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Making Felt Balls

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Has anyone tried making felt balls?

I bought some great wool for it, and the woman at the Waldorf school/store said it was really easy. She said to basically use hot water and dish soap, and "work" the wool into a ball. But when I tried, they came out really light and kind of falling apart.

Does anyone have any ideas/tips?
post #2 of 6
Felting is pretty easy once you get the feel for it. But it would probably have been easier if you tried for the first time with someone that knows what they're doing!

I've made lots of felt items, including lots of felt balls. I think the trick with the balls is to add only a small amount of felt on each layer. Start with a small handful, get it good and wet in soapy water as hot as you can stand it and really roll it hard until it is nice and firm. Then just keep rolling and adding thin layers. Keep the water hot and use lots of soap. It takes longer than you think. Some wool also felts more easily than other types. And I use laundry soap (not detergent). Some liquids might contain moisturizers or things that would interfere with the felting process. Sometimes you have to just press the wool on when you are adding layers, passing the ball back and forth from hand to hand, to prevent it from bunching up.

A great book to check out, actually two great books, are Felting by Hand, and The Art of Feltmaking, both by Anne Vickery (I think). Try to get them from the library.

Soon you'll be making felt slippers for your little one! It is a wonderful thing to work with wool. . . .

Good luck and let us know if you have more success!
post #3 of 6
It might be the type of wool. Some wools do not felt well and some take longer than others to felt.

I agree with heartlight to get some books at the library. There are some really good ones and they will take you step by step through the process. If you are doing the process correctly and they are still falling apart, it is probably the wool.

Good luck.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

Thanks so much for the replies and suggestions. I've had those books on my "wish list" for awhile, but it may be time to get them!

I think I just wasn't "working" the wool long enough...or making it tight enough. And the detergent might have been another factor. Great tips!

I've done quite a bit of fulling/felting with things I've knitted, but I've never used the raw wool to make anything before. It feels soo nice!

Thanks again!!!
post #5 of 6
MamaMae,

You are working with cleaned and carded wool, right? That's also important!

I love knitted/felted items, especially hats. Unfortunately, I have yet to learn how to knit! Someday I hope to.

Have a great time!
post #6 of 6
Mamamae,

The detergent/soap issues wouldn't be the reason for it to felt or not to felt, but it's more likely to effect how the wool feels after your done. I know someone who makes the most beautiful felted items that she sells at the weekend market here and she swears by detergent. I've used both and from what I've read the soap is better for the wool in terms of leaving it soft and not stripping it so much. Personally, I use soap.

I knit but have never made felted items from knitted items. That would be fun too. We just moved to New Zealand and I am loving having so much wool around. There are so many people who felt and do other things with wool. I'm going to a felting group for the first time next week and I'm so excited. Some of these woman have been felting for a long time and it will be great to get some ideas from them and to have a group to felt with.

Have fun! Alison

edited to add that another excellent book is How to Make Felt by Anne Belgrave. The ones that heartlight suggested are really good as well.
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