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How to Wet Felt Xmas Tree Decorations

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental and always interesting.

Little ladybirds on a Christmas tree

Little ladybirds on a Christmas tree

Things You Will Need:-

  • Merino Wool Roving in Red, Black and White
  • A piece of firm foam to be used when using Needle Felting Needles
  • A Felting Needle - usually purchased with a needle felting tool. Spare needles are easily obtained on the internet - e-Bay or Amazon are good sources for these items.
  • 1 Skein Red Embroidery Thread
  • Hot Soapy Water - Dish Washing liquid or Grated Olive Oil Soap dissolved in hot water.

Olive Oil Soap is much kinder to the hands. Dish Washing Liquid works well but can make wool perish if not rinsed properly.

Method

  1. Pull off a piece of wool roving of about an inch wide and about six inches in length
  2. Tie a Knot in the wool as shown in the images below
  3. Wet the knot and fold in the excess wool to form a rounded ball
  4. Wet the excess wool with hot soapy water and roll gently in your hands or on a piece of corrugated surface such as bubble wrap.
  5. Once you have a softly rounded ball - begin rubbing it on a piece of dry toweling until you have a softball.
  6. Wet a piece of black wool roving and roll it gently until it is slight rounded but straight.
  7. Wrap this piece firmly around the ball and tuck in the loose ends using a Felting Needle
  8. Roll the ball gently - just enough to allow the black stripe to attach itself to the round ball
  9. Now, needle felt two eyes, a mouth, and two spots onto the surface of the ball
  10. Wet the ball once more and then roll it carefully until the fibers attach themselves to one another. You will be able to rub harder as the ball becomes more felted.
  11. Rinse the balls in hot and then cold water - a few times.
  12. Cut off a piece of Embroidery Thread and thread a large-eyed needle.. Sew through the top of the Ladybug and knot both ends of the thread. This thread will form the tag for placing the bugs onto the Christmas Tree.
  13. Please see images below for decoration tips. Remember to have fun - experiment and have fun.
  14. These little balls can be used in a variety of different projects such as necklaces or even threaded worms and bangles.
  15. More creative ideas and Tutorials can be found on these pages, but several future projects are planned especially for young children. I look forward to seeing you back again soon.
Wool roving and hot soapy water

Wool roving and hot soapy water

Knot a Piece of Wool Roving

Knotting the wool roving

Knotting the wool roving

The Knotted Wool Roving

The knotted wool roving

The knotted wool roving

Wet the Knot with Hot Soapy Water

Wetting the knot with hot soapy water

Wetting the knot with hot soapy water

Wrap the Excess Wool Roving over the Knot

Wrapping the excess wool roving over the knot

Wrapping the excess wool roving over the knot

Wet the Wool Roving

Wet the excess wool around the knotted wool roving

Wet the excess wool around the knotted wool roving

Roll Gently at First on an Bumpy Surface

A sushi mat or a piece of bubble wrap could be utilized here.

A sushi mat or a piece of bubble wrap could be utilized here.

You Can Roll More Than One Ball at a Time!

Rolling more than one ball at a time

Rolling more than one ball at a time

Adding Some Embelishments

Wet a a thin piece of wool roving as shown

Wet a a thin piece of wool roving as shown

Wrap the Wet Black Roving Around the Felt Ball

Wrap the wool firmly around the ball and secure the end using a needle felting needle

Wrap the wool firmly around the ball and secure the end using a needle felting needle

Secure the Black Wool Ends with a Felting Needle

Secure with a felting needle

Secure with a felting needle

Wet the Ball with Hot Soapy Water

Wet with hot soapy water

Wet with hot soapy water

Roll on a Piece of Dry Towelling

Rolling on a cloth appear to make it easier - felting happens more quickly when the project is not too wet

Rolling on a cloth appear to make it easier - felting happens more quickly when the project is not too wet

Add the Eyes with a Felting Needle

Add white fibers to make a face, using a single felting needle

Add white fibers to make a face, using a single felting needle

Needle Felt the White Wool

Roll until the white is felted

Roll until the white is felted

Add Eyes to the Ladybug's Face Using a Felting Needle

Use fine slivers of wool roving to make eyes - use a single felting needle

Use fine slivers of wool roving to make eyes - use a single felting needle

Or - Alternatively Leave out the Black Stripe Altogether - See Pictures!

You may wish to simplify things - especially if children are making these bugs.

Please ensure that the Needle Felting stage of this Tutorial should be done under the supervision of an Adult.

Needle Felting Needles are barbed needles. They are very sharp.

Needle Felting should be done, using a piece of foam laid underneath each ball to ensure that you don't stab your fingers or any part of the body.

Needle Felt a Red Mouth Using Red Wool Roving

Add a pink or red mouth to the ladybug's face

Add a pink or red mouth to the ladybug's face

And a Couple of Spots

Face with two black spots

Face with two black spots

Wet the Face

Wet the face and roll gently to felt the face

Wet the face and roll gently to felt the face

Roll the Ladybug Until It Is Gently Felted

A completed ladybug with a selection of soon be baby ladybugs

A completed ladybug with a selection of soon be baby ladybugs

Attach a Piece of Embroidery Silk (Sew with a Large Needle)

Embroidery silk

Embroidery silk

A group of ladyburgs

A group of ladyburgs

Ornamental ladybugs on a Christmas tree

Ornamental ladybugs on a Christmas tree

Footnote

It would be possible to leave the decoration out until the balls are dry.

It is also possible to needle felt the balls without one having to wet or rub the eyes, mouth and spots when you do needle felting.

When the balls are decorated and then made wet and rubbed after they have been needle felted, the colors can sometimes bleed into one another.

Felting is not an exact science - everyone has their own method. By experimenting yourself, you will learn what works for you. Don't be afraid to experiment.

These balls are really very simple to make.

Knotting the wool in the early stages really is a key factor which makes them so successful. The knot gives them a basis on which to rub the top layers of wool and the result is a lovely solid and very evenly rounded ball.

I would love to hear how you get on.


© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on August 03, 2016:

Diana Abrahamson

Pleased to hear that you enjoyed the little ladybugs. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Diana Abrahamson on August 02, 2016:

What lovely ideas and so cute..love the ladybug idea!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 04, 2015:

SundayMacarons

Thanks for the visit and the great comment. A Westie could easily made using Needle Felting Techniques, lots of examples on Pinterest. I hope you take time to explore your felting aspirations.

Kate Alexandre on March 04, 2015:

So CUTE! Great tutorial. I would love to make a while felt character like my little Westie. Really adorable.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 15, 2014:

peachpurple

Definitely no need to go and spend a lot of money on ornaments. I recall my favorite ornaments were matchboxes covered in Christmas wrapping paper and tied with ribbon or string. The little boxes were empty. I confess I used to put a sweet in mine when my children were smaller. I could not bear the thought that they might open an empty box.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Sally

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 15, 2014:

i like this idea. Cute and cheap, no need to spend money on ornaments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 09, 2014:

Sunnyglitter - I have several tutorials which may appeal to them - hat on a ball and also my latest one - on how to make a necklace from felt balls. they are perfect projects for children.

Sally

Sunnyglitter from Cyberspace on December 09, 2014:

My kids would love this craft. Thanks for the idea!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 04, 2014:

Glimmer Twin Fan

What is holding you back then:) I suggest you start with some felt beads or balls and go have yourself a ball! I am making some for necklaces and bracelets at the moment and can't wait to see the end result. Thank you so much for your support. It is so appreciated.

Sally

Claudia Mitchell on December 04, 2014:

I think this is great for anyone learning to felt. What a cute project Sally! Your photos are terrific. Every time I read one of your hubs I really want to go out and try felting.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 20, 2014:

tillsontitan

Definitely and once you have made a few of the felt balls using these directions they will never make them any other way again. All sorts of little creatures can be made using the felt balls - imagine little hedgehogs or chipmunks for instance. The felt beads can be made into necklaces threaded onto elastic or leather strips for parents, aunties or even for their young friends or just for their own pleasure. They take so little wool roving too.

Thanks for the comment, vote up, useful, awesome and interesting - your visits are always appreciated and valued ++ Thank you

Sally

Mary Craig from New York on November 20, 2014:

Reading the comments here just confirms my thoughts, this is an adorable project and I have a feeling little boys will love it almost as much as little boys! Imagine them hanging their own handmade ornament on the tree each year.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 06, 2014:

Crisantonio

Be careful, felting can be addictive! I don't think you will stop felting if you try this method. There is so much scope for creativity. Thank you for your comment.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 03, 2014:

Jo Goldsmith11

You are a winner too Joe and very much valued as a part of this HubPages community - thank you so very much - you really know how to make a lady feel special.

Blessings & Happy holidays to your and yours.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on November 03, 2014:

Just awesome Sally! I love my lady bugs! So I must give this a try sometime here soon. :-) We hear christmas songs already, why not have a little fun making decorations! Shared, up and you are on Face book!

Also, cheers because you are one of the winners

Nov's Gold for Holiday/Family category!

Blessings & happy holidays!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 01, 2014:

Wednesday-Elf

This tutorial uses is combination of wet felting and needle felting but one could just as easily make these little felt ball into bangles or necklaces - if you did not want to do the needle felting bit. Definitely achievable - using this method. Thanks for the comment - it is appreciated.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on November 01, 2014:

I've never tried needle-felting, but this tutorial 'for kids' looks simple enough even I could probably figure it out. :) Love lady bugs and these really turned out cute.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 30, 2014:

teaches12345

Some big kids like me also like ladybirds or ladybugs:) I can't wait to see the children's faces when they put these on their Christmas tree.

Your comment is valued as always

Sally

Dianna Mendez on October 29, 2014:

I can't tell you how many little girls love ladybugs! This is sure to be a big hit as a craft idea this Christmas. THese are so adorable!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 23, 2014:

Nell Rose - Glad you enjoy seeing my little critters - thanks for the comment, vote and share - it is much appreciated.

Nell Rose from England on October 23, 2014:

Oh Wow! you are so clever! and you have the patience of a saint as my mum would say! LOL! I just couldn't even attempt to make these fun little ladybirds or bugs, very clever, and I love the photos too! wonderful! voted up and shared, nell

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 23, 2014:

MsDora

That is a very sweet thing to say but then I am not surprised at you either. If you lived close by, I would gladly have popped the hat into your post box.

Thanks for the vote up

Sally

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 23, 2014:

Sally, you did it again, but I shouldn't be surprised. A beautiful project and very clear instructions. I think these ladybugs are my favorite of all your creations so far, or they may tie with the felt hat. Good job and Voted Up!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 23, 2014:

Iris Draak

I promise you don't have to wait until you are a Grandma - the little felt balls make wonderful jewelry or ear rings - you could be wearing them right up until you are promoted to Grandma status.

Thanks for taking the time to comment - it is much appreciated

Cristen Iris from Boise, Idaho on October 23, 2014:

Sally, those are just about the cutest things I've ever seen. I'm starting to wish my children were little again (but only for this project). :) Someday if I become a grandmother this will be in my "let's do something fun" kit.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 22, 2014:

Alica

Glad you like them. It is always nice to find you one one of my pages. You are much appreciated.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 22, 2014:

Faith Reaper

I am sure the grandchildren will love them too. You could of course thread them on some shirring elastic or they could make plain balls into racelets or necklaces. What about a pair of ladybug or ladybird earrings for Grandma for Christmas.

Thanks for the up+++tweet and pin.

Blessings

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 22, 2014:

The ladybugs are so cute, Sally. (I call them ladybirds, too!) They are very attractive Christmas decorations.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 22, 2014:

Oh, how cute! My grandchildren would love these, especially my Lily, as she loves ladybugs and we call her Lily bug ....

You are so creative. Your instructions are always the best coupled with your photos.

Up +++ tweeting and pinning

Blessings

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 22, 2014:

randomcreative - you are very welcome. Thank you for your comment.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 22, 2014:

Super cute! Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 22, 2014:

DDE

I value you and your support. Thanks for the vote up, useful and interesting. It is much appreciated.

Sally

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 22, 2014:

Incredible! Your ideas are always valuable and you make such effort in your hubs. Voted up, useful and interesting.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 22, 2014:

DJ Anderson,

I needed a project for some little ones so thought I would do something they could use on their Christmas Tree - this was my practice run - now I just have to make the bugs with the children.

I appreciate your visit and of course your comment,

Thank you

Sally

DJ Anderson on October 21, 2014:

I have been writing comments and forgetting to post them.

I think you are very clever knowing all these crafting skills.

You hubs are most informative, and yes, now would be the time

to get them done.

Great hub, Sally!

DJ.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 21, 2014:

Ann1Az2

Wet felting is definitely a great craft - who would think that a little wool roving and some hot soapy water would be the making of felt! This particular project is a great starting place, give it a try sometime, you will be glad you did.

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on October 21, 2014:

Wet felting sounds like a great craft. I will have to try it. Somehow, though, I know that you make it look easier than it is!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 21, 2014:

firstday - thank you very much, I appreciate the thumbs up.

Sally

Rebecca Be from Lincoln, Nebraska on October 21, 2014:

Great idea for kids…fun..a thumbs up from me!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 21, 2014:

Billy - well then, I am sure that you will know then that in some cultures - Ladybugs or Ladybirds as I know them here - are meant to be symbols of good luck - so here's wishing all those who encounter my ladybugs on this page- good luck to everyone.

Ladybugs are one of my favorite things to photograph - so you are also in good company.

I am so glad I brought a smile to your face this day.

Sally

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 21, 2014:

This one just makes me smile, Sally. I love ladybugs. In fact, one plays prominently in my first novel believe it or not. Thank you for the smile...great craft of course....you are the goddess of wet felt. :)

bill

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