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How to Make Wet Felted Apples in a Tumble Dryer

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.

Wet Felted Apples

Wet Felted Apples
Wet Felted Apples | Source

Waste Not Want Not!

Every felt maker acquires some waste yarn along the way. Some like me purchase it especially for projects which we want to be cost effective. If they are anything like me, you abhor waste and are always looking for ways to use this waste wool.

Needle felting is a popular choice for many. Waste yarn can be used to make numerous items such as small animals and birds. It can also be used to add decoration to small or very large projects.

I enjoy tumble dryer felting. True, the results can sometimes be unpredictable but there is no doubt in my mind that this is a fun easy way to make multiple items all at once

If I were a teacher in a school, I would be looking for ways to teach children more about this art form. I would encourage the children to try this apple project which could be done over a few periods with no harm done by having a break between stages.

Multiple apples can be created by the children over a period and put into a tumble dryer all at once. The only difficulty might be the problem of discovering which item belongs to which child. I think I would encourage them to add a piece of ribbon or a name tag so that their project can be identified.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. I welcome any comments or feedback.

Come, Let Us Make Apples!

Waste wool roving in white, brown and russet
Waste wool roving in white, brown and russet | Source

Things You Will Need for This Project

Waste wool roving

Decorative merino wool roving or wool tops in a colour of your choice

Dish washing liquid

Hot water

Tumble dryer

Sushi Mat

Large eyed needle

Thin sock knitting needle

A few strands of 100% pure knitting wool for the stems


A Note on the Waste Yarn Which Was Used Here.

The waste yarn shown here is designed to be used for spinning rather than wet felting. but it made a good 'stuffing' or base for the apples. The superior shrinking ability of the decorative merino wool fibers placed on the surface of the apples held the softer fibers in tightly. Use whatever waste yarn you have handy but remember that pure merino yarn will felt quicker than the fibers shown here. Use white fibers if you have them, they will save you one additional step below.

Waste Spinning Wool

Waste wool, more suited to spinning than felting but makes a handy filler for the apples all the same.
Waste wool, more suited to spinning than felting but makes a handy filler for the apples all the same. | Source

Tie a Knot in the Waste Roving

Tie a knot in the waste roving
Tie a knot in the waste roving | Source

Wrap the Wool Tightly Around the Knot to Form a Ball

Wrap the wool around the knot to form a fist size ball.
Wrap the wool around the knot to form a fist size ball. | Source

The Tight Ball of Wool Roving

A fist full of wool roving tightly wound around the knot.
A fist full of wool roving tightly wound around the knot. | Source

Substitute White for Brown if You Have It.

If your waste yarn is made up of light or white yarn you will not need to do this step.

Cover the Brown Surface with White Roving

Cover the brown wool with white.  Waste wool was used here.
Cover the brown wool with white. Waste wool was used here. | Source

Dip the Ball into Very Hot Water

Place the ball in very hot water.
Place the ball in very hot water. | Source

The Woolen Ball Soaking up the Hot Soapy Water.

Steep the woolen ball in hot soapy water.
Steep the woolen ball in hot soapy water. | Source

Use a Wooden Spoon to Remove the Ball from the Hot Soapy Water

Remove the soaked ball from the hot water
Remove the soaked ball from the hot water | Source

Plunge the Hot Ball into Cold Water

Plunge into cold water
Plunge into cold water | Source

The Ball Removed from the Cold Water.

The woolen ball removed from the hot water.
The woolen ball removed from the hot water. | Source

Roll the Ball on a Towel

Rolling the ball on a towel
Rolling the ball on a towel | Source

Add White Roving to Conceal the Brown Ball for an Improved Look

Add white roving to conceal the brown wool below.
Add white roving to conceal the brown wool below. | Source

Plunge into Very Hot Soapy Water

Plunge into hot soapy water.
Plunge into hot soapy water. | Source

Plunge into Cold Water

Plunge into cold water.
Plunge into cold water. | Source

Roll on a Towel Just to Achieve a Nice Round Shape

Roll into a nice round ball
Roll into a nice round ball | Source

Getting the Stocking over the Ball

Put the stocking onto your hand and place the ball onto the stocking. Pull the stocking over your hand as shown and then give it one shake downwards to ensure that the ball falls nicely into the bottom of the stocking.

Put the Ball into a Piece of Cut off Tights

Putting the ball into a pair of cut off tights.
Putting the ball into a pair of cut off tights. | Source

Wool Ball Inside the Cut off Tights

White ball showing inside the cut off pair of tights.
White ball showing inside the cut off pair of tights. | Source

Knot the Cut off Tights so That It Can Easily Be Opened Later

Knot the tights
Knot the tights | Source

Multiple Balls Ready for the Tumble Dryer

Multiple balls ready for the tumble dryer
Multiple balls ready for the tumble dryer | Source

Put the Balls into the Tumble Dryer

Put all the balls into the tumble dryer and tumble for a few minutes. Check the balls every now and then to make sure that the wool has felted sufficiently to add the top layer of wool.

Now Add the Decorative Layer to the Felted Apple

Add a decorative layer to the surface of the apple
Add a decorative layer to the surface of the apple | Source

Covering the White Layer

You might want to dip the ball first into the warm water before you begin placing the fibers it. Roll the new fibers gently on the towel or spray and roll as you work. Once the ball has a good covering of wool over the white, roll gently until it looks like the image below.

Spray the Decorative Layer with Hot Soapy Water

Spray the wool roving with hot soapy water.
Spray the wool roving with hot soapy water. | Source

Roll on a Towel

Roll on a towel
Roll on a towel | Source

Put the Ball into the Cut off Tights.

Putting into a pair of cut off stockings
Putting into a pair of cut off stockings | Source

Shake the Ball into the Bottom of the Cut off Tights

Make sure the ball drops down into the bottom of the cut off tights
Make sure the ball drops down into the bottom of the cut off tights | Source

Knot the End of the Cut off Tights so That It Can Easily Be Removed Later

Knot the tights
Knot the tights | Source

Remove Tights After Wool Has Felted, Tug Gently if the Fibers Have Become Attached

Remove the tights once the wool has felted.
Remove the tights once the wool has felted. | Source

How to Make Stems for the Apples

Apple with a stem
Apple with a stem | Source

Requirements for Making the Stems

Sushi Mat

Strands of pure knitting wool

A few brown fibers

A large eyed needle

A thin sock knitting needle with point on both ends

Things You Will Need to Make the Stems

Brown wool roving, pure wool knitting yarn, sewing. sushi mat.
Brown wool roving, pure wool knitting yarn, sewing. sushi mat. | Source

Making the Stems

Pull off two strands, sufficient to make 2 apple stems at a time.

Place a piece of brown roving down on the sushi mat and then put down the knitting yarn on top of the first one.

Saturate with hot soapy water and roll gently with your fingers.

Place into the sushi mat and roll.

Please note that you can make several rows of these and put them into the sushi mat at once to save time

Making the Woolen Stems

Making the woolen stems
Making the woolen stems | Source

Cover Wool Yarn with Roving and Spray with Hot Water as Shown

Cover with wool roving and spray with hot soapy water.
Cover with wool roving and spray with hot soapy water. | Source

Roll with Fingers on Sushi Mat

Roll on a sushi mat
Roll on a sushi mat | Source

Put into Sushi Mat and Roll Until Felted

Put into a sushi mat until felted
Put into a sushi mat until felted | Source

Cut the Length into 2 Stems as Shown

Cut the length into 2 stems
Cut the length into 2 stems | Source

How to Insert the Stems into the Apples

How to insert the stems into the feted apples
How to insert the stems into the feted apples | Source

Visual of the Items Required to Compete the Process

Things required to complete the process.
Things required to complete the process. | Source

Using the Knitting Needle to Make the Hole

Push the knitting needle firmly but gently until it just comes through the other side. Try to keep the outer hole small as this will help keep in the stem. Pull the wool to one side and re-insert the needle to come out the side as shown. The hole can be massaged with hot soapy water to seal them completely.

Needle Threaded with the Uncovered Part of the Yarn

Needle threaded with the yarn on the side of the roving.
Needle threaded with the yarn on the side of the roving. | Source

Take the Yarn Through the Hole and Back in Again and Through the Side of the Apple

Take the needle right through the hole and then insert it back into the apple and cut the yarn.
Take the needle right through the hole and then insert it back into the apple and cut the yarn. | Source

Finally!

Pull the wool firmly and then cut the end off very close to the apple surface. Massage the holes with hot soapy water.

You may wish to make a green leaf for each apple. Make a flat piece of felt using a few colored green fibers in a sushi mat. Wet with hot soapy water and when felted cut the leaves out with a pair of pinking shears. Sew or needle felt them onto the stems.

The Wet Felted Apples

The ornamental wet felted apples
The ornamental wet felted apples | Source

Close up of the Apples.

The completed apples.
The completed apples. | Source

More Wet Felting Projects with Sallybea

Please share you felting preferences.

What type of felting is of the most interested to you?

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© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 18 months ago from Norfolk

      Stacy Birch

      You are very kind. Thank you.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 18 months ago

      You are so creative!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 21 months ago from Norfolk

      gerimcclym

      So glad you liked my little 'pumpkins'. This really is a fascinating craft, one which has very few rules and one which can be very addictive. I love it and I hope you learn to love it too. Thank you for taking the time to stop by to comment.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • gerimcclym profile image

      Geri McClymont 21 months ago

      These pumpkins are adorable and I would like to learn the skill of wet felting by following your directions and watching your tutorials. Several years ago, at an art festival, I came across cat crafts made with what I now realize was wet felting. At the time I had no idea how they had been made but was mesmerized by how adorable they were. Thanks for sharing this adorable craft.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      FlourishAnyway

      Yes they do look a little like pumpkins and that really is a very good idea of yours, to make them for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

      Choosing the right color makes the world of difference. I did have red merino roving, but I chose to use this one instead.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

      They look like little pumpkins and could be really cute with a fall decor -- Halloween or Thanksgiving.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      Genna East

      Thank you very much. I love recycling and repurposing so this one was right up my street. So glad you enjoyed it too.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 22 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What a wonderful idea; these decorative apples are adorable and beautiful. Waste not -- want not; what you have created with waste yarn is amazing.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      AliciaC

      It is my pleasure and I hope that this hub will encourage you and others to attempt this fascinating craft. This is a great project for adults and children alike. I appreciate the feedback and very kind comments, thank you

      Sally.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The apples look beautiful, Sally! This project is described so well that I think even I could make the apples, even though I don't have much experience with crafts. Thank you for sharing all the great photos and instructions.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      You are very kind MsDora, I rather suspect you should have been one too. Perhaps we both missed our vocation though I know I very much enjoy what I am doing at the moment. I appreciate your continued support. Thank you,

      Sally

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      Sally, you should be a teacher in school and you are a good teacher online. What lovely looking-apples! Unique too.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      Larry Rankin

      Your visit is valued and appreciated as is your very kind comment,

      Thank you so much

      Sally

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      Awesome project. Very detailed process analysis.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      Diana Lee

      You are very kind. Give it a go but be careful, once you start wet felting you won't want to stop. It is perhaps one of the least predictable but the most challenging art form that I have done. I love it. I appreciate your stopping by to comment. Thank you so much.

      Sally

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 22 months ago from Potter County, Pa.

      These are very well written and well illustrated instructions. I've never done this craft before, but maybe I will be giving it a try.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      Kristen Howe,

      Thank you very much, Kristen, glad you found this one cute. I appreciate your continued support.

      Best wishes,

      Sally.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Sally, what another clever crafty hub from you. Ingenious and cute! Looks like fun as well. Great hub!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      purl3agony

      Hi Donna, so glad you liked the decorative apples. I enjoyed creating them. I appreciate your stopping by to comment, thank you so much.

      Sally

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 22 months ago from USA

      These are so beautiful and creative, Sally! I love the different colors that you used to create the look and texture of an apple. What a fun tutorial. Thanks for posting and sharing!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      DDE

      Hi Devika

      Thank you for your support, it is appreciated as always.

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 22 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Beautiful and so creative. You think of such great ideas. I found this hub useful and in detail.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      aesta1

      I am so glad that you like them. This really is a simple project and the materials are very easy to find. Check out Amazon or e-bay for Merino wool roving which is suitable for felting. Buy white fibers and add a little color of your choice to the top of the balls to simplify things for your first project. Merino Wool will shrink well so make sure your balls are quite large to begin with. Expect shrinkage of at least 30%. The apples here are life-size, but they are the smallest variety of apples. The more tumble drying you do, the greater the shrinkage so be careful not to shrink them too much.

      I hope you enjoy making this project.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Sally

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      These are really beautiful. Your instructions are very clear. I might try it if I find the materials.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      billybuc

      Hi Billy,

      So little time and so much to do. Please continue to encourage me as you always do and I am sure I will happen. I just need to learn how to do it. Where is a good place to start? Maybe I should make that a question for your Monday column.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You do realize, of course, that your book is already written, right? An ebook waiting to happen, Sally. There is a market for your information and crafting talent.

      bill

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 22 months ago from Norfolk

      always exploring

      I am glad you enjoyed this article. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by to comment.

      Thank you,

      Sally

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is amazingly beautiful. I have an apple kitchen and I never get tired of them. Your article is well written in detail.