Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental and always interesting.
Wet Felted Bird Pod
Wet felting with a Tumble Dryer!
The techniques used in this tutorial can be utilized to make a variety of things. This includes hats and felt vessels. This wet felting tutorial has been made to follow on from my previous step by step tutorial photo tutorial which can be found at:-
Try experimenting with different balloon shapes for your Pod or Vessels. Felting in a tumble dryer is easy. No rubbing is required, just a gentle smoothing out of the wool fibres as they are placed onto the balloon.
The tumble dryer gives the finished product a much firmer texture and is well suited to a project such as this one. If you prefer your Felt to feel a little softer, try reducing the amount of time which the wool spends in the dryer! This will mean checking often, how the felting process is doing in the tumble dryer in the tumble dryer.
It may also take slightly longer to lay out the fibre if you are using this method. Take the time to do it properly. Thin spots will result in holes. Bare in mind that the tumble dryer will be doing all the hard work for you saving you a lot of time. The results obtained here are superb and speak for themselves.
Step by Step / How to Make this Wet Felted Bird Pod
Beautiful Wool Roving
Things you will need!
- Merino Wool tops for felting
- Hot water
- Dishwashing Liquid
- A square of Curtain Netting
- One strong Balloon
- One small bowl
- Spray bottle
- Wooden Curtain Ring
- Wool for sewing the woollen plait and entrance to the Pod
- Place a towel down or use a waterproof table for the purposes of this project.
- Add a small amount of water to the balloon. This will add weight to the balloon and help to keep it firmly balanced in a small bowl.
- Blow some air into the balloon. This should be sufficient to allow for some shrinkage. It should be blown about a quarter more than the actual desired shape of the Pod.
- Knot the balloon and place it in the small bowl.
- Dilute the dishwashing liquid with water and put it into the squeeze bottles.
- Spray the balloon with the hot soapy water and begin covering the surface with merino wool fibres
- Begin at the knotted end of the balloon. Keep in mind that the knotted end will eventually become the entrance to the Pod, The fibres should be built up carefully in this area so as to ensure that it remains strong and stable when the pod is completed. Leaving any gaps in the wool will result in thin spots in the finished Pod. Ensure you fill any thin spots!
- Cover about a quarter of the balloon with the merino wool fibres.
- Cover carefully with the curtain netting. Spray with hot soapy water and smooth the fibres out and down towards the surface of the table.
- Remove the netting and continue in the same manner until the ball is completely covered with wet fibres.
- Repeat the above step, using a different colour for layer two. You will easily see any thin spots if you keep the colours of each layer different from the previous one.
- Repeat the previous layer using a different colour for layer three. Complete one-half of the balloon this time and decorate both halves with odd bits of coloured fibres as desired.
- Insert the balloon into the pantyhose. I put mine on the back of a chair and then slip the balloon into the pantyhose. The chair substitutes for a spare pair of hands!
- Knot the ends of the pantyhose and then place the Pod into the tumble drier for ten minutes
- Open the stocking to check to see if the fibres have felted together Don’t worry if the pantyhose has begun to attach itself to the fabric. it will peel back very easily from the fabric.
- Place the Pod back into the dryer for another ten minutes, without the pantyhose this time.
- Remove the pod from the tumble dryer and rinse in very hot water until the soap has washed away. Shock under cold water. Repeat the hot and then cold water shock treatment, The water should now run clear of soap!
- Undo the knot on the balloon and release the water from inside the balloon. Be careful not to let the neck of the balloon go. You will lose it inside the pod!
- Blow up the balloon again, smaller than the original size now, leaving some space between the felted pod and the rubber for shrinkage.
- Put back into the tumble dryer for another ten minutes to allow the balloon to shrink back further. The felt should shrink right up against the balloon, taking up all the space you left.
- Deflate the balloon once more, or until you have the size and shape you require for your finished pod!
- Put the Pod back into the tumble dryer and allow it to Felt back to the size of the balloon inside. This should take approximately ten minutes.
- Untie the knot in the balloon and remove the air and discard.
- Using a wooden curtain ring, draw a ring shape around the existing hole in the pod and cut it carefully to size, with some sharp scissors
- When completely dry, sew on a wooden curtain ring with wool using blanket stitch,
- This will complete the entrance to your Pod.
- Now attach a plaited wool strand loop with which to attach the pod to a tree or wall fixture.
- You may prefer to use a chain or leather string or include a small piece of leather to the interior roof of your pod. This will ensure that the area where the wool is attached to the Pod is strengthened by the leather.
- You have now made your first bird pod using merino wool fibres.
I welcome your comments and suggestions for furtherTutorials.
Hat on a Ball or Bird Pod!
My favorite felting video of all time. Please watch this little girl demonstrate how to make a Hat on a Ball. The same method equally well be used to make a Bird Pod. There really are no hard and fast rules when it comes to felting. Experiment and have fun doing it.
Hat on a Ball - Oliart Episode 8
© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 15, 2014:
Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad you have enjoyed making your first bird pods. Please check out more of my tutorials for more wet felted items to make. It would have been lovely to see your bird pod.
dragonflydazd on April 15, 2014:
Thanks so much for the tutorial. I have just finished one and have another drying. How fun!!!! I will see if I can paste a photo.
Apparently not but thanks so much...
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 11, 2013:
Hi Thundermama, so glad you stopped by and so pleased to hear you will give it a go. Felting is totally addictive and I can't wait to hear how you get on. Delighted to have you follow my Hubs. I look forward to getting to know you.
Catherine Taylor from Canada on April 11, 2013:
This looks amazing! I can't wait to give this a try. I have never tried wet felting before, but your hub has convinced me to give it try. Fantastic hub, well written, great pictures, great video. Voted way up and sharing!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 08, 2013:
Hello summerberrie, glad you were able to stop by. Would love to hear how you get on with your felted bird pod. Thanks for stopping by.
summerberrie on March 08, 2013:
I'm going to give this a try. Just adorable!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 28, 2013:
You are most welcome ktrapp, the little birds are beginning to show signs of choosing a mate, so here's hoping. Sally
Kristin Trapp from Illinois on February 28, 2013:
Thanks for the additional explanation. That makes a lot of sense. How wonderful it would be to have a pair move in during the spring; they'll certainly have the most luxurious home on the block!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 28, 2013:
Hello ktrapp, I did this for two reasons, one being that it is easier to lay down the fibers evenly, if you can see the layer below. The other is, that I wanted readers to be able to see the three layers easily. There would be no reason not to do the whole ball in one color and then decorate it, or not, as desired. One should always be careful not to get thin spots anywhere. This will result in the pod being weak in these areas. I have sometimes incorporated a piece of thin silk on the bottom layer to make the pod stronger. This worked surprisingly well.
I recently saw one little Tit inspecting the pod recently. I have high opes that a pair will move in sometime in the Spring!
We have our first day of sunshine today. The first for several months - here's hoping!!
It was good to hear your comments. I very much appreciate your visit, thank you. Sally
Kristin Trapp from Illinois on February 27, 2013:
Sally, This is so cool! I've never seen anything like this before. The birds must love this warm and cozy home. I am curious though, why do you layer it with different colors when all you see is the final layer?