12.22.2009

Christmas Craft: Needle felted tree skirt and pillows!

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My woodland themed needle felted tree skirt! <3>
I've been very busy cozying up our house for Christmas with lots of little projects and handmade decorations. There has been a major new development in my crafting repertoire. I learned how to needle felt! Well, "learn" is an overstatement - it is so easy, it will surely melt your brain. I'm terrible at sewing, but needle felting allowed me to make all my fabric related dreams come true without even picking up a needle. It's totally neat.

When I first read about needle felting, I honestly could not wrap my mind around how it worked. Then I watched some lady on YouTube wad up a ball of wool, stab the shit out of it with a needle, and like some sort of craft room voodoo magic, her sad little hair ball transformed into an incredibly cute, fuzzy owl. Just like that! You just poke a hair ball with a fancy needle. Shut up, no way, get out. But I promise, it works.


Annnnd! I made this little video to prove it! At first I was too embarrassed to show it to you, because you'll all find out how silly and awkward I am in real life. But who cares- it's time to blow this blogosphere wide open. I'm keeping it really real.

Whirly Bird How To from Squirrelly Turd on Vimeo.


Hrmm. I realize his video tutorial needs a little clarification, so here's some less giggly, less chattering instruction: Basically, you use a special barbed felting needle to push a top layer of wool or felt into deeper layers, manipulating the fabric's fiber and texture to create a design or shape. When you poke wool with the needle, the fibers kind of intertwine and stick together, creating a solid piece of fabric without sewing or glue. It is great for adding appliques to wool fabric. To make a 3D object, think of your needle as a chisel, and you are sculpting a ball of wool.

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I was inspired by Swedish folk art.





How I did it:
To make my tree skirt and pillows, I used felt from the craft store. The vines, leaves and argyle details were done with yarn. I trimmed the skirt with ric-rac.

There is a simple tree skirt pattern here, and if you adore woodland creatures as much as I do, I've shared templates for my deer head and squirrel.

Materials:
  • felting needles and multi-needle tool, found here
  • foam sheeting (about 3-4" thick) or felting mat
  • scissors
  • felt (amount depends on size of appliques and pillow covers)
  • shape templates for your design
  • yarn or wool roving

How-to:
  1. Using your templates, trace shapes onto felt and carefully cut them out.
  2. Arrange shapes onto felt backdrop. With foam or mat underneath your felt, use a single needle to tack down shapes by poking them into the underlying layer of fabric. Start by tacking down the center and edges of the shapes, and work your way into the other areas.
  3. Use a multi-needle tool to punch until the fibers transfer onto the other side of the felt and the applique is secure. A single needle works well for touch-ups and edges.
  4. Finish by spritzing your work with water. Press with an iron on the wool setting. Viola!

Learn more:

Martha Stewart has a slew of awesome felting crafts.
Living Felt, for supplies, kits and wool.
So-cute-it-hurts felted critters on Etsy.

P.S.:

If that little video tutorial is a look into my present, could this be a look into my future?



Haha!



9 comments:

  1. wow, this is awesome!!! your tree skirt is adorable, i love it!! and i never actually knew what "felted" meant until now. thank you. now i want to do it!

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  2. That tree skirt is so lovely!! Really nice job.

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  3. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Alena

    http://largepet.info

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  4. what kind of felt did you use... wool or synthetic? what weight? i love the clean look of this elegant tree skirt!

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  5. Anon,
    Thank you! I used synthetic felt for this project but I've done similar techniques with wool and it works out beautifully. I actually prefer wool.

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