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How to Wet Felt Xmas Tree Decorations

Updated on September 21, 2016
sallybea profile image

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker. Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is, unique, experimental and always interesting

Ladybird Christmas Decorations

Little ladybirds on a Christmas tree
Little ladybirds on a Christmas tree | Source

About this Project

This Wet/Needle Felting Tutorial has been designed to help teach younger children how to make felt balls which can be used for a variety of projects.

A little help will be needed to ensure that the eyes and faces of these Ladybugs are added safely under the watchful eye of an Adult. Please take care with felting needles. These needles are barbed and very sharp. A firm piece of foam rubber should always be placed under the item to be needle felted to prevent injury when needle felting.

Clover Pen Style Needle Felting Tool

Things You Will Need:-

  • Merino Wool Roving in Red, Black and White
  • A piece of firm foam to be used when using Needle Felting Needles
  • A Felting Needle - usually purchased with a needle felting tool. Spare needles are easily obtained on the internet - e-Bay or Amazon are good sources for these items.
  • 1 Skein Red Embroidery Thread
  • Hot Soapy Water - Dish Washing liquid or Grated Olive Oil Soap dissolved in hot water.

Olive Oil Soap is much kinder to the hands. Dish Washing Liquid works well but can make wool perish if not rinsed properly.

Method

  1. Pull off a piece of wool roving of about an inch wide and about six inches in length
  2. Tie a Knot in the wool as shown in the images below
  3. Wet the knot and fold in the excess wool to form a rounded ball
  4. Wet the excess wool with hot soapy water and roll gently in your hands or on a piece of corrugated surface such as bubble wrap.
  5. Once you have a softly rounded ball - begin rubbing it on a piece of dry toweling until you have a softball.
  6. Wet a piece of black wool roving and roll it gently until it is slight rounded but straight.
  7. Wrap this piece firmly around the ball and tuck in the loose ends using a Felting Needle
  8. Roll the ball gently - just enough to allow the black stripe to attach itself to the round ball
  9. Now, needle felt two eyes, a mouth, and two spots onto the surface of the ball
  10. Wet the ball once more and then roll it carefully until the fibers attach themselves to one another. You will be able to rub harder as the ball becomes more felted.
  11. Rinse the balls in hot and then cold water - a few times.
  12. Cut off a piece of Embroidery Thread and thread a large-eyed needle.. Sew through the top of the Ladybug and knot both ends of the thread. This thread will form the tag for placing the bugs onto the Christmas Tree.
  13. Please see images below for decoration tips. Remember to have fun - experiment and have fun.
  14. These little balls can be used in a variety of different projects such as necklaces or even threaded worms and bangles.
  15. More creative ideas and Tutorials can be found on these pages, but several future projects are planned especially for young children. I look forward to seeing you back again soon.

Wool Roving and Hot Soapy Water

Wool roving and hot soapy water
Wool roving and hot soapy water | Source

Knot a Piece of Wool Roving

Knotting the wool roving
Knotting the wool roving | Source

The Knotted Wool Roving

The knotted wool roving
The knotted wool roving | Source

Wet the Knot with Hot Soapy Water

Wetting the knot with hot soapy water
Wetting the knot with hot soapy water | Source

Wrap the Excess Wool Roving over the Knot

Wrapping the excess wool roving over the knot
Wrapping the excess wool roving over the knot | Source

Wet the Wool Roving

Wet the excess wool around the knotted wool roving
Wet the excess wool around the knotted wool roving | Source

Roll Gently at First on an Bumpy Surface

A sushi mat or a piece of bubble wrap could be utilized here.
A sushi mat or a piece of bubble wrap could be utilized here. | Source

You Can Roll More Than One Ball at a Time!

Rolling more than one ball at a time
Rolling more than one ball at a time | Source

Adding Some Embelishments

Wet a a thin piece of wool roving as shown
Wet a a thin piece of wool roving as shown | Source

Wrap the Wet Black Roving Around the Felt Ball

Wrap the wool firmly around the ball and secure the end using a needle felting needle
Wrap the wool firmly around the ball and secure the end using a needle felting needle | Source

Secure the Black Wool Ends with a Felting Needle

Secure with a felting needle
Secure with a felting needle | Source

Wet the Ball with Hot Soapy Water

Wet with hot soapy water
Wet with hot soapy water | Source

Roll on a Piece of Dry Towelling

Rolling on a cloth appear to make it easier - felting happens more quickly when the project is not too wet
Rolling on a cloth appear to make it easier - felting happens more quickly when the project is not too wet | Source

Add the Eyes with a Felting Needle

Add white fibers to make a face, using a single felting needle
Add white fibers to make a face, using a single felting needle | Source

Needle Felt the White Wool

Roll until the white is felted
Roll until the white is felted | Source

Add Eyes to the Ladybug's Face Using a Felting Needle

Use fine slivers of wool roving to make eyes - use a single felting needle
Use fine slivers of wool roving to make eyes - use a single felting needle | Source

Or - Alternatively Leave out the Black Stripe Altogether - See Pictures!

You may wish to simplify things - especially if children are making these bugs.

Please ensure that the Needle Felting stage of this Tutorial should be done under the supervision of an Adult.

Needle Felting Needles are barbed needles. They are very sharp.

Needle Felting should be done, using a piece of foam laid underneath each ball to ensure that you don't stab your fingers or any part of the body.

Needle Felt a Red Mouth Using Red Wool Roving

Add a pink or red mouth to the ladybug's face
Add a pink or red mouth to the ladybug's face | Source

And a Couple of Spots

Face with two black spots
Face with two black spots | Source

Wet the Face

Wet the face and roll gently to felt the face
Wet the face and roll gently to felt the face | Source

Roll the Ladybug Until It Is Gently Felted

A completed ladybug with a selection of soon be baby ladybugs
A completed ladybug with a selection of soon be baby ladybugs | Source

Attach a Piece of Embroidery Silk (Sew with a Large Needle)

Embroidery silk
Embroidery silk | Source

A Group of Ladybugs

A group of ladyburgs
A group of ladyburgs | Source

Christmas Tree with a Group of Ladybugs

Ornamental ladybugs on a Christmas tree
Ornamental ladybugs on a Christmas tree | Source

Footnote

It would be possible to leave the decoration out until the balls are dry.

It is also possible to needle felt the balls without one having to wet or rub the eyes, mouth and spots when you do needle felting.

When the balls are decorated and then made wet and rubbed after they have been needle felted, the colors can sometimes bleed into one another.

Felting is not an exact science - everyone has their own method. By experimenting yourself, you will learn what works for you. Don't be afraid to experiment.

These balls are really very simple to make.

Knotting the wool in the early stages really is a key factor which makes them so successful. The knot gives them a basis on which to rub the top layers of wool and the result is a lovely solid and very evenly rounded ball.

I would love to hear how you get on.


Wet Felting Felt Beads The Easy Way

© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 11 months ago from Norfolk

      Diana Abrahamson

      Pleased to hear that you enjoyed the little ladybugs. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • Diana Abrahamson profile image

      Diana Abrahamson 11 months ago from t Francis Bay

      What lovely ideas and so cute..love the ladybug idea!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      SundayMacarons

      Thanks for the visit and the great comment. A Westie could easily made using Needle Felting Techniques, lots of examples on Pinterest. I hope you take time to explore your felting aspirations.

    • SundayMacarons profile image

      Kate Alexandre 2 years ago

      So CUTE! Great tutorial. I would love to make a while felt character like my little Westie. Really adorable.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      peachpurple

      Definitely no need to go and spend a lot of money on ornaments. I recall my favorite ornaments were matchboxes covered in Christmas wrapping paper and tied with ribbon or string. The little boxes were empty. I confess I used to put a sweet in mine when my children were smaller. I could not bear the thought that they might open an empty box.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

      Sally

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i like this idea. Cute and cheap, no need to spend money on ornaments

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Sunnyglitter - I have several tutorials which may appeal to them - hat on a ball and also my latest one - on how to make a necklace from felt balls. they are perfect projects for children.

      Sally

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 2 years ago from Cyberspace

      My kids would love this craft. Thanks for the idea!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Glimmer Twin Fan

      What is holding you back then:) I suggest you start with some felt beads or balls and go have yourself a ball! I am making some for necklaces and bracelets at the moment and can't wait to see the end result. Thank you so much for your support. It is so appreciated.

      Sally

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      I think this is great for anyone learning to felt. What a cute project Sally! Your photos are terrific. Every time I read one of your hubs I really want to go out and try felting.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      tillsontitan

      Definitely and once you have made a few of the felt balls using these directions they will never make them any other way again. All sorts of little creatures can be made using the felt balls - imagine little hedgehogs or chipmunks for instance. The felt beads can be made into necklaces threaded onto elastic or leather strips for parents, aunties or even for their young friends or just for their own pleasure. They take so little wool roving too.

      Thanks for the comment, vote up, useful, awesome and interesting - your visits are always appreciated and valued ++ Thank you

      Sally

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Reading the comments here just confirms my thoughts, this is an adorable project and I have a feeling little boys will love it almost as much as little boys! Imagine them hanging their own handmade ornament on the tree each year.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Crisantonio

      Be careful, felting can be addictive! I don't think you will stop felting if you try this method. There is so much scope for creativity. Thank you for your comment.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Jo Goldsmith11

      You are a winner too Joe and very much valued as a part of this HubPages community - thank you so very much - you really know how to make a lady feel special.

      Blessings & Happy holidays to your and yours.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      Just awesome Sally! I love my lady bugs! So I must give this a try sometime here soon. :-) We hear christmas songs already, why not have a little fun making decorations! Shared, up and you are on Face book!

      Also, cheers because you are one of the winners

      Nov's Gold for Holiday/Family category!

      Blessings & happy holidays!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Wednesday-Elf

      This tutorial uses is combination of wet felting and needle felting but one could just as easily make these little felt ball into bangles or necklaces - if you did not want to do the needle felting bit. Definitely achievable - using this method. Thanks for the comment - it is appreciated.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 2 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I've never tried needle-felting, but this tutorial 'for kids' looks simple enough even I could probably figure it out. :) Love lady bugs and these really turned out cute.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      teaches12345

      Some big kids like me also like ladybirds or ladybugs:) I can't wait to see the children's faces when they put these on their Christmas tree.

      Your comment is valued as always

      Sally

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I can't tell you how many little girls love ladybugs! This is sure to be a big hit as a craft idea this Christmas. THese are so adorable!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Nell Rose - Glad you enjoy seeing my little critters - thanks for the comment, vote and share - it is much appreciated.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Oh Wow! you are so clever! and you have the patience of a saint as my mum would say! LOL! I just couldn't even attempt to make these fun little ladybirds or bugs, very clever, and I love the photos too! wonderful! voted up and shared, nell

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      That is a very sweet thing to say but then I am not surprised at you either. If you lived close by, I would gladly have popped the hat into your post box.

      Thanks for the vote up

      Sally

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sally, you did it again, but I shouldn't be surprised. A beautiful project and very clear instructions. I think these ladybugs are my favorite of all your creations so far, or they may tie with the felt hat. Good job and Voted Up!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Iris Draak

      I promise you don't have to wait until you are a Grandma - the little felt balls make wonderful jewelry or ear rings - you could be wearing them right up until you are promoted to Grandma status.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment - it is much appreciated

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Sally, those are just about the cutest things I've ever seen. I'm starting to wish my children were little again (but only for this project). :) Someday if I become a grandmother this will be in my "let's do something fun" kit.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Alica

      Glad you like them. It is always nice to find you one one of my pages. You are much appreciated.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Faith Reaper

      I am sure the grandchildren will love them too. You could of course thread them on some shirring elastic or they could make plain balls into racelets or necklaces. What about a pair of ladybug or ladybird earrings for Grandma for Christmas.

      Thanks for the up+++tweet and pin.

      Blessings

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The ladybugs are so cute, Sally. (I call them ladybirds, too!) They are very attractive Christmas decorations.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, how cute! My grandchildren would love these, especially my Lily, as she loves ladybugs and we call her Lily bug ....

      You are so creative. Your instructions are always the best coupled with your photos.

      Up +++ tweeting and pinning

      Blessings

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      randomcreative - you are very welcome. Thank you for your comment.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 2 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Super cute! Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      DDE

      I value you and your support. Thanks for the vote up, useful and interesting. It is much appreciated.

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Incredible! Your ideas are always valuable and you make such effort in your hubs. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      DJ Anderson,

      I needed a project for some little ones so thought I would do something they could use on their Christmas Tree - this was my practice run - now I just have to make the bugs with the children.

      I appreciate your visit and of course your comment,

      Thank you

      Sally

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      I have been writing comments and forgetting to post them.

      I think you are very clever knowing all these crafting skills.

      You hubs are most informative, and yes, now would be the time

      to get them done.

      Great hub, Sally!

      DJ.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Ann1Az2

      Wet felting is definitely a great craft - who would think that a little wool roving and some hot soapy water would be the making of felt! This particular project is a great starting place, give it a try sometime, you will be glad you did.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Wet felting sounds like a great craft. I will have to try it. Somehow, though, I know that you make it look easier than it is!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      firstday - thank you very much, I appreciate the thumbs up.

      Sally

    • firstday profile image

      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great idea for kids…fun..a thumbs up from me!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Billy - well then, I am sure that you will know then that in some cultures - Ladybugs or Ladybirds as I know them here - are meant to be symbols of good luck - so here's wishing all those who encounter my ladybugs on this page- good luck to everyone.

      Ladybugs are one of my favorite things to photograph - so you are also in good company.

      I am so glad I brought a smile to your face this day.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This one just makes me smile, Sally. I love ladybugs. In fact, one plays prominently in my first novel believe it or not. Thank you for the smile...great craft of course....you are the goddess of wet felt. :)

      bill

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