Last week I made my first needle felted bead for the Thing-A-Day project. I’ve since been asked how to do this, so here is a brief tutorial.
Needle felting, at least in my limited experience, is surprisingly easy. All you basically need is some carded wool fleece and a barbed felting needle that you use to repeatedly stab the wool into the desired shape. The wool fibers will stick to one another and felt. The longer you felt an object the harder, tighter the texture will become.
And this is how I made a bead:
For a 3/4 inch bead I used a 4 inch long and about 1 inch wide piece of wool. Add a bit of a secondary color to this if you want a marbled effect.
Take the wool and tie a knot in the middle.
Place the wool on top of a foam pad (I used Styrofoam because that is all I had in the house), begin to wrap the wool around the knot, and repeatedly poke it with the needle. Continue to work it into the shape and texture you wish to achieve. Watch out! The needle is sharp!
Once you are happy with the bead, you can wash it with hot water and soap to felt it further.
Use the beads to make jewelry, to embellish something like a barrette or a garment, They would probably make awesome cat toys as well.
I got my wool fleece at a craft store when I went to visit my parents. It turns out, however, that Etsy is a fantastic resource for wool and needles. Just search the supplies category for “needle felting.”
The Silver Penny. This online store has some excellent videos that explain the different fibers, tools, and techniques for felting, in addition to selling wool and felting tools.
Felting Forum: A discussion group about all things felt.