How to Make Felted Wool Balls

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Felt-making is an ancient craft that has been practiced in various parts of the world. Creating felt balls is a relatively easy project that will allow you to get a feel for this type of textile work.

Things You'll Need

  • Bamboo mat
  • Table
  • Towels
  • Apron
  • Large bowl of hot water
  • 1-2 tbsp, dishwashing soap
  • 50g plain wool
  • 10g colored wool
  • Large bowl of clear water
  • 1-2 tbsp, distilled vinegar

Instructions

  • Choose a workspace such as kitchen or, on a nice day, outdoors. Lay the bamboo mat out on the table, place towels around the workspace or on the floor as needed. Put on your apron.

  • Fill a large bowl with hot water, as hot as your hands can stand. Add soap. Place the bowl on the table next to the bamboo mat. Place your two types of wool in separate piles on your workspace.

  • Separate the plain and colored wool into small flakes, about four fingers wide. To start the ball, give the first flake a twist, like a candy wrapper. Fold the edges together around the twist. Use your fingers to sprinkle a few drops of water in between layers. Add the next flake of wool, making sure that all new layers are added at a 90-degree angle to the preceding layer. Continue until the ball has reached the desired size. Add the colored wool to the final layer.

  • Agitate the fibers into felt. After putting the final layer on, press the ball gingerly with both hands. Carefully massage the wool, wetting the ball with the soapy water as needed. You will feel the texture of the wool begin to change as the fibers interlock and shrink, finally becoming felt. When you feel this change of texture, you can massage the wool with more force. Roll it around on the bamboo mat, or even throw it against the mat to shock the fibers.

  • Rinse your felt ball in the bowl of water mixed with distilled vinegar to get rid of any soap residue. Press out any excess water.

  • Set the ball in the sun or on a radiator to dry for about 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make lots of small balls, and string like beads to make felt jewelry. Alternatively, add decorative ribbon to fist-sized balls to make Christmas ornaments.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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