Monday, September 3, 2012

Three day weekends

Are for unplanned craft projects, right? Right!

Well, despite spending ALL day Monday in my pajamas, I was very productive! A little while ago I saw some photos of little felted acorns and I (of course) wanted to learn how to make them... With fall right around the corner I figured I could try my hand at a little wreath for our front door. I didn't have a solid plan of how I'd actually put everything together, but I knew once I got started it would find it's own path.

Felting is one of those elusive craft skills that seemed really complicated. I knew there were special tools involved and multiple processes, but buying finished felting items is not cost effective, so it was worth looking into. Like every other craft skill I have in my toolbox, I relied on the internet to show me what to do! Between Pinterest and Youtube I had all the information I needed to get started!

The first thing you need is access to lots of acorns... Well, we have them in droves around our house so one afternoon while I was waiting for stain to dry I collected a zip lock bag full of them. I carefully popped out the nut and its hard case just leaving the little acorn "hat". I broke quite a few of them as the little hats are very delicate and I collected a variety of sizes to try.

Supplies! You will need: a felting mat (the thing that looks like a brush), a needle felting pen (there are not enough warning labels in the world to warn you about how sharp this thing is -- I still managed to stab myself a few times), and wool roving. Wool roving is the stuff that they spin to make yarn out of... you can also use 100% wool yarn but it's a little bit trickier.
First you rip off a handful of roving. You sort of shred the roving so it's very wispy and roll it around into a loose ball. Then you place in on the felting mat and start stabbing it with the felting pen. My research told me that this thickens the fibers, tightening the ball. You keep on doing this until the ball starts to take shape. I found that it helps to work the ball like you would with a ball of dough. You can add in more roving if the balls gets too small.
Here are a few of my felted balls after I stabbed them! Mine were about 1.5" or so at this point. The tutorial I read said that the wool would shrink down to about a third of it's size.

A whole gaggle of wool balls! I choose all fall themed colors, but they would look great in bright colors too!
The next step involved taking my wool for a soak. You take a large bowl with super hot soapy water and dunk them all in. Much like your favorite sweater, they start changing shape once they hit the water. Then you have to pull them out, one by one and roll them between your hands (as thought you were making a small ball with clay) -- the water squeezes out and as the fibers tighten, you wind up with a much smaller, dense ball.

Like this! After this step you rinse it in cold water and roll it a little more to make it small and tight. You're supposed to leave them to dry overnight, but I heard that you can throw them into a pair of tights and toss them into the dryer, so I opted for that because I was anxious to finish my project.
I took my selection of acorn hats and matched them up to various felt balls. I used hot glue to secure the ball into the capsule. Look how cute!!!!

Ahhhh so many acorns! I just love how cute and fuzzy they are! I also made some felt flowers with a few sheets of felt I picked up when I got the roving. Total cost on the flowers/acorns works out to around $0.25/per!
I attached my flowers, acorns and some raffia and my wreath is complete! I'm super happy with it and I think it looks rustic and simple. I'll take a follow up photo of it on the door!
Gratuitous close up photo!

 I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. We spent the rest of our time enjoying the house (for once) and we even had a few neighbors over for a little impromptu BBQ and some board games!

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