Thursday, January 22, 2009

Felt Bowls or Crafting with Friends: Part 2

Ok then, on to Part 2: The How To on our felt bowls.

Some helpful background information such as What is Felting? can be found here.

Step 1: Gather your supplies:

roving, wool yarn for decoration, resist material (such as craft foam), nylon netting, bubble wrap, lots of towels to soak up surplus water, a large work surface such as a table, a table cloth to protect your table (if needed), scissors, plastic bags from the grocery store, old empty dish soap bottles, dish soap, means to heat up water, the book or instructions for your project, and a good block of time (3 hours or so - quicker certainly if you aren't working with beginners or as a beginner.)

Step 2: Take your resist material (craft foam in our case) and cut the shape you need for your project. We cut imperfect circles about 12 inches in diameter or so. I did not get a photo of this step, but you can see the shape through the wool on subsequent photos. Place a towel on your work area. Lay the craft foam on your nylon netting on the towel in preparation for wool application.

Step 3: Pull apart your roving into roughly 2 or 3 inch lengths. The width is precut, but can be pulled apart to your likeness. THIS COLOR WILL BE INSIDE YOUR BOWL. Lay your separated wool on your craft foam starting at the top, overlapping the edge no more than a 1/2 inch or so. This covered about 1/2 of our circle. Make sure these fibers all run the same direction. Now lay more wool fibers on the bottom half of the circle overlapping the top half a 1/2 inch or so and the edge no more than a 1/2 inch still laying in the same direction. Make sure your fiber density is as even as you can make it all the way across your resist. Lay the netting over the top of your covered resist, flip it over and do the same thing on the other side of the circle.

Step 4: Wet your wool with really hot water mix: put some soap (a decent squirt), some cool water and then boiling water in old empty soap bottles for application. Rub your wool gently to get it wet. Smooth the overlapped edge fibers from the opposite side onto the main body. Lay your netting over the top of your covered resist. (It should wrap underneath too.) Rub the wool with light pressure, making sure to keep the netting tight along the edges. Continue to add hot water here and there to help speed along felting. Note: Besides our hands, we crumpled up plastic grocery bags into a pseudo ball and used those to rub with as well.

Step 5: Once one side of your wool is evenly wet and rubbed, turn the whole thing over netting and all, open the netting, and follow Step 4 instructions for this side as well.

Step 6: Add another layer of roving to your wet, rubbed start of your bowl. This time add your roving at a 90 degree angle to your first layer. Follow steps 3-5 again. THIS LAYER IS YOUR INSIDE COLOR AS WELL.

Step 7: Add one more layer of roving to your wet, rubbed bowl. Add this roving at a 90 degree angle to your last layer. Follow steps 3-5. THIS LAYER IS YOUR OUTSIDE COLOR(S)!

After your rubbing and wetting your soon-to-be-bowl will look like this:

Step 8: Add wool yarn accents wherever you desire. The center of your soon-to-be-bowl will be cut out on one side eventually. Keep that in mind as you place your accents. (Hint: I chose a nice contrasting, but complementary yellow to go with my orange and red bowl, but through the felting process my yellow was covered with some orange and red fibers making it less contrasting that I would have liked. Think about that as you choose colors too.)

Step 9: Cover your accented soon-to-be-bowl with the nylon netting, wet and rub gently. Continue this step, working both sides, refreshing your hot soapy water as needed until your yarn accents start to felt to the body of the bowl.

Step 10: Once your yarn is securely attached via felting, cut a whole in one side of your felt. Then carefully remove the resist material (craft foam) from inside the bowl through your hole. It can be done without cutting the foam. Don't tug on your felt too hard, but know it can withstand some gentle tugging to remove the craft foam.

Step 11: Now time for serious rubbing! Refresh your hot water if needed, scrunch up your bowl, rub & squeeze it in your hands making sure to continually adjust the way it is crumpled so you don't get any permanent creases. (Note: we added a wadded up piece of bubble wrap in the middle for the initial hard rubbing so it would not felt on itself)

Unscrunch your bowl and take a look!

Step 12: Add more force to your rubbing, more hot water and a rolling pin! Yes, wrap your bowl in your netting loosely and roll that baby hard with a rolling pin. Back and forth, back and forth.

Continue with steps 11 & 12...

till your bowl feels firm and dense and holds its shape well.

Step 13: Once you are happy with the texture of your bowl, rinse it well in lukewarm water in the sink till the water runs clear and free of soap. Shape your bowl till your liking and let it dry! That's it!

OH yeh - Step 14: Clean up your mess! :)

Remember all - this was my first felting experience and I've related it as best as I can according to my memory. If you have any additions, corrections or questions just let me know!


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