Today's post is the last in this weeks series of 7 craft ideas to do with children. This post will show you how to use wool balls to make a felt picture. For this activity children will have to contemplate design, use of colour, composition and function of the piece.
You will need: a bamboo mat, felt wool, tissue paper, a bowl of soapy water and embellishments such as glitter glue and thread
Completed Felt picture of a reindeer
1. Make sure you have a clear working area and have all your materials ready2. I would normally get the children to plan out their design on paper first. This provides children the opportunity to work out colour choices and composition. Once they have planned their design they are ready to start.
3. Lay a piece of tissue paper on the table ready to start adding your felt picture. Select your colour wool and gently tease the wool apart to create thin layers. Make sure you do not pull the felt too thin as this will leave gaps.
4. Continue building up the picture by adding pieces of wool gently overlapping each piece
5. Once you have completed your picture you are ready to bond the wool together to make your felt picture
6. Place some tissue paper over the top of the felt picture, be careful not to move any parts (you can use net curtain instead of tissue paper which works better as tissue paper can tear if the children rub too hard). Very gently use you hand to dampen the tissue paper using a mixture of soapy water.7. Gently rub over the top of the tissue paper, the soapy mixture soaks into the fibres of the wool. when you rub over the top the mixture will sud up and start to bind the fibre together.
8. When you have rubbed over the top and the felt has flattened you should be able to pick the piece up and turn it over. Make sure you are careful when turning the piece over as the fibres will not have completely bonded yet.
9. Repeat the process on the back, lay some more tissue paper over the top and rub over the back of the felt picture. Remember to rub firmly but with care. The soapy mixture needs to mix into all the fibres for the piece to bind together to form your felt picture - this process can take up to ten minutes.
10. Gently peel off the back layer of tissue paper to reveal your felt picture. The felt should stay on the remaining tissue paper, if it is attached to the piece of tissue you are pulling off then you need to continue rubbing the fibre together. Once you have taken the back layer of tissue paper off, lay the felt onto a bamboo mat.
11. Peel off the remaining piece of tissue paper
12. Roll the picture in the bamboo mat13. Roll the picture tightly in the mat, keep rolling and squeeze the bamboo mat as you are rolling. This squeezes the water from out of the felt material and finally binds all the fibres together. Keep unrolling the mat and then rolling it back up again until you have hardly any suds or water coming out. This should take 5-10 minutes
14. When you have rolled the picture for about 10 minutes, take it out of the mat and leave it to dry for 24 hours
15. Once the piece is dry it is time to embellish the piece. I have decided to embroider on the reindeer's antlers using cross stitch silks.
16. For a final touch I have used glitter glue for Rudolph's nose and spot on my reindeer's back. You could also add sequins, buttons, beads feather etc etc
This is a perfect activity to invite parents and carers into school to help out with. Key stage one children can design their picture on paper and then select the felt material. Young children should be able to tear off pieces of felt and lay then down to create their pictures. Parents can help with the binding and rolling part. A lovely activity for a fun Christmas craft afternoon.
Key stage 2 can think about what function the piece will have once it has been made. If it is going to be framed to create a wall hanging, sewn on a bag as a interest panel or even add a fabric stiffener and create a sculptural piece. Key Stage 2 children should be considering composition and use of colour throughout the making process.
Felt making workshops are available for schools clubs and organisations, if you are interested please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org