Monday, August 27, 2012

What a Lovely Day - Make some Felt Beads!

August is usually my worst time of year, cold and very dry here in our corner of the world and dusty and windy,! I usually have dust induced sniffles and end up feeling very sorry for myself. Well this year hasn't been so bad. We had snow 2 weeks ago and then went straight to summer, the last couple of days have been in the high 20's C  and when I woke up this morning it smelled like rain. The sun is shining and it's warm outside but if I look out to the south there are clouds building so you never know, we may be lucky :)

Today I have taken the dye pots out again and I'm busy dying wool tops for felting. All of a sudden it's what every one wants. I love felting too and am busy with a felted project for the December issue of Stitches. I thought I'd post a tutorial on making felted beads here today.

Felted Beads
©Dana Biddle

 We’ve made a necklace using felted beads before but here is a different way to make them. Most methods of making felt involve a fair amount of work but this way uses your tumble dryer to do the work for you.

 What you’ll need
Wool tops – available from ColourSpun
Good kitchen scale
Old stocking or pantyhose
Elastic bands
A bowl of hot water (not too hot – you’ll be putting your hands in it)
Dish washing liquid
Tumble Dryer
Beading needle
Beading thread (dental floss works well too)
Other beads


1.      To make beads of equal size, divide the dry wool into portions of equal weight. You will need 6 x 3g, 6 x 2g and 6 x 1g.

2.      Take a portion of wool; wrap it around itself to form a bead shape

3.      Carefully place the wool into the stocking; holding the bead in shape, pull the stocking tight around it and twist a couple of times, secure it in place with an elastic band

4.      Repeat step 2 and 3 for all the beads

5.      Fill a bowl with hot water and add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid.

6.       Wet the beads in hot water; make sure that the wool is wet all the way through.

7.       Squeeze out excess water

8.      Place the stocking full of beads in the tumble drier for about half an hour

9.      Check if the beads have felted enough by feeling how hard they are. If necessary, repeat steps 5 to 8 once more

10.   Remove the beads from the stocking and wet them again

11.   Rub each one between the palms of your hands using a circular motion to smooth the fibres

12.   Leave the beads to dry
 Once you have made all the felt beads you want, leave them to dry and then string them into a one of a kind necklace.