How to make a wool felted ball, by Stephanie of Elemental Handcrafts.
Sheep are awesome. They are cute, soft, smell good and if we treat them nicely*, they will share their wool happily and we can make things, lots of things! One such thing you can make with your kids is a wool felted ball. Here’s how:
*Please note that not all sheep are treated nicely. If you buy wool to make this craft or anything else, please research your source. Some sheep people are only in it for the money and don’t take proper care of the animals in their flock or treat them nicely and humanely. Buy wool with good karma! Locally raised on a small farm is often best.
fabric scraps (I use old cut up wool sweaters)
This craft makes good use of old fabric scraps. I like to use scraps of old wool sweaters that have been cut up for different projects.
Start by balling up your scraps into a tight ball. The tighter the better as this will give your ball some weight.
Take strips of wool roving and begin wrapping your fabric scraps until you have well covered them. Keep in mind the color you use first won’t show much, so this is a good place to use a color you have but don’t love.
As you wrap your roving, carefully spread the edges out. This will help with the felting process, giving your ball a more smooth appearance.
Once you have your ball to the approximate size you would like it, (keep in mind it will shrink a little during felting), finish it off with some strips of color, if you desire.
Once you like the look, carefully put your hand into the hose- (I’ve used some stripey Halloween tights that had a hole in the knee), and like a glove, carefully grab the ball so the inside of the tights is next to the ball. Flip the tights over so the ball is now inside and either tie, or twist-tie both ends. Keep doing this until you have all of your balls wrapped in the tights. I like to do as many as I can at a time so we don’t run the washing machine for just one ball.
Once your tights are full, toss then into the washing machine with a little detergent and either a towel or some sheets or something without any hard edges. Wash your daughter’s overalls with the metal clips in another laundry load. Don’t add too much laundry. You want something to help agitate the balls, but if you add too much you won’t get enough agitation. If you are using dyed wool, don’t wash it with anything light as the dyes may run!
Run your washer with hot water and use a little laundry soap. No fabric softener!
Once it has finished the wash cycle, untwist your ties, take out your balls and reshape them. The wool should be well felted and you shouldn’t be able to pull fibers off very easily. If you can pull fibers off, wash them again. Once felted, take them all out of the stockings and either air dry, or toss into the dryer on hot for more felting.
You’re done! If you made six, like me, you can now give them to your kids and look up, “How to juggle” online. Have fun!
This tutorial was written by Stephanie of Elemental Handcrafts.