I learned the art of felting a couple of years ago with a friend. We drove up to Sonora to visit a little Waldorf supply shop and could have easily spent hundreds of dollars on the amazing creations displayed there.
Felting is one of the oldest forms of fabric making. There are two ways to felt. One is needle felting and the other is wet felting. You can make felted beads using the needle felting method but for today we are going to avoid piercing our fingers with sharp needles and instead burn them in hot water.
Felted beads are really fun to make and create a wonderful learning experience in the use of natural products. Felted beads can be easily jazzed up with the addition of beads and ribbon. If you want to be a little more creative after the balls have dried you can use the needle method to add flowers or other designs. Little kids love to rub them, and bounce them and pretend they are treasures.
Some people like to roll tuffs of the undyed wool into a ball then add the color. I prefer to get it done with no fuss and just use the colored roving.
Merino Wool Roving
(wool that has been washed and combed but not yet spun into yarn. Can be found in a variety of colors on Etsy.com, some natural craft stores (such as a Waldorf supply store) or a sheep farm.)
Grab a tuff of wool.
I use a pot of hot water (as hot as I can stand). Place the wool roving in soapy water.
Gently pass the roving back and forth between the palms of your hands; wetting the ball frequently in the soapy water.
As the ball begins to form start to apply a little more pressure. Keep rolling, pressing and wetting until the ball is firm and hard.
Rinse under cold water.
Continuously rolling and pressing to get all the soap out.
For a simple tutorial watch the following video from Sara’s Textured Crafts. She really makes the process look easy.