12.12.2012

DIY Felt Ball Projects: Necklaces and Garlands

I've been on a needle felting spree recently, and I'm finally sharing the bounty of my hard work!  These projects serve rather different purposes, but in essence they are basically the same.  It's all about felted balls.  Felted balls on string.

Last year I needle felted a fox (an awesome fox) and wrote about it here if you want to know more about what you can do with needle felting, but even simple needle felted balls can make beautiful things:

Everything looks better on antlers.



























Like my awesome garland of white felt balls on twine, and...

Everything.



























My lovely felt ball necklaces!  I saw some felt ball necklaces on Etsy that I liked, until I realized that the felt balls were way too big for my taste (like 1" diameter) so I decided to make some that would fit me better.

Needle felting a fox might be complex, but felt balls are totally do-able, so I tried to take lots of pictures of how I did it so you can try, too.  By the way, many people make felt balls using a different technique (warm water and soap, like in this excellent tutorial if you're interested), as opposed to my needle felting method. I found that they both take about the same amount of time, but I like how mine turned out (a little uneven in a good way), and my hands didn't end up all prune-y and dry like they did after I made a felt ball with the other way.

Like with my snow cloud and vintage button felt ornaments, I worked on these during my spare time at my job (working the front desk at a children's museum).  I have a feeling all my coworkers think I'm a super crafting queen or something.  Actually I know they think that.  Anyway, since I was at work, I took the instruction pictures with my ipod, so the quality isn't so good.


Let's start with how to make the necklaces:


You start with wool roving (the fluffy loose wool), a barbed needle, and a thick foam pad.


There's really not a whole lot to show.  It helps if you roll the roving around in your hands a bit to start the circle, then just stab away with the barbed needle to intertwine the fibers.  The ball will slowly start to harden and take shape the more you work on it, until you have a relatively solid little thing.


Once I had made two sets of felt balls, one smaller and one larger, I went to Michaels and picked up some supplies: thin hemp cord, lobster clasps and loops and such to hold it all together, and some flexible beading needles (I'm not convinced that these were really the right choice for this project, but they worked ok; I would maybe use a thicker embroidery needle next time).


I tied one side of the clasp onto one end before beading the felt balls, but it would probably have been easier to just do the ends later.  Since the felt balls don't really move on the cord easily like normal beads, it's definitely not an issue.  And definitely don't put both the lobster clasp and the loop on first.  That just won't work (trust me, I tried).


Then it was just a matter of stringing the "beads" on, and tying off the other end.  I also added a couple small beads in between the felt balls.  I tried it without the beads first, and it just looks classier with them.  I put silver beads with the small balls, and white-ish beads with the larger felt balls.  A little bit of water quickly took the kinks out of the cord, et voila:



























So pretty.


























I haven't made much jewelry before, but I love how these turned out.  I like adding a little splash of color to my simple winter sweaters with a necklace, and I just love felt.



























So there you have it!  Not too difficult for a big effect.

Next up, felt ball garland:


Not much needed, just natural white wool roving, twine, and needle felting supplies (barbed needle and foam).


I made the balls right on the twine, about 4 inches apart.  To make a ball, I rolled a strip of roving around the twine to make a little cylinder...


Then I secured the piece in place by giving it a few stabs around the cylinder, especially at the end of the piece of roving.


Next I rounded out the cylinder into a sphere by stabbing in either end and shaping it until it looked right.


You can see the ball on the left has only been smoothed on the bottom.  The whole process takes about 5ish minutes per ball.



























And then after lots of tedious felting and felting and felting (perfect for doing at work), you end up with this beautiful garland!  I think the twine adds a nice rustic touch of texture, and I like how each ball is just a little bit different.  The garland may look awesome on our antlers, but it looks even better on our Christmas tree!  I made two long garlands to add to our tree (and then to use after Christmas somewhere else in our apartment, since they're actually totally holiday neutral), and they are perfect.  We haven't had a chance to photograph them on the tree yet, but we'll get right on it and post pictures.

So what do you think?  Will you try a little needle felting?  Make some simple and pretty balls?  Can you think of anything else we could make with them?

Also, it's 12/12/12 right now, for just a few more minute. Awesome.

Linking up with The Clever Chicks Blog Hop

4 comments:

  1. I've been felt ball garland making too! Your garlands and necklaces are fab, I love the organic feel with the use of the twine! x Tina

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the felt ball garland! Super cute and it seems pretty easy.
    Carlee
    Almost Endearing

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your necklaces are so simple and pretty. Very elegant. I didn't realize how easy it was! Thanks!

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