Thursday, March 17, 2016

DIY - Felted Beads




Felted beads are fun and easy to create!
Lightweight earrings, bracelets and statement necklaces
are just a few examples of creations with this very versatile artisan component.
I like to add (recycled) silk or coloured roving to my beads
so I can easily match them with my clothes and headbands.
But you can also embellish your finished dry beads with seed beads or embroidery.
Once you get started it is hard to stop! But why should you, the possibilities are endless.
So lets get started :)


1 - Materials;
* (Mulesed free) wool roving for the base
   (almost any micron will do but keep in mind that above 19 micron the
   wool will itch. So for earrings and necklaces use 19 micron max)
* optional silk roving, wool threads/roving
* bowl with warm soapy water, 
   made with liquid eco olive soap or rasp from solid soap
   and optional a small piece of soap (I prefer Marseille soap to felt with)
* bubble foil or a towel

2 - Fluff out the wool roving so you can pull out a strand of wool.

3 - Tie a loose knot from the strand
and carefully (not too tight) wrap the ends around the knot.    
      
4 -  Or you can create a small ball from the roving
by rolling it up and wrapping it with wool.
      
5 - Add more roving until you have the desired size. 
     Keep in mind that the wool will shrink about 30 to 50%.

6 - Place the felt ball in your hand
and sprinkle it gently with some warm soapy water.
Repeat until it is wet but not too wet
otherwise you will flush away the fiber. 

7 - Now gently, very gently and without pressure caress the 
     wool ball with soapy hands. The wool will slowly start to clinch     
     together. When you add too much pressure in this stage you will    
     get deep lines in the wool which are very hard to remove.

8 - As soon as you feel the wool ball getting a bit firmer you 
     carefully wet it in warm soapy water and again gently start to 
     roll it between the palms of your hands to create a round shape. 

9 - At this point the wool ball should be round but still loose, not
     firm. When you felt it too long at this stage you cannot add
     decorative fibers to the surface anymore.


11 - Add some silk by wrapping it loosely around the ball.

12 - Wet the ball carefully with hot water 
making sure not to flush away the silk fibers.

13 - Gently roll the ball between the palms of your hands slowly     
       adding more pressure. You can feel the ball getting firmer now.

14 - Check the ball for any lines and correct then by rubbing them
        with the small piece of soap or with the tips of your fingers.

15 - Rinse the ball with clean hot water and soap it in again.

16 - You can add pressure now by rubbing the ball into the bubble
       foil or the towel, or between your palms.
Repeat steps 15 and 16 until you have a firm ball.

17 - Once the ball feels very firm it is finished.
Rinse it thoroughly with hot and cold water
to make sure all of the soap is rinsed out.
Roll the bead on a dry towel a few times.

18 - Optionally you can prick a hole while the ball is still wet with a 
       small pair of scissors or an ice pick.

19 - Create a larger hole by putting the bead on a chopstick and
       twisting it. Make sure you do this on both sides of the bead.
       Roll the bead between the palms of your hands again to     
       reshape the round form and let it dry (on the chopstick) 
overnight on a warm spot.

                                                 
Have fun with your own personally styled felt beads!


Tip:
I've created these earrings with recycled sari silk ribbons from Etsy



This post was shared on Frontier Dreams 'Keep Calm Craft On'