A friend asked me to teach a Wet Felting Flower Class. Having never taught this particular felting project before, I thought I better figure out how. What I found is that it is simple, fun, and the flowers come out beautiful!
Here is what you need:
Boot Tray (provides a textured surface to aid in the felting process and contain the water) or Towel – to work on
Towel – to dry your hands (dry fiber is sure to stick to wet hands) and roll your flower in when finished
Roving – I use alpaca because that’s what I have, or sometimes an alpaca/wool blend
Other Fiber – small bits of other fibers, scraps from other projects, yarn scraps, thread
Bubble Wrap – two small pieces, about 12″ x 12″
Liquid Soap – I like Dawn but whatever you have will work (if you have skin sensitivities, stay away from anti-bacterial soap)
Sponge (optional) – nice for sopping up extra water on mat
Something to Wet Fiber With – empty spray bottle, turkey baster, soup ladle, ball brause sprinkler, or sponge
Lay a piece of bubble wrap, bubble side down, on the towel or boot mat. Draft (or pull apart) small pieces of your main color of roving. Do not cut the roving. Thin wispy fibers will felt much better than blunt, cut edges.
Lay the roving pieces in a round shape overlapping in the center.
Add other bits of color as desired. If using yarn, Suri Locks, or thick pieces of fiber, be sure to lay a very thin piece of roving on top to “scotch tape” these thicker fibers in place, or they will not felt.
Add a squirt or two of soap to the hot water. Now wet your fiber with the hot, soapy water. My absolute favorite felting tool for wetting the fiber is a ball brauser sprinkler, but a spray bottle, turkey baster, soup ladle, sponge, or cup will also work to get water to your fiber.
With a ball brause sprinkler, squeeze the bulb before putting it in the water, drop it into the soapy water, release the bulb, and it fills itself.
Thoroughly wet the fiber. Lay the second piece of bubble wrap on top of the fiber and press.
Gently push down on the fiber moving your hands all over pressing the water through the layers of fiber. You don’t want the fiber to be sopping wet but do make sure the water completely penetrates the fibers.
Carefully peel back the bubble wrap to check and see that the fiber is thoroughly wet. If not, add more soapy water. Put the bubble wrap back and rub with your hands for five minutes or so.
Peel back the bubble wrap again, your fiber should be starting to hold together.
Now, roll up the bubble wrap and fiber. Wrapping the bubble wrap and fiber around a pool noodle works well too.
Whether using a pool noodle or not, wrap the layers of bubble wrap and fiber snug, and tie in several places with yarn, string, or rubber bands to hold in place.
Sop up excess water with a sponge, or pour off into a bucket or sink.
Begin rolling the pool noodle back and forth about 50 times.
Unroll. Adjust fiber as needed. Wet any dry areas. Turn 90 degrees, roll layers, tie, roll 50 times. Do this a total of four times, turning your piece 90 degrees each time.
When your flower passes the “pinch test”, you are done. Pinch the fibers between two fingers, there should be no movement! If they still appear a loose, add a little more hot soapy water and continue rolling for a while longer. Repeat the “pinch test”. If more felting is needed, you can also rub the flower on the boot mat.
Unroll bubble wrap and fiber. Warm up your flower with some very hot water.
Wad up fiber and throw it against the boot mat, in a bucket, or in your kitchen sink about 25 times. Yes throw it! This causes the fibers to shrink and harden a bit.
Open up your flower, stretch the edges sideways. This will help ruffle your edges, (of the flower that is). Throw against your mat again about 25 times. Pull on the fiber to create petals, if desired, or cut petals. If cutting, rub on a textured surface just a little to soften the edges.
Rinse in a vinegar water solution, and then in plain water until the soap has been rinsed out. Roll in a towel to absorb excess moisture.
Grab the center of your flower from the back and scrunch it up towards the center. Use a twist tie or piece of yarn to tie the center. Shape your flower the way you would like it to look. Allow your flower to dry this way. I have read where people dry their flowers in egg cartons to help maintain the shape. I have also used the umbrella hole in my rod iron table. Your flower will dry quickly outside on a sunny day, or near a fan inside, or close to a heat vent in the winter.
When dry you could needle felt a center, sew on a button or beads, or leave as is. Leave the yarn you have tied the flower with in place to give dimension to your flower, or remove it, scrunch up your flower towards the middle again and needle felt around the base for the same effect.
Just like in nature, there are many kinds of flowers when it comes to felting, along with various techniques. Be creative, and have fun felting!
This is a kit available through our Online Store or in The Fiber Studio at Alpaca Meadows. Click on the link or the image above to see videos for wet felting some basic flowers. Click my board on Pinterest called Flowers, Flowers, Flowers to see some favorites from other fiber artists. You will find a few tutorials there too!
Live nearby? Get a group together and come take my Wet Felting Fancy Flower Class!
Be sure to check out Knitting and Crocheting Flowers for more flower fun!