sun

The final step is needle felting a sweet little face.  Again, I have an easy tutorial for this if you need a bit of explanation!

Felted Smiling sun for nursery decoration

The smiling  sun charm is now complete.  This toy sun is sure to brighten any child’s nursery!  I’m excited to get started on more baby mobile charms; they are such fun and adorable too.  Good Luck!

Tutorial on Needle Felted Gingerbread Man

This is a great tutorial for beginner needle felters and the end product, an adorable gingerbread man, would look so sweet on a sparkling tree!  This felted gingerbread man was so quick and fun to make;  he will take about 2 hours to complete.  The great thing about this project is that  imagination can run wild and every gingerbread man or woman can be unique.

needle felted christmas ornament


Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter
Felting Foam/Brush
Felting Needles
Wool Roving/Batting
Embroidery Thread and Needle
Ribbon and Yarn Needle

Ready, Set, Go!

First, set a paper on top of your working surface(the felting foam or brush).  And place the cookie cutter on top.  Then pull off pieces of wool and lay inside of the cookie cutter.  Pay close attention to the corners.  Keep adding wool until it fills the entire cookie cutter to the brim!

how to felt a gingerbread man decoration

Needle felt, with a large needle, inside the cookie cutter until the wool is laying flat.  Then peel the gingerbread man off and flip him over.

using a cookie cutter to needle felt Christmas Ornaments

Place the felted gingerbread man inside the cookie cutter and needle felt the other side.  Use a single felting needle for the very edges; be careful not to break the fragile felting needle on the metal edges.  Go slowly!

using cookie cutters as felted ornament templates

Using a smaller needle, a larger number, needle felt the gingerbread man again.  Flip him over as before and needle felt the opposite side.

How to needle felt using cookie cutters as patterns

Size down felting needles again, an even larger number, and needle felt the front and back of the felted gingerbread man.

The gingerbread man should be firm and maintain its shape at this point.  Make 2 gingerbread men in this fashion.  Then needle felt the face and little details as desired.

Needle Felting Gingerbread Man Ornaments

The reason for the two gingerbread men now becomes apparent.  The gingerbread man with the face is messy on the backside.  To hide this simply make a gingerbread man sandwich and blanket stitch around them.

How to Felt a Gingerbread Man

The final step is adding a ribbon to hang it with.  This step can be omitted if desired.  With a ribbon it’s an ornament and without the ribbon it’s holiday play food.  Win, Win!!!

Using Cookie Cutters as Felting Templates

This is a fun way to practice needle felting.  Try using different cookie cutters that you have around the kitchen.  A heart ornament, a Santa ornament, a snowman . . . .  Just imagine your holiday cookies in felted form!

Needle Felt Happy Gingerbread Man

Happy Holidays.