Wet felting with children.
Over the last two years, I've attended felting workshops with a fantastic Steiner (Waldorf) educator. I've made a birthday crown, a placemat, seasonal mats and children's playthings. The crafting sessions have been for adults, but I keep on thinking about how much my children would love them too.
So I've started to do some felting at home with Otto. We began with wet felting as it's easier to do with young children (than needle felting), and children often enjoy playing with water and soap. Today we made some Halloween decorations, but we could make Christmas decorations or even little toys to play with. These would be lovely to make and give as small gifts to friends.
We use cookie cutters, wool roving, warm water mixed with kitchen detergent, a warm bowl of water for rinsing and a chopstick for poking. This can get a little wet so try to do this work in a tray and have a towel nearby.
The hardest thing to source is the wool. I recommend sourcing your wool locally on Etsy, but the big/crafting-type stores usually have it too. Today we are using the pastel wool from Jennifer (near Sydney), but these brighter colours are so beautiful. I've ordered before from Magic Starfish before, and this kit looks good for beginners (AU). I've also ordered previously from Indigo Inspirations, and how lovely is this hand-dyed rainbow fleece (AU)? If you are in Tassie, I recommend Lily Rose Art Fibres. I could look at the coloured wool all day. ❤️ Let's get started with the felting!
The child chooses the cookie cutter they want to work with. The child then chooses the coloured wool and puts small pieces of the wool into the cookie cutter. The child then squirts some warm water mixed with dishwashing detergent onto the wool.
Then the child starts poking. The warm water, detergent and the poking agitate the wool fibres. The child needs to do lots of pokes with the chopstick, simply up and down. We turn the cookie cutter over and poke the other side.
We rinse the wool in the warm water. If you have time, the warmer the water, the better. Hot water is good as it helps to shock the wool. We do a little more poking, flip and poke the other side until it looks like the wool has felted. I haven't timed us but around 8-10 minutes of poking is suggested.
All the poking is good for strengthening hand muscles. It also helps to develop concentration, as lots of poking is required to make the wool felt. If the child doesn't want to finish the work, that is ok, you can either rinse it out where they are at or give it a little poke yourself to just finish it off a little more for them.
Otto's bat needs more rinsing, but it's holding its shape and is looking felted.
We can also discuss the science behind the felting. How the poking, warm water and soap agitate the wool and make it stick together tightly, and it shrinks, just like if we put a wool jumper in the washer and dryer.
We also made a pumpkin, a star and a ghost.
Once we have finished felting, we can put our shapes out to dry. We can give them as gifts or hang them with thread to decorate.
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