Archives for posts with tag: needle felting

Recently, I was shopping at San Francisco’s General Bead store, where I picked up a ready-to-wear necklace cord made from a delicate woven nylon tube. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but for fifty cents, I decided it would be fun to experiment with it.

Back at home, I wondered if I could create a felted bead directly on the cord.  When making felted beads in the past, I have needle felted the fiber into a round ball, soaked it, and then rolled it between my palms to create a sphere. Would the cord prevent me from rolling the felt into a ball? Would the cord collapse if I needle felted the fiber directly into it? I wasn’t sure, but decided to give it a try.

Step 1: I assembled my materials:

Photo of my materials

Step 2: I pulled off about 6 inches of roving:

Photo of pulling off the roving

Step 3: I knotted the roving around the cord:

Photo of knotting the roving around the cord

Step 4: I needle felted the roving into a ball:

Photo of the needle felted ball

Step 5: To finish it, I soaked the ball in water, rubbed on some “Kiss my Face” olive oil soap, and rolled it in my hands. I then put it on a towel to dry. Here is the finished product:

Photo of the finished necklace

Although my teenagers think it looks a bit like a Rudolph nose, I’m happy with the overall result. The cord did not collapse during the felting process, and the bead is a nicely shaped sphere. What an easy, inexpensive project! I can imagine selling these at my holiday boutiques for less than $10, which would be a nice complement to the more expensive items I offer.

For those of you who are interested in making one, I have published the steps in a downloadable pattern.

This necklace, however, is almost too simple. Do you think it would be better with a few more felted beads or perhaps some purchased metallic charms? I look forward to hearing from you!

–Karen

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Necklace with Pink Felted BeadsMy friend Liz recently gave me a gorgeous necklace, handmade in Italy from felted wool balls and metallic beads and links. I was thrilled to have a new necklace, but I have to admit that I was equally thrilled to figure out how to make my own version of it!

After just a few minutes of searching on the web, I found two basic approaches to making felted beads. One way is “needle felting” where you take a sharp barb, or needle, and peck at your roving as you form a ball. The other is “wet felting” where you vigorously roll the roving into a ball under hot water. I decided to try a combination approach, where you needle felt it first and then finish it by wet felting. (Many thanks to Craftevolution for posting instructions for making needle felted beads on her blog.)

In total, I made five felted beads and attached them to some sculpted wire beads that I purchased at a craft store.

My felted beads

To attach the felted beads, I strung a short length of 26 gauge wire through the middle of each one and then used a crimping bead to close the ends into a loops. I then used a jump ring to connect the loop of one felted bead to the purchased wire bead.

Close up of a felted bead

While I will most likely give this necklace to someone special, I think it could be a fantastic silent auction item. Perhaps I will need to make another one!