Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hand Needle Felting/Wet Felting Tutorial

I've finally gotten this done for you guys! I am making an iPod sized bag or it could easily be a glasses case if you don't include the strap. Hang in there with me while I go through this and be sure to ask if you have any questions!

Step 1 -- Gather your tools

You will need at least one felting needle (size 38 to 40) and a piece of high density foam -- I like to use the Clover Pen Style needle felting tool with 3 fine needles (see picture--you can get this at almost any craft store) and my foam came from JoAnn's -- it measures 11 X 11". Later on you will need wet felting tools (see step 6 below and the instruction page of my website

Step 2 -- Gather your materials and begin
I created this using one of my everything kits. (Here is a link to my ETSY shop or see my website to see all of the colors the kits come in or if you want to gather your own materials -- there is a list of what is in the everything kits on the everything kits page I folded the prefelt in half so it would be sturdy enough to be a purse, shingled on another layer of matching roving (pull out and overlap small sections of roving so they look like roof tiles). I lightly needle felted everything together.

Step 3 -- Add surface decoration
I started adding the silk in a diagonal pattern across the bag. You can create whatever design you want! Just know that the process of felting will tend to create organic designs and the silk will bubble up and shrink as you needle felt it in place. I started with small strips of silk (either cut or torn from the larger pieces), laid them down and needle felted them in place. I also used thin strips of roving and placed them between 2 pieces of silk or used them to add to the design. After the pieces of silk were down I started filling in the design with edges cut from the silk hankie and perhaps small pieces of the yarns. I always add small strips of velvet and make sure I use plenty of roving around them and needle felt them in well. The velvet is dense and hard to felt in. To finish, I always add tiny wisps of wool on top of the silk and lightly needle in place.

Step 4 -- Evaluate the design
The piece can be lifted off of the foam slowly. I folded mine in it's intended shape to see how I liked my design. I ended up playing with my focal point -- removing some of the silk I had placed here and creating a flower shape instead. (see pictures in step 5) When you needle felt this way the designs can be moved until you wet felt them.

Note -- I also added a few lines of machine stitching randomly through the design. This is purely optional and will not have a great deal of effect on your final outcome unless you use a highly decorative thread.

Step 5 -- Get ready to wet felt
Since this is going to be a purse or eyeglass case, I needed a resist to put in between the layers. I cut a piece of a large zip lock bag to fit inside the felt allowing about 1/2 inch of the felt to touch on the two long sides and the bottom of the bag. I closed the bag around the resist, allowing it to stick out of the top of the bag and needle felted along the side and bottom to begin to attach the front and back.

Step 6 -- Wet Felt
Get out your wet felting tools, including a small bamboo placemat or bubble wrap, 2 pieces of tulle and a scrunched grocery bag. Go through the 3 steps of wet felting (see the instruction page of my website). The felting goes very fast as the needles have started the process. When you are at the final stage of fulling or shrinking the piece, consider the size you would like the purse to be when finished and stretch the purse into that shape as you go along. The felt should be pretty dense or firm for this piece. My finished piece measures about 4" wide X 6.5" inches tall. I also removed the resist after about one pass of fulling as the wool had started to shrink and the resist was in the way.

Here is a picture after the purse is dry and the handle is attached. The surface is very textural and the felt is very firm. I made some matching felted beads and included a few glass beads. Voila! About a 2 hour project! Looks just perfect for an iPhone or a droid!

Next up: I will teach you how to make the rope to use for a strap. There are many ways to create a strap -- you may have your own!


  1. Lovely! ...and I hope to have a droid soon!

  2. Let me know what other ideas you two wonderfully creative women have for making things with these kits! Jane, you might blanket stitch your edges or come up with some other wonderful way to put this together!

  3. This finally makes sense to me! Thank you for sharing your skills.