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How to Wet Felt a Bird Pod

Updated on May 5, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker. Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is, unique, experimental and always interesting

A few images from the Tutorial below

Waiting for an occupant
Waiting for an occupant | Source
Things you will need
Things you will need | Source
Adding a little color
Adding a little color | Source
Balloon shown still inside the bird pod
Balloon shown still inside the bird pod | Source

Wet felting with a Tumble Dryer!

The techniques for wet felting or felt making which are used in this tutorial can be utilized to make a variety of things. This includes hats and felt vessels. This wet felting tutorial has been made to follow on from my previous step by step tutorial photo tutorial which can be found at:-

http://sallybea.hubpages.com/hub/Creative-but-fun-Christmas-Presents

Try experimenting with different balloon shapes for your Pod or Vessels. Felting with a tumble dryer takes away a lot of the hard work, since no rubbing is required, just a gentle smoothing out of the wool fibers as they are placed on the balloon.

The tumble dryer gives the felt a firmer texture and is best suited to this type of project. . If you prefer your felt to feel soft, try reducing the amount of time the wool spends in the dryer! This will mean checking the felting process in the tumble dryer more often, than the ten minutes I have suggested for this project.

It may also take a little longer to lay out the fibers when use this method. This time will be well spent, especially when one considers there will be no physical rubbing later on, as is usual when wet felting with traditional methods. The results obtained here are superb and speak for themselves.

Things you will need!

  • Merino Wool tops for felting
  • Hot water
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • A square of Curtain Netting
  • One strong Balloon
  • One small bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Pantyhose
  • Wooden Curtain Ring
  • Wool for sewing plait and entrance to the Pod

Method


  1. Place a towel down or use a waterproof table for the purposes of this project.


  1. Add a small amount of water to the balloon. This will add weight to the balloon and help to keep it firmly balanced in a small bowl.
  2. Blow some air into the balloon. This should be sufficient to allow for some shrinkage. It should be blown about a quarter more than the actual desired shape of the Pod.
  3. Knot the balloon and place it on the small bowl.
  4. Put some very hot water into the spray bottle and add sufficient dish washing liquid to the water to make it soapy but just enough to make it feel slippery on the hands!
  5. Spray the balloon with the hot soapy water and begin covering the surface with merino wool fibers.
  6. Begin at the knotted end of the balloon. Keep in mind that the knotted end will eventually become the entrance to the Pod, The fibers should be built up carefully in this area so as to ensure that it remains strong and stable when the pod is completed. Leaving any gaps in the wool will result in a weak spots in the finished Pod. Ensure you fill any thin spots!
  7. Cover about a quarter of the balloon with the merino wool fibers.
  8. Cover carefully with the curtain netting. Spray with hot soapy water and smooth the fibers out and down towards the surface of the table.
  9. Remove the netting and continue in the same manner until the ball is completely covered with wet fibers.
  10. Repeat the above step, using a different color for layer two. You will easily see any thin spots if you keep the colors of each layer different from the previous one.
  11. Repeat the previous layer using a different color for layer three. Complete one half of the balloon this time and decorate both halves with odd bits of colored fibers as desired.
  12. Insert the balloon into the pantyhose. I put mine over a chair and then slip the balloon into the pantyhose. The chair substitutes for a spare pair of hands!
  13. Knot the ends of the pantyhose and then place the Pod into the tumble drier for ten minutes
  14. Open the stocking to check to see if the fibers have felted together Don’t worry if the pantyhose has begun to attach itself to the fabric. it will peel back very easily from the fabric.
  15. Place the Pod back into the dryer for another ten minutes, without the pantyhose this time.
  16. Remove the pod from the tumble dryer and rinse in very hot water until the soap has washed away. Shock under cold water. Repeat the hot and then cold water shock treatment, The water should now run clear of soap!
  17. Untie the balloon and release the water from inside the balloon. Be careful not to let the neck of the balloon go. You will lose it inside the pod!
  18. Blow up the balloon again, smaller than the original size now, leaving some space between the felted pod and the rubber for shrinkage.
  19. Put back into the tumble dryer for another ten minutes to allow the balloon to shrink back further. The felt should shrink right up against the balloon, taking up all the space you left.
  20. Deflate the balloon once more, or until you have the size and shape you require for your finished pod!
  21. Put the Pod back into the tumble dryer and allow it to felt back to the size of the balloon inside. This should take approximately ten minutes.
  22. Untie the knot in the balloon and remove the air and discard.
  23. Using a wooden curtain ring, draw a ring shape around the existing hole in the pod and cut it carefully to size, with some sharp scissors
  24. When completely dry, sew on a wooden curtain ring with wool using blanket stitch,
  25. This will complete the entrance to your Pod.
  26. Now attach a plaited wool strand loop with which to attach the pod to a tree or wall fixture.
  27. You may prefer to use a chain or leather string or include a small piece of leather to the interior roof of your pod. This will ensure that the area where the wool is attached to the Pod is strengthened by the leather.

You have now made your first bird pod using merino wool fibers.

Congratulations!

I welcome your comments and suggestions for furtherTutorials.

Hat on a Ball or Bird Pod!

My favorite felting video of all time. Please watch this little girl demonstrate how to make a Hat on a Ball. The same method equally well be used to make a Bird Pod. There really are no hard and fast rules when it comes to felting. Experiment and have fun doing it.

Hat on a Ball - Oliart Episode 8

© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      drafonflydazd

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad you have enjoyed making your first bird pods. Please check out more of my tutorials for more wet felted items to make. It would have been lovely to see your bird pod.

      Sally

    • profile image

      dragonflydazd 3 years ago

      Thanks so much for the tutorial. I have just finished one and have another drying. How fun!!!! I will see if I can paste a photo.

      Apparently not but thanks so much...

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Thundermama, so glad you stopped by and so pleased to hear you will give it a go. Felting is totally addictive and I can't wait to hear how you get on. Delighted to have you follow my Hubs. I look forward to getting to know you.

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      This looks amazing! I can't wait to give this a try. I have never tried wet felting before, but your hub has convinced me to give it try. Fantastic hub, well written, great pictures, great video. Voted way up and sharing!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello summerberrie, glad you were able to stop by. Would love to hear how you get on with your felted bird pod. Thanks for stopping by.

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      summerberrie 4 years ago

      I'm going to give this a try. Just adorable!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      You are most welcome ktrapp, the little birds are beginning to show signs of choosing a mate, so here's hoping. Sally

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for the additional explanation. That makes a lot of sense. How wonderful it would be to have a pair move in during the spring; they'll certainly have the most luxurious home on the block!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello ktrapp, I did this for two reasons, one being that it is easier to lay down the fibers evenly, if you can see the layer below. The other is, that I wanted readers to be able to see the three layers easily. There would be no reason not to do the whole ball in one color and then decorate it, or not, as desired. One should always be careful not to get thin spots anywhere. This will result in the pod being weak in these areas. I have sometimes incorporated a piece of thin silk on the bottom layer to make the pod stronger. This worked surprisingly well.

      I recently saw one little Tit inspecting the pod recently. I have high opes that a pair will move in sometime in the Spring!

      We have our first day of sunshine today. The first for several months - here's hoping!!

      It was good to hear your comments. I very much appreciate your visit, thank you. Sally

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      Sally, This is so cool! I've never seen anything like this before. The birds must love this warm and cozy home. I am curious though, why do you layer it with different colors when all you see is the final layer?

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