Supplies: Wool roving, soap, sink
Time: 5 minutes per bead, 1 day to dry
I’m lucky enough to have graduated from a school with a lot of great artistic majors. While I was a film major I was able to get exposure to everything from theatre, to dance, to fashion design. One of my favorite things of the year was the fashion department fashion show at the end of the year. If you have a negative view of fashion, take a look at the designers at Stephens College! It’s amazing! Anyway, while strolling through the fashion department one day I noticed a display full of felted accessories. Several of the things in the case incorporated felt beads. I had never heard of such a thing and it blew me away. I decided to learn how to make them and found that it’s actually really easy.
You start with some wool roving. Roving is just wool that’s been combed and cleaned and possibly dyed. You can buy it at pretty much any craft store and it’s usually used for needle felting, which I’ll be doing sometime in the future. Be excited. Pull your roving into little chunks like this:
If you shape your roving into a loose ball it should be slightly larger than you want your bead to be. Adjust the amount of wool you use based on the size you want the beads to be.
Now that I mention it, do shape your roving into a loose ball. That’s the next step anyway!
Turn your sink on and wait until the water is hot. Don’t burn yourself of course, but the water should be pretty hot. The hot water basically makes the wool shrink like a sweater accidentally put through the wash. When the water is hot get the wool nice and wet. Put a little soap in the palm of your hand and rub your palms together a bit. Then put the ball of wool between your palms and roll it like a clay ball. DO NOT SQUISH THE WOOL!!! Don’t do it! You’ll want to, but I promise the fibers will come together on their own. Roll the wool very loosely between your hands like this:
Once the wool feels like it’s become smaller and more compact you’re done. Here’s another time you might be tempted to squish the wool to dry it out a little. If you do that you’ll have an odd looking bead.
Since you can’t squeeze the excess water out of the bead it’ll take some time to dry. I usually leave them for at least a day, but it will depend on the bead and the climate and whatnot. I’m working on a collection of these to put in a decorative little bowl. I now have some blue:
and some yellow:
You can thread them onto a string to make necklace or glue them onto something or even make little blue ones into cute smiling blueberries (I think I’m going to do that). Have a great time and be amazed by your new ability! You’ll feel like you have some kind of insider secret.