Try your hand at a new skill by following this step-by step picture tutorial and make this adorable felt heart keyring.
Batt: a length of pre-felt prepared commercially using a carding machine. See Roving.
Blending: mixing fibres of different colours or different types together.
Felt: a wool fabric in which fibres are matted together and entangled.
Felting needle: a long needle with barbs on the end. The barbs on the needle hook into the fibres and interlock them with each other.
Inlay: technique in felt design in which pre-felted pieces are placed on a background batt of wool fibres and the whole piece is then felted together.
Merino: a breed of sheep producing fine wool that is ideal for felting.
Resist: a plastic template used when making hollow seamless felted forms to prevent layers of fibres felting together, eg bowls, bags, slippers.
Roving: a long thin rope of wool fibre that can be used for spinning or to make felt.
Scales: the hooks that can be seen on the wool fibre under a microscope. The wool becomes felt when these hooks interlock and tighten into fabric.
Types of felting
Dry felting: wool fibres are matted together using a felting needle. The needle has a barb on the end to hook and disrupt the wool fibres, creating stiffness and form that can be manipulated into desired shapes.
Wet felting: wool is manipulated in hot soapy water. This is ideal when making simpler shapes such as felt balls or simply felting the fabric into a flat piece from which you can make a variety of items.
Machine felting: you can felt wool in your washing machine. You can create a piece of felted fabric by washing a 100% (or high) animal-fibre garment, such as a jersey that has shrunk or has holes in it. You have less control over the resulting shape though. Washing wool fibres on a high temperature will shrink and matt the fibres together. You can then cut the jersey into workable pieces to fashion a new item.
Felting needles have sharp, barbed blades that tangle fibres into felt with a repetitive stabbing motion.
L-shaped needles have an ‘L’-shaped end and come in different gauges and blade/ barb configurations.
Felting needs to be done on a foam pad to protect your work surface and your felting needles. Stiff foam or a small brush mat (ask your craft store or haberdasher) is ideal.
You will need
- merino or wool roving in colours of your choice
- felting needle
- needle holder or straw
- foam pad
- heart-shaped cookie cutter
- Position the cookie cutter on the foam pad.
2. Take a generous amount of roving and squash it into the mould
3. Position the straw near the edge of the heart. Make repeated stabbing motions throughout the shape and around the hole.
4. Turn it over and work the back of the shape too. Turn 4-5 times until your heart becomes stiff. Stab evenly in all the areas to achieve uniform stifness
5. Once your item holds its shape, remove the cutter and neaten the edges. Stab at any wispy pieces to work them into the fabric.
6. Attach your keyring and repeat with your favourite colours.