Friday, November 28, 2008

felt stocking ornament tutorial

this is a quick holiday project, perfect for someone who has tried a little bit of felt making, and is ready to try felting around a resist. it's a very small project, but once you know how to make this stocking, you can make the same project at a larger scale, or explore other projects that involve felting around a resist. these instructions are part of a 'how to make holiday felt kit' available in my etsy shop. feel free to use and share these instructions, but please link back here and give credit to felt cafe, thank you!

you will need a small amount of wool roving (less than 1/2 an ounce), dish soap, hot water, a waterproof working surface (tupperware, even a dinner plate works for a small project like this one), a small piece of bubble wrap to make the pattern. if you have never tried making felt before, i suggest you check out my felt 101 tutorial here; you can even download the how-to-make-felt pdf instructions for free.

make a pattern out of bubble wrap. the pattern will also be the resist, which you will be felting around.

lay out one layer of wool roving horizontally, as shown. try to have the ends extend past the bubble wrap resist, but not have any extra roving above or below. the key is that the roving should extend past the resist when it is perpendicular to the edge. when the roving is parallel to the edge, try not to have the roving extend past the edge.

lay out a second layer of fiber vertically, perpendicular to the first layer.

drizzle a little bit of dish soap and hot water over the wool. try to keep the it in the center, where the pattern is, and keep the ends of the wool dry if possible. press down on the wool, working the soap and water through the wool.

turn it over to the other side, the patter will be on top, over 2 layers of wool.
wrap the ends around the pattern.

the same way that you did at the beginning, lay out 2 layers of wool on the 2nd side, the 1st horizontal and the 2nd vertical, the same as you did on the 1st side. drizzle a little dish soap.
and hot water. press down on the wool as before.
turn it over, and wrap the ends around.

without turning the felt over, lay out another layer of wool horizontally. (this is the 3rd layer on the 1st side.) press down on the wool, and turn it over.
wrap the ends around.
lay out another horizontal layer or wool. (this is the 3rd layer of wool on the 2nd side).

turn the felt over, and wrap the ends around. press down on the wool, rub it in small circles with your fingertips. repeat on both sides several times. hold it flat between the palms of your hands, and rub them back and forth gently. all of these things are creating friction, and causing the wool to felt, which means that the tiny scales on the wool fibers are becoming locked together.
the felt will become soapier while you work it. continue to rub and agitate the felt until you feel that the wool fibers are joined together, and you can't easily pull them off individually.

trim off the top of the stocking with scissors. your felt will probably have grown a little bigger than the pattern you started with, so you will likely be able to cut straight across and not cut into the pattern (in case you want to save and reuse the same pattern piece). as you cut the felt, you may see that you are cutting through some but not all layers. you need to cut through all the layers, so trim it again if you need to.
when you cut through all the layers, you can see the bubble wrap inside.
take the bubble wrap pattern out, and continue to rub the felt as before, this time with 1 or 2 fingers inside the stocking, and your other hand outside. this is important if you want to keep the pocket part of the stocking, otherwise it will felt together. gradually rinse out the soap, continuing to rub the felt.
if you rinse out all the soap and you feel like the stocking is too fuzzy and not felted, you can add soap and hot water again and repeat the process of agitating the wool with your hands.

to make the loop to hang your stocking ornament, make a partial cut about 1/4 inch from the top of the stocking, and stop about 1/4 inch away from the heel side. lift up the part the you cut, it will become the loop. add a little soap and hot water to the cut edges, and rub them a little bit so they felt.

7 comments: said...

Aww, this is so cute! I'll be linking.

liz said...

thanks rachel!

Anonymous said...

Just found your lovely site through Whip up today. I've been wanting to teach some of my older classes felting but couldn't think of a quick enough project for them - your candy canes are just the ticket. Thanks!

Ginger said...

I'll be linking.Thank you for such a wonderful tutorials.

Q said...

Thank you so very much!
I shall try this. Your tutorial is perfect...I understand exactly what to do and how to do it. I almost could hear your voice.
Felting is very fun!

Anonymous said...

Great directions! I always wondered how these were made :) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks from Austria for that fantastic tutorial! I am sure, I will try that for next christmas as a gift for me and my friends. Best wishes for you!